Making of a Cookbook

Robyn and Scarlett are on a new adventure. They are making a cookbook full of the stories, the recipes and the insights of the Thoroughbroads in the late 80’s early 90’s for future publication. Stay tuned as we take you on our journey of celebrating women’s friendships, mentoring and just plain fun over the years that the gang enjoyed during their monthly get togethers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Martha Stewart Wannabes

It had been two years since Robyn and Scarlett had gotten together again. Robyn expressed an interest in coming back to the “Bourbon Capital of the World” – Bardstown, Kentucky over the Christmas holidays. Scarlett was all for it. They could collaborate some more on their book about the Thoroughbroads and she could have a holiday gathering in her honor after New Year’s when her friends in town wanted to enjoy some girl time after the holidays. It was set. Scarlett would invite 14 girls who did not know each other in the hopes that 8 would show up. Well, all 14 accepted! She was stunned and tried figuring out how she was going to fit 14 in her downsized house. Fortunately, 11 actually showed up which made for the perfect number she could seat in the living room.

Everyone was asked to bring an ugly holiday ornament, a pair of ugly socks or ugly holiday decor wrapped so they could play Dirty Santa after dinner. All obliged and Phyllis brought a special gift to help with the festivities…an ugly 4 foot tall pink flamingo standing on one leg wearing a Santa hat. We would have won America’s Funniest Videos $10,000 award if Scarlett had filmed 4 of the early guests trying to put this bird together using only a pair of scissors! After many cuss words, they completed the project and it stood as the holiday tree for the party. It will now become a tradition to use the flamingo for every Dirty Santa party in the future no matter who hosts.

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Dinner consisted of a sliced Smithfield ham that was glazed with pineapple juice and brown sugar, a sour cream hash brown casserole that M.Sue is known for and was always a hit, a wild greens, cranberry and sliced red grape salad with balsamic vinaigrette, Sister Shubert’s rolls for making a sandwich, if you so desired, with condiments like Duke’s mayo, dark brown mustard or Miracle Whip salad dressing along with a relish tray of pickled okra, pickled green cherry tomatoes, various cheeses with basil wheat thin crackers and a bacon-onion cream cheese ball that Charlie had made finalized the meal. It was accompanied by a Rose Moscato wine, lime and ginger ale punch or a sweet tea and Bourbon slushie.

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As the girls gathered in the living room to eat, Scarlett introduced each gal pal and asked them to tell a little about themselves so the fact that no one really knew each other would set a level of comfort. It was the ice breaker that the party would need and the adult beverages helped to encourage some to tell something funny about themselves as they went around the room. Dinner was through, so the wrapped gifts were placed on the coffee table and the sweets many had brought were put out to enjoy. Robyn had made a bunch of gold dusted chocolate truffles (of which one gal took 8 home with her when she left)…thank God they had not all been put out or there would not have been any leftover for the 4 day visit! Corn bread, cream cheese, white chocolate cookies that Charlie had made were a hit, the almond cookies Scarlett bought from David at the local institution – Olde Delaney’s Grocery were also popular and the eclairs from Hadorn’s Bakery along with the lemon mini cupcakes were gobbled up as the girls, one by one, picked a gift to open.

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The winner of the worst gift brought went to Gloriela, who had never played Dirty Santa before…it was unanimous the molting feather rooster ornament was number one. The middle finger ugly socks came in second and M. Sue declared the U of L Cardinal headband with the reindeer ears as third. Being a UK grad and dedicated member of the Big Blue Nation, she placed the headband on her head and proclaimed it was the ugliest thing she had ever seen. Smart phones started snapping her picture as we laughed at her prancing around like Rudolph. The punches had kicked in making the party a rousing success.

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Hugs at the door as the girls left assured all had made new friends and Robyn was encouraged to come back to B’town anytime. Scarlett went to the kitchen to clean up only to find that 3 of the girls had put everything up, cleaned the kitchen and filled the dishwasher…all she had to do was drop a soap pod in the dishwasher and turn it on. These girls would be invited back for sure and a follow-up thank you card would be in the mail the next day! Technology and friends have changed haven’t they? In the past it would have taken hours to clean up, most dishes would have had to be washed by hand since you would have used your best crystal, your best gold rimmed china and your covered bowls to store the leftovers. And, the hostess would have done this herself never letting a guest help her in anyway.

Robyn and Scarlett reminisced at how in the ’80’s in Louisville the Thoroughbroads had parties using Martha Stewart’s books on entertaining as their bibles. It was so much more formal back then. We were in our late 30’s and early 40’s and holding dinner parties for our husband’s corporate clients, we participated in gourmet dinner groups monthly, we tried out her recipes in our monthly luncheons and we dressed classic for the occasions. Here, we had a party where the gals came in long tunic tops with leggings, many slipped their shoes off and walked around barefoot after the hostess came to the door without her shoes on, we sat with plates in our laps and if you got up to go get something else to eat or drink you helped yourself. Boy, have times changed and we think for the better as we drank more slushies, laughed about the evening and talked until 3am.

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Rose Moscato Punch

2 bottle of Rose Moscato wine

1 can can of frozen lemonade

1 can ginger ale

1 fresh squeezed lime and use a potato peeler to make small slivers of the peel to use for color in the punch bowl in an ice ring.

 

Bourbon Slushie

4 cups of sweetened tea

12 ounce can frozen orange juice

24 ounce can frozen lemonade

3 cups quality Bourbon

In large bowl with lid combine all ingredients and place mixture in freezer at least 10 hours. Then scoop out mixture with ice cream scoop into wine glasses you can garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or thyme and ENJOY!

 

M. Sue’s Hashbrown Casserole

1 can cream of celery soup

1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers or plain corn flakes

1 (2lb) bag of frozen hash browns

1 tsp fresh ground pepper and 1 tsp salt

1/3 cup butter melted

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated

1 (16 ounce) cup of sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 and in large bowl combine all ingredients except cracker or corn flake topping. Place in 1×13 casserole dish and add the cracker or corn flakes crushed to the top and bake 40 minutes until bubbly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Y’all

The cool crisp blue skies of a Kentucky fall and the neon colored sunsets in the early evenings make you glad you migrated to the bluegrass state. Upon arrival in early February of 1986, I was greeted with dull grey windy days and nothing of any color was in the landscape. It was so depressing. Coming from the deep south we always had greenery of some type and the skies would be filled with soft clouds on a bright blue backdrop. However, when fall arrived in the Commonwealth I was in awe. I had never seen such color. I now live in Bardstown, KY (the Bourbon Capital of the World) and due to the number of distillery warehouses that emit what we call “The Angel’s Share”, a dark black type of residue from the fermentation of the Bourbon in the barrels, the tree trunks take on a dark black looking bark that next to the brightly colored leaves seems to set the land on fire with color. It is truly beautiful…now when winter arrives we go back to the dreary days I was introduced to, but thankfully that is only for a few months.

I just ran across one of the Thoroughbroad lunch menus where we enjoyed fall recipes.

I will share them with you here and you can imagine yourself in a dining room where you can hear the crackling of a first fall season fireplace, smell the warm apple cider while holding a Kentucky Stoneware mug in your hands and snacking on a warmed brie wheel covered in walnuts and an authentic maple syrup served with ginger snaps to spread the softened cheese. Lunch will be served soon enough. For now, enjoy the company of girlfriends catching up on the latest news each is sharing.

 

Apple Sausage Stuffing

1 lb sausage

1 cup diced bacon

1 large onion chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 lb sliced mushrooms

2 apples cored and diced skin on

1 cup chopped parsley

1Tbsp each of sage and thyme

1 loaf (1 lb) firm white bread cut into 1 inch cubes

2 cups chicken broth

salt & pepper to taste

In a large skillet fry sausage and bacon until crisp, remove both and cut into 1 inch size pieces. Replace in the skillet and add onion, celery, mushrooms, apples, parsley and herbs. Saute stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Stir in bread and add broth and season with salt & pepper. Pour mixture into a bowl and let cool. Spoon stuffing into a well greased 2 qt. casserole dish and cook in 350 oven for 1 hour.

 

Lou Gould’s Vegetables

6 cups of any 4 firm veggies cut into equal sized squares.

Salt to taste

2 cloves minced garlic

Fresh ground pepper to taste

3 Tbsp butter

1 can Cheddar Cheese soup

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Place veggies in a steamer cook until fork tender (about 15 minutes).

Drain then put back in steamer add salt, garlic, pepper and then add the butter. Now stir in soup and blend. Just before serving sprinkle with bread crumbs and grated cheese and put in oven in a casserole dish for 5 minutes.

 

Magic Cookie Bars

1 stick of butter melted

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 cup of any nut meat

1 cup of cream cheese (1 bar)

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut

1 15 oz can of condensed milk

1 cup chocolate chips

Into the bottom of a 9×13 inch pan pour melted butter then add the rest of the ingredients one by one on top of each other reserving the nuts and the cracker crumbs to sprinkle them on top then distribute the coconut and chocolate pieces on top of that and pour the condensed milk on top and spread. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes allow them to cool and then cut into squares.

 

Golden Milk

2 cups milk

1 cinnamon stick

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp ground tumeric

3 black peppercorns

2 Tbsp honey

In a small saucepan combine all except honey and heat until barely simmering. Remove cover and let stand 5 minutes. Strain, add the honey and whisk to combine and rewarm the milk if needed then pour into mugs. Makes 2 mugs worth.

 

 

 

A Thoroughbroad’s Road Trip

There is nothing like the tagline ” Bourbon Capital of the World” to bring a Thoroughbroad back to Kentucky and to Bardstown for a gal pal visit. Robyn’s 5oth high school reunion in West Virginia meant she could stop in Bardstown and visit Scarlett for a few days. It had been a couple of years since they had reconnected. This trip would be special, they had been bouncing around the idea of writing a book about the early days of the Thoroughbroads the last time they had seen each other…now they would get serious about the project.

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Over Boozy Bourbon Milkshakes, at the newly opened Bottle & Bonds restaurant within the Bardstown Bourbon Distillery Co., their idea would come to fruition. Robyn sipped on the Banana Bourbon shake full of bananas, marshmallow cream and toasted mini marshmallows on top…it was not only yummy but a vision of deliciousness. Scarlett chose the Caramel Apple Pie concoction with swirls of caramel drizzled around the glass interior and green apple slices adorning the top. Top notch Bourbon and quality vanilla ice cream made them both smile at each other like they were 10 years old again.   Nothing like a great adult milkshake to get the memories flowing. And, the location stirred their creativity with it’s attention to detail in architecture, interiors, tablescape and their menu items. It was decided that the charcuterie for two would be their lunch as they drank their dessert first!

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With a massive soaring glass entry, contemporary furnishings, elegant lighting, floor to ceiling open fireplace and living moss wall, the setting served as the perfect place to get their book details started. They exchanged coveted recipes from their gourmet gals events in the ’80’s. Robyn brought with her many that Scarlett did not have, for Robyn had remained in the group 3 years after Scarlett had gone back to work. Robyn had  moved to Flatwoods, West Virginia from Louisville but still attended the luncheons even though it was a 3 hour drive each month. She planned her hair color appointments with her Louisville stylist for the early mornings before the luncheons. Once you find the right hairstylist, you will follow them everywhere! And besides, that meant you looked great every time you enjoyed a Thoroughbroad get-together.

Within 3 evenings of staying up til 2 AM in Bardstown, blocks from My Old Kentucky Home, the girls had lost their voices, but the book plans were now in the works. Many other trips would be needed in order to compile the stories, share the fun, the dishes served, the recipes, artwork along with the photography they would need to complete it.  It would mean these two friends would see each other more often than they had since leaving Louisville.

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As they parted with their list of “things to do” they hugged, cried a little and told each other “I love You.” and meant it. Parting was bittersweet, but knowing they had made a commitment to each other and the project, they left comforted in the knowledge that neither one would ever let the other get away from them again…never!

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Scarlett  Scarlett

A Long Way

One of the Thoroughbroad road trips took us just around the block from Scarlett’s house. This beautiful fall morning we would visit the well known Kentucky Quilt Curator, Shelly Zegart at her home off River Road in Louisville. Her lovely contemporary home would “wow” us and showcased her quilt collection in perfect harmony with the modern flair of the house. Full of natural light coming through soaring sheets of glass, white walls and orderly exhibits of Kentucky Folk Art, the home was mesmerizing. A roof line shelf highlighting a row of handmade children’s chairs stood directly across from brilliantly painted primitive wooden animals that stood as sentinels offering protection of those in the house. Instead of paintings, large quilts were hung from floor to ceiling, each on its own wall for your appreciation. We were honored to be witness to her lovely collections of handmade art.

Upon arrival we were greeted with Good Morning Punch,  cheese straws, Benedictine crust-less tea sandwiches and fresh fruits. We nibbled while she spoke of the who, what, when and where of each quilt she had selected from her very large collection to show us. Each one represented a time in Kentucky history and the lives of the female crafters. Utilitarian in nature, quilts tell stories by the use of fabrics available at the time, the usage of embroidery, the type of stitches used and the patterns and colors they present.

Ms. Zegart’s knowledge and desire to share it with others had brought her to the forefront of the Kentucky Folk Art Movement. Former Miss America and First Lady of Kentucky, Phyllis George Brown, had been the catalyst of this movement by gaining the opportunity to bring the state’s back roads folk artists to Bloomingdales in New York for a special showing of their works. It became a big hit and so, their art was now valued by those outside of the state. Many items have been placed in multiple art museums and their works are still highly collectible. Quilts were just one of those artistic expression collectibles.

One of the quilts we saw that day was not only unique but quite beautiful. It was not made by women of Kentucky, but she wanted to share her recent find with us. The message it sent and the story connected to it was breath taking. Shelly had heard about it and took months tracking it down and then purchasing it. Squares each representing a hand embroidered message by a group of early feminists applied to a bright orange background with black highlighting. Susan Elizabeth Daggett, for whom the quilt was made to celebrate her 30th birthday, chose to remain single in the 1870’s, as did a large number of her friends. Their work in the Young Ladies Aid Society in Canandaigua, NY, and their long standing friendship through the years was a force for women’s activism and choices. The messages were unique as they reminded her to be her own person. The messages brought tears to our eyes, because of these women and others, we were the recipients of freedoms they had fought for. With gloved hands we touched the quilt honoring the makers of a gift that helped change our world. Funny how 30 plus years later we are still fighting for gender equality and respect. The quilt is currently at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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In the 80’s, as we looked at the quilt, we were hearing on television and radio ” You’ve come a long way baby.”, a tagline used to promote a slim line cigarette for ladies only in a pink and gold-toned box. We were being sold through commercials and magazine ads that women had made great advances. True, but it is only now that we see many women running for political office and winning regularly, that we have females on the Supreme Court, women astronauts who have gone into space, women CEOs of large companies, anchoring evening news casts, successfully landing commercial jets in emergencies, serving in high ranking military positions and all still fighting for gender equality.

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Yes, we have “come a long way baby”, but we are aware we have many more miles to go.

For additional information on Ms. Zegart’s collections and on this particular quilt, visit:http://www.shellyquilts.com      –  The “ Old Maid, New Woman” article showcases this lovely piece of history.

 

Recipes…

Cheese Straws

1 cup margarine softened

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese softened

½ tsp salt

1 tsp Tabasco sauce

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups crispy rice cereal

In large bowl blend margarine, cheese together until creamy add salt hot pepper sauce, flour and mix well. Then stir in cereal. Form 2 inch balls rolls and place on ungreased baking sheet then press them flat. Bake at 375 for 10-15 min. Makes 6 dozen. May be frozen for later use.

 

Good Morning Punch

Red Faces & Yellow Legs

A road trip was in store for the Thoroughbroads, so a short day outing to Harrodsburg, Kentucky was planned with a visit to historic Beaumont Inn for lunch. This destination was noted for Kentucky country fare. Yellow legged chicken and the famous Beaumont inn Prune Cake were just two of the reasons for going. (Yellow legged chicken is what we now call free-range chicken where the fowl have open spaces to roam and are corn or grain fed which turns their legs yellow.

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The many Kentucky born and served recipes are worth the trip alone, but their gift shop, a great antique mall and an abandoned church that was turned into a fabulous fabric store makes this a fun destination. Upon arrival at the Inn (originally a school for young ladies – Daughters College), we were greeted by a historian who told us about the place and welcomed us to the restaurant. Our group wanted to know who all had stayed at the Inn in the past. Our guide started giggling and stated, “Well, we have had a number of celebrities but last weekend we had a young couple with overnight reservations but showed up with no luggage only a bottle of wine in a paper bag.”  Everybody started laughing as he looked through our crowd and then suddenly said, ”There she is!” and pointed. All of the Thoroughbroads turned around to see he was pointing at Scarlett, trying her best to hide.

Turning beet red, Scarlett explained that she and her husband both thought the other had loaded the suitcase in the trunk, but left it in the garage instead. The valet had come to get it and Scarlett’s husband just handed him the paper bag with wine to take in. She was so embarrassed while the girls and the historian all laughed. After checking into the Inn and enjoying their dinner the two of them found a drug store and bought undies, T-shirts and some shorts, a toothbrush each and sundries. They came to the Inn because her favorite secret auction house was having a sale early the next day.

At the auction, they had great success, but the sizing in the clothes reacting with the heat of the tobacco barn made them itch throughout the day, so much so, that the auctioneers kept thinking they were bidding on items when they were just scratching their backs or necks. Now her secret antique auction was out…all of the gals wanted to know about it and what she had bought. There would never be any bargains there for Scarlett again.

We talked about the auction over our lunch and were able to get the famous Beaumont Inn Prune Cake recipe out of our server. Many of us decided to substitute raisins for the prunes, so as not to create discomfort if given as a hostess or holiday gift. This dried fruit was gaining popularity in the 80’s due to a big ad campaign for California Raisins. The claymation commercial spilled over to an Emmy award winning Christmas special, a toy line of collectibles which have now found their way into a permanent collection in the Smithsonian. The ’80s were crazy years full of creativity and Rock n’ Roll singing raisins were popular with all generations.

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Having stood the test of time, in 2015 Beaumont Inn received the  American Classic Award from the James Beard Foundation (the Oscars of the food industry). Be sure to visit when you travel to Kentucky…it is a must and you will step back in time to a country Kentucky dinner table.

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Robyn’s Reward

I was browsing the newspaper ( yes, we actually got info this way in the 80’s ) looking at things going on around town. Newcomer’s  Club had a monthly coffee to welcome new residents. I thought a few minutes and decided that I was going to do this for myself.

On the appointed day, I found the address and parked by the curb. Holy cow! The house was huge! I don’t care how confident you are, walking into a room full of strangers and conversing is not easy. So, I steeled myself and made it to the front door. I was greeted with a smile. I found myself in a room full of welcoming women who were all in the same boat as me, new to Louisville. I met Scarlett that very day and the other Thoroughbroads soon after. A few months later, Pat who became our partner in crime, showed up at a coffee. The decision to attend that coffee ended with friends for life.

The refreshments at the coffee were typical. Cookies, breads, pastries, fruit, coffee, tea, juice. Until, a member showed up with this crustless quiche. It was an instant hit. It is so versatile. Serve as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Serve at room temperature or hot. It freezes and travels well. I cut it into individual pieces, wrap & freeze. Slide it into a ziplock bag and it becomes breakfast at the beach condo. Enjoy!

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Mexican Quiche Appetizer

1/2 cup butter

10 eggs

½ cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash of salt

8-12 ounces canned, chopped, mild green chiles

2 cups cottage cheese ( 16 ounces )

4 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese ( 1 pound )

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs till well blended, add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Add the melted butter, leaving the dish buttered. Add chiles and cheese. Mix together and pour into the baking dish. Bake uncovered for 45 to 55 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a knife blade in the center. Quiche should be set and knife blade should come out clean. Cut into bite size squares while hot, but allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.

Note: This May be baked and frozen; reheat covered with foil. Individual portions reheat well in the microwave.