Derby Divas

 

Before all of the great additions and renovations to Churchill Downs, back in the late 80’s early 90’s, groups could book a “Day at the Downs” the week before Derby in Millionaires Row. Tickets to the actual Derby were usually all sold out to corporate event planners, sponsors and those who had them left to them in a will,  or you paid a scalper a fortune for them. The Thoroughbroads were members of the Louisville Welcome Wagon chapter, so they attended that annual ” Day at the Downs” event. Millionaires Row was where the stars, celebrities, politicos, horse owners and trainers enjoyed the race day during the Oaks and Derby, so this was always a real treat. Attendance was huge and all were dressed in their finery.

The men wore spring suits, some even seersucker ones. They accessorized with bow ties, braces (suspenders), pastel shirts and straw hats. The women were in silk floral dresses or monochromatic fitted suits. Classic jewelry, tasteful shoes that you could stand in all day and of course a hat added to the attire. The hats were the show stopper though, few came without one and some felt go big or go home was the rule of the day.

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Most of the Thoroughbroads had corporate guests to entertain, but Robyn and Scarlett shared a table every year with another couple from Texas. The tickets included a mint julep in a collector Derby glass, a race magazine full of well designed ads that showcased the best Louisville and Kentucky had to offer along with stories on many of the thoroughbred farms and their winning horses and winning prospects for sale. A delicious lunch buffet of traditional Kentucky favorites and access to betting windows in the room with you along with other conveniences made the day effortless.

The horses were beautiful along with those betting on them. Many times, Robyn , Scarlett, their husbands and the Texas couple, Pat & Tony, would pool their bets on a long-shot. Sometimes they would even bet on the first horse coming back over the finish line after the race. They would scream and holler out on the balcony and confuse everyone watching since the race had already been won. It was amazing how many of those on confused lookers would join in randomly picking a horse’s number out of the straw hat and putting in their two dollar bet to join in on the creative fun. Those pots usually paid better and you didn’t have to know anything about the horses. With enough mint juleps you will bet on anything.

This day however, Tony from Texas and Scarlett decided to pool their money on a grey long-shot to Win Place Or Show by paying $2 on each spot across the board, which would mean $6 per bettor. It is supposed to always be good luck to bet on a grey and this one was wearing pink silks along with the jockey, so Scarlett was convinced this one was a winner. Sure enough, as the gates opened that horse took off…and off and off…not a great sign, for he would lose his stamina if he gave it all he had that early in the race. Well, he kept going and the lead kept growing and as he rounded the last turn, Tony from Texas kept saying” Scarlett, Scarlett, Scarlett!” but Scarlett could hear nothing over her loud screeching and jumping up and down in those tasteful high heels. They had already figured out that if their horse won they would win $1500.00 each. Not bad for a $6.00 bet. As this lovely grey animal, all dressed in pink, got closer and closer to the finish pole Scarlett screamed louder and Tony from Texas kept saying ‘Scarlett!” but alas, tragedy would strike. The horse just fell over on the track, the jockey was not hurt but the horse did not get up, in fact it didn’t even move. All were confused as other horses passed by and another won that race. Track personnel, trainer and owner along with an ambulance came to the scene and a big white cloth barrier was put up around the horse and people…it was grim. All fell silent in the stands and on the balconies. The jockey could be seen pacing back and forth with crop in hand and very distraught. The ambulance drove off, the barrier was removed and the people walked away head bent.

One minute things can be going your way and another not so much. It was not the loss of the race, it was the loss of the animal, which was a loss of a dream. Scarlett and Tony from Texas turned and hugged each other tightly and for a longer than usual length of time that day. As life would have it, over the years long hugs would be doled out among these 6 friends. They would be given for the loss of a job, the loss of one’s health, loss of a parent, a couple moving to another state and the loss of a husband. Long hugs from good friends get you through difficult times. Strong friendships are something to be cherished.

Only 3 of the “broads” still live in Kentucky, but I bet all of us on Derby day sip on a mint julep or two and remember our “Days at the Downs”…memories that will last our lifetimes.

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Derby Week Fare Recipes You Can Enjoy Serving Guests

Benedictine Dip or Spread

Remove seeds from 1 cucumber, grate and drain well by pressing all of the liquid from the cucumber. Add the liquid only to an 8 oz. pkg. of softened cream cheese. Stir in 1 tsp. of lemon juice and a small finely grated onion to taste. Add just enough quality Mayonnaise (we like Duke’s) to help it spread easily. Then color with one drop of green food coloring and chill before using. This is a Kentucky favorite!

Crab Muffins

1 6 oz. can of quality crab meat

1 jar of Kraft Old English Cheese

2 sticks of softened butter

A dash of garlic salt & a dash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tbsp. of Vermouth or Sherry

1 can of chopped water chestnuts

1 pkg. of Thomas English Muffins

Mix all ingredients together and spread on opened English Muffins and place them on a cookie sheet interior side up. Bake 20 minutes at 350 until muffins are crisp. Pull them out and cut them into eights and serve. DO NOT MICROWAVE! They do freeze well for later use too.

 

Seafood Salad

 

 

Commiserating “Te-kill-ya” Punch

The “Thoroughbroads” experienced major life changing events over the years they met for monthly luncheons in Louisville. Divorces, illnesses, career changes, family crises  were shared with each other over a delightful meal, tasty libation and camaraderie. You see… women usually want someone to listen to them…not just hear them. We need to share our story. It helps us to sort things out, make personal decisions and to heal or learn from the experience when it is shared. We are not always looking for someone to solve the situation, We want compassion, which will shore us up to meet the issue head on and find our own solutions.

For the “Broads”, the meals we eat, the adult beverages we enjoy and the setting for the get-togethers are just part of the big picture. The comfort of exposing your inner issues, thoughts, needs or successes to true friends is sometimes comfort enough. Of course, if the issue is large enough, TRUE comrades will stand with you or fight along with you if you ask.

Now don’t for a minute think the gals in this group were perfect listeners. Some of us would share an opinion about your dilemma and not all of us would agree. And some of us would just listen and then call that “special Broad in the group” and maybe say something like, “ WHAAT THE??” But that is just normal when you gather gal pals. We tend to ganer all of the details and into a large opening of a funnel and then drill it down smaller and smaller until we find an answer we can live with and sometimes that drilling down requires a gal to call a bestie and feel free to express a little shock to get it out of your system.

I am happy to report that in this group of Broads; it always came down to supporting one another. Whether we were on board with the person’s final decision or not, we were her shoulders…and that proved to be enough. Of course, an adult beverage always helps when you are divulging a confidence.

Here is a recipe we always found helpful.

Commiserating “Te-kill-ya” Punch Recipe

Based on one of Martha Stewart’s Tequila punches. Watch yourself it can be truth serum!

Ingredients:

16 ounces of Jose Cuervo Gold

 ¼ cup Cassis

 ¼ cup fresh lime juice

24 ounces of a ginger beer

12 ounces of Club Soda

Thinly sliced lime slices to use in an ice ring to keep the punch cold

*Margarita salt for rimming the glasses

*Lime peel curl for garnish

Stir all ingredients together in a 4 quart punch bowl then add the ice ring and garnish.

**IMPORTANT TIP – Be sure to temper the punch bowl first with cold water…if you pour super cool or a hot liquid into glass it can crack! Saw this happen at an event with a borrowed antique Waterford glass punch bowl …not good!

…That should explain the picture of the Waterford Punch Bowl above.

 

 

The Cookie Exchange

One of our alternate “Thoroughbroads” started a tradition during the holiday season we all looked forward to each year…a cookie exchange. Yes, you have heard of them, but Diane’s were exceptional every year. Each guest baked 13 dozen cookies, 12 to share with others invited to the exchange and one dozen to munch on at the party and take home if not eaten. We all went home with a covered laundry basket full of freshly baked cookies to enjoy over the holidays or share with friends, so none of us missed coming!

We arrived at Diane’s home in either an ugly sweater or a casual outfit adorned with that holiday jewelry or accessory you can only wear a week or so in December. A few wore handmade items their kids had made in school, others wore stylish necklaces (remember this was the late 80’s, so big and boldly bedazzled was in), and some showed off their holiday socks given to them the year before by some older relative. Each of us was greeted by our hostess with a champagne flute full of an Asti cranberry punch and to make sure we had a lively time that punch bowl was kept full. Nothing better to put you in a festive mood, we all agreed.

Diane’s dining table was set with foods of all kinds. Our hostess, being from the South, made sure you were not going to leave hungry and we were encouraged to eat more than one plate. A beautifully baked spiral cut ham was the centerpiece every year and served with homemade biscuits and Durkee’s dressing. A hashbrown casserole or cheese grits were a staple along with corn pudding and the infamous green bean casserole. Traditional comfort foods seem to always be wanted at that time of year, so now was the time to splurge. You behave yourself all year until Thanksgiving and Christmas come, then those of us from the southern states expect the old traditional favorites. The cookies we all made were served as our dessert, but our favorite goodie was our gift of Diane’s famous chocolate covered cherries…two huge ones to a red box tied up with a beautiful white ribbon. They were divine and she would not share the recipe. She had learned how to make them one year and sold them to her husband’s company for their client gifts one Christmas. She told me privately that she had made enough money to buy her own brand new Volvo that year! She knew she had a hit on her hands and I don’t blame her in the least for not sharing the recipe with us…after all, a gal has got to do what a gal has got to  do in order to drive a brand new Volvo, right?

Years have passed since those fun times and many of us have moved away from each other, but some of us have stayed in touch. And every Christmas I still get a red box tied with white ribbon and two chocolate huge covered cherries from my gal pal of over 28 years. I smile as a slowly savor each bite and value our friendship.

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I plan on making these tea cookies I saw for next Christmas…but for this year I will share my mother’s Frieda’s Dish Pan Cookie Recipe she acquired from her elderly neighbor, Madge, in the North Carolina mountains in the late 80’s…you will need a dish pan to make this much cookie dough, but it makes DOZENS to give and they are delicious and easy!

Preheat oven to 325

4 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 cups cooking oil

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

Mix all of this together now add and mix well 1 1/2 cups quick oats and

2 cups of corn flakes

Drop only 1 tsp of dough on a cookie sheet until you have filled it up with dollops about 1 1/2 inches apart..they spread while baking. Bake at 325 for only 8-10 minutes until lightly brown, then remove with metal spatula and let cool on a piece of wax paper. Continue until you have used all of the dough…you will be surprised how many it makes, and how quickly they get eaten.

 

 

Rainy Fall Doldrums

Days of rain and drizzle in the early Kentucky fall can give a girl the blues. What better way to work your way into a brighter season than to party the last one out with a bang! So, Scarlett invited the “Thoroughbroads” and their significant others to an indoor beach party to put summer behind. It was required to dress the part…in summer garb, and to bring a summer dish you could eat at the beach.

When we arrived, all of the furniture had been removed in the great room (what we called an open plan living space back in the 90’s). The hardwood floor was covered in beach towels and open beach umbrellas were placed in big buckets of sand all around the space. It looked like fun as beach music welcomed us when we entered for our last stab at summer. People arriving in flippers and snorkels made out of aluminum covered paper towel tubes and with masks made out of cottage cheese containers were hilarious. Others in “old lady” bathing suits and some in tie-dyed T-shirts, baggy shorts and inner tubes made the beach theme come to life.

Beer, wine spritzers and adult lemonades were iced down in multiple Igloos around the room. The food was so much fun and the creativity was amazing. You were to bring something you eat at home but would never serve to guests. One couple brought rolls of chocolate chip cookie dough to be eaten raw by pulling off chunks with your fingers. Another couple brought various cheese dips and fruit dips with salty or banana chips and they were gobbled up. ‘Lil Smokies” cooked in BBQ sauce and grape jelly were a hit and peanut butter, jelly on brioche with a variety of berries filled our tummies and sopped up the adult beverages we consumed.

Game time consisted of a type of Russian Roulette. Scarlett’s mother thought of herself as a wine maker and made bottles after bottles of crabapple wine. In truth, about 1 in 5 bottles was actually a nice sweet drinkable bottle. All of her kids could expect a case of what she considered her cherished wine every year for Christmas. Scarlett had saved many cases in her basement in case her visiting mother asked where they were.  Some you could drink, some were able to be used for cooking wine and others…well, they would not even make a good vinegar for salad dressings. As Forest Gump said “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna’ get.” The hostess figured this would be a good way to dwindle down the stash of this “cherished” wine thru Roulette.

Mom's wine

The fun began along the lines of Spin the Bottle only these bottles were pulled out of one of the cases of wine then placed in the center of the circle of friends and spun. If the bottle stopped and was aimed at you, you had to open the bottle and take a big swig of the libation. If it was a good bottle you could take the bottle home and enjoy, if it was a bad bottle then you got a chance to spit it out and were given a store bought bottle to take home. As you would guess, most tasted awful and the spun bottle would land on the same people quite frequently. Money started coming out of pockets to pay someone else to taste the un-opened bottles…it was a fun event and one I have heard has been repeated by others with cheap drug store wine.

We sent the summer season out in the middle of fall, but with the food, the wine, the fun and the great group of friends, we were at the beach once again if only for a while.pic185937

Upon leaving, we put our sweaters and fall coats on and prayed for a short winter.

 

‘Lil Smokies

To cook in a slow cooker, combine little smokies, a small jar of barbecue sauce and a small jar of grape jelly in a crock pot. Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 to 2 hours, until sausages are hot. Serve with toothpicks.

Peanut Butter & Jelly on Brioche with Berries

Use creamy peanut butter, a newly baked brioche bread warmed (so peanut butter will melt in) then spread a QUALITY fruit spread of jelly,  a preserve or a favorite jam on top then layer with raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries sliced thin. Cut into bite size portions and enjoy. You can add a chocolate drizzle on top of the cut up pieces if you indulge yourself!

As for cookie dough raw…we recommend Pillsbury Chocolate Chip in the large size.

 

 

 

Beaches, Breezes & Booze

Robyn was our world traveler. Not only had she lived in a multitude of towns in the mid west, but she and her husband planned vacations that we all envied. Many of us plan these trips in our head, but not all of us actually travel out of the country often. His work had made it necessary for them to not live long in one place, so I guess it was second nature for her to be an adventurer.

They loved all inclusive island resorts with beautiful beaches, great foreign foods, unique people and an opportunity to relax in the sun, read a book or explore nature. We loved her stories over a great lunch at her home. Many of the lunches she hosted reflected the foods she had enjoyed on one of her island trips. This day would be no exception.

Having come back with a smile and a tan, she met us at the door with The Pusser’s Painkiller. A delicious concoction we enjoyed way too many of. It tasted so yummy you just kept pouring another glass, (the recipe follows).

Well, over a number of grown up cocktails, it becomes truth serum and our wild escapades we did share. She started by telling us about a toga party at the pool, then we all got into the first boyfriends, first kisses and best kisser, first honeymoons or in some cases – second or third, most memorable sexual encounter… you get the picture.

I remember very little, except what I shared due to the alcohol. But, I do remember us laughing ourselves silly and being full of embarrassing questions directed at the storyteller of the moment. Tears of laughter make you remember those special moments spent with your gal pals, no matter what your age, you revert right back to a young girl in high school at a spend the night party and just beginning to become a free spirit.

Free spirits we would all remain, for we were girls of the late 60’s who would become the “Thoroughbroads.”

 

A special note added from Robyn…As I said before, I moved about 3 hours from Louisville outside of Ashland. I was in Flatwoods. Home to none other than Billy Ray Cyrus. After I was settled in my new home, I suggested the ladies take a road trip and visit me. I invited them to come in April because I knew the hills would be covered with dogwoods in bloom making for a beautiful drive.

Steve and I were just back from Mosquito Island in the British Virgin Islands. I decided on a Caribbean theme for lunch. When the ladies arrived, we started with Pusser’s Painkillers. A little background on this. Pusser’s is the brand of rum used in this drink. Pusser is a corruption of the word purser. In the British Royal Navy, it is the purser who is responsible for handing out the daily ration of rum. This became mine and Steve’s official beginning of Summer drink. We always fixed it on Memorial Day weekend.

After lunch, I took the ladies across the river to West Virginia ( where I grew up ) for a little shopping. We went to Pilgrim Glass. They got to see glass being hand blown and purchase some lovely pieces. I hope they know how much more valuable those pieces are because sadly Pilgrim is no longer in business. They closed because no young people wanted to learn this skill. As we were leaving, I pointed to the mountain top above us. I told them that’s where the airport is located. Since there is not enough flat land, they chop off the top of the mountains to make flat spaces for airports. No kidding

I was only with this wonderful group of ladies one more time. It was a bridal shower for Scarlett. She had found a great guy and was getting married again. As I sat and listened to various conversations, I felt like a visitor. I was no longer a part of this group.  Time to let go and move on. It was a great run while it lasted.

“The Pusser’s Painkiller”        Without ice, blend shake or stir:

1 oz. cream of coconut              1 oz orange juice

4 oz pineapple juice                   2 oz Pusser’s Rum

Pour into a BIG glass filled with crushed ice and grate fresh nutmeg on top.

AND MAKE PLENTY!

 

Recipes:

Caribbean Chicken & Veggie Kabobs

(serve with your favorite corn bread)

8 large garlic cloves minced

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp dried mustard

2 tsp ground cloves

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp aniseed

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch pieces

1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces

4 red onion cut into 1 inch pieces

6 yellow squash cut into ½ thick slices

4 zucchini squash cut into ½ inch slices

1 ½ cups olive oil

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

12 bamboo skewers soaked in water 30 minutes

Combine all dry ingredients in small bowl. Place chicken parts in a glass baking dish along with veggies and sprinkle with half of the spice mixture. Add half of the olive oil and half of the fresh lime juice and marinate covered in refrigerator 6-8 hours.

Alternate on skewers the chicken and the veggies.

Prepare the grill for medium heat and season the kebobs with salt and pepper and grill until cooked through to the bone turning them a few times for a lovely char on both sides. Transfer to a platter. Serves 12.

 

Black Bean & Rice Salad

2 14 ½ oz cans of chicken broth

½ cup water

1 lb package of long grain rice

2 bay leaves

2 15 oz cans black beans drained and rinsed

2 red bell peppers diced

1 green pepper diced

1 medium red onion diced

1 medium bunch of cilantro chopped

½ cup olive oil

3 Tbsp orange juice

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

Lettuce leaves to hold salad

Bring chicken broth and water and add rice and bay leaves to a boil. Reduce heat and cover to cook until liquid is absorbed (20 min)

Transfer rice to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Mix in black beans, bell and red peppers, red onion, chopped cilantro, oil, orange juice, vinegar, cumin and chili powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (can be made ahead and refrigerated covered) Mound salad on individual lettuce leaves and garnish with some fresh cilantro. Serves 12

 

This meal can be served with Fried Plantains. We enjoyed the recipe in this added picture…Truffled Banana Fritters

 

 

 

Peaceful Protestors…

It was spring and the “Thoroughbroads” were ready for lunch at Kristin’s. Her meals and tablescapes always reminded us that we were in the home of quite an artist. The front door always held a wreath that was decorated to reflect a holiday or a season. When you walked in the house you were greeted with a scent from the season and a drink that reflected the same. We would sit in the gathering room and catch up until we all arrived. We then moved to the dining room to enjoy a great meal that showcased our hostess’ artistic and cooking talents.  Her house was full of color, but a soft palette. It was the first place I saw someone set a table with mismatched colorful china plates, napkins and glasses that represented the colors of the flowers in the centerpiece. I loved it and have mimicked it many times, for I was hooked.

There is nothing like enjoying the company of smart women who have opinions on what is going on in the world and over a fine meal, it is even better. The subject of the day was the controversy in Cincinnati over a photography exhibit by Robert Mapplethorpe at the Contemporary Arts Center there.

Famous for his floral photos, he was also infamous for photos of his alternative lifestyle. We all had an opinion about the 7 portraits named the “Dirty Pictures” that were to be included in the showing.  Not all of us were aware of how shocking these photos turned out to be, but most of us felt that the possibility of the shutdown of the National Endowment for the Arts over this display and other unusual depictions of art by other artists should not be decided by government officials. The art exhibit made national news due to a Citizens for Community Values group who brought suit and got an indictment against the center and its art director for pandering obscenity. (Mr. Barrie, and the arts center he directed, were later acquitted in a much-publicized trial six months after the indictment.) 

At our luncheon, a few of us decided to go to Cincinnati and view the exhibit as a sign of support for the arts. We all were students in the ‘60’s so peaceful protest was in our DNA. As it turned out, we were not alone. The controversy actually brought more visitors to the center than probably would have come without it. Our group enjoyed the florals…they were magnificent. It was really amazing how he could take one bloom and make it stunningly sexy and provocative. The so called “Dirty Pictures” were placed in a private room curtained and roped off with plenty of warning signs about and no one under 21 was allowed in. A few of us did venture in and a few of us ventured out just as fast, for the subject matter was quite unnerving. Remember there were only 7 photos on view all in black and white. If you could ignore the subject matter, the actual photography itself was striking.

Art is personal not only for the artist but the viewer. From time to time in history Michelangelo’s David has had a fig leaf strategically placed on the statue in Italy, all based on the norms at the time. The “broads” that went to Cincinnati left feeling they had done their duty to support art of every kind…even though we stopped for iced vodka and caviar, instead of tea, at the Omni Netherland hotel bar before heading home.

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Recipes

Jezebel Over Cream Cheese

Jezebel Sauce

Ingredients:

10 oz Pineapple Preserves

10 oz Apple Jelly

1 Tbsp horse radish

1 Tbsp Coleman mustard

Mix & pour over room temp cream cheese block and serve with lightly salted crackers

 

Pacific Rim Beef Salad

Ingredients:

2lbs boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 ½ in. thick

¾ cup soy sauce

¾ cup sugar, divided

1 Tbsp plus 1 ½ Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger

3 large cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup vegetable oil, divided

1 lb fresh spinach, stems removed and leaves torn into bite sizes

4 oz fresh bean sprouts

6 center cut red onion slices, separated into rings

¼ cup each of catsup and rice wine vinegar

½ tsp hot pepper sauce

2 tsp dark roasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Fresh button mushrooms

Cherry tomatoes

Trim excess fat from steaks, combine soy sauce, ½ cup sugar, ginger & garlic and stir to dissolve sugar. Place steak and marinade in zip lock bag and coat, leave in refrigerator for 2-4 hours. Remove steak, pat dry. Reserve 2 Tbsp of marinade. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add steak and sear 4-6 minutes turning once or until rare. Let steak sit for 10 minutes before carving into slivers. Combine spinach, bean sprouts, & onion in large bowl. Combine catsup, vinegar, pepper sauce, remaining sugar, remaining vegetable oil, remaining ¼ cup sugar and the marinade saved in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in sesame oil. Pour this hot dressing over the spinach combo and toss. Place the mixture on a large platter and arrange the meat slices on top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with the button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Serves 6. You can add hard boiled egg wedges if desired.

Strawberry Shortcake Shells

Ingredients:

5 egg whites

1 ½ tsp cream of tartar

¼ tsp salt

½ cup sugar

½ cup sifted cake flour

¾ tsp vanilla extract

Vegetable cooking spray

Brandied Strawberry Sauce (recipe below)

Sweetened whipped cream

8 strawberry fans (recipe below)

Beat egg whites at room temp until foamy. Add cream of tartar and salt beat until soft peaks form. Add sugar- 2Tbsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Sprinkle in half of flour at a time over this mixture and fold in carefully then fold in vanilla. Coat eight 4-5 in baking shells or use large muffin tins and spoon in evenly the batter to within ¼ inch of top edges. Bake at 375 for 9-12 min until the cakes spring back to the touch.

To serve spoon about 3 Tbsp of Brandied Strawberry Sauce on top of each dessert plate then place shells or muffins on top and top with whipped cream and strawberries.

Brandied Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients:

2 10 oz packages of frozen strawberries thawed and sliced

2 tsp corn starch

½ cup currant jelly

2 Tbsp brandy

Drain strawberries, reserve ½ cup juice. Press strawberries through a sieve and discard pulp and set sieved strawberries aside. Combine cornstarch and ½ cup reserved strawberry juice stir until smooth, set aside. Melt jelly over low heat in a saucepan add the cornstarch mixture and cook stirring constantly over medium heat until it c comes to a boil then stir in strawberries from sieve and brandy. Yield 1 ½ cups

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Finding Treasure…

A recent move had me going through boxes of books I had inherited from my mother. What a surprise to find one named “My Cookbook”  bound in red leather. Little did I know I had found treasure. My mom had her old standby cookbook rebound and had written on every available space her notes and OWN family recipes that were hits. Then stashed it full of recipe cards from others that shared their’s with her.

What a delight it was to see, in her hand, notes that made me laugh, cry and remember growing up in the deep south.

Inside the front cover she had written her hope that whoever got this would cherish it like she did or pass it on to someone whom she would like to have called “friend”. That statement is profound as I write about the “foodiefridayfriends” that she knew nothing about.

My gal pal from 3rd grade, who lived next door, told me she would love some of the recipes, but not the butter and sugar sandwich one we used to eat as a snack after school. My brother asked for her Jalapeno Cheese Spread, of which I will share with you if you request it…she would kill me for sharing with you though. She always said, “A southern woman does not share all of her secrets.”

I will spend the weekend reading her handwritten notes in the book and smile, for I have truly found a treasure.