20 March 2006

Kentucky Derby prep - bourbon and bliss

As this is my first year following the Kentucky Derby prep races, I'm not really familiar with what constitutes a good prep schedule for a contender. (So of course, I did not vote in the recent "Most Important Derby Prep" poll over at ...Not to the Swift.)

However, even a novice such as myself can tell it's time to start prepping for the Kentucky Derby party. Intimate or immense, with less than six weeks to go, it seems like the right time to start stocking up on ingredients for party fare. Here at the Quinella Castle, the King and I are planning a rather small gathering (the dining room still sports evidence of the Sunshine Millions, and we'll have to keep everyone in the living room.)

Of course, we need bourbon. Lots of bourbon, because in addition to the traditional Mint Juleps, I intend to make "Warm Chocolate Bliss" which, apparently, is simply bourbon and chocolate, baked with some sugar, butter and eggs. When it is served, "the center of the bliss should be molten."

At least according to Margaret Guthrie, author of Racing to the Table: A Culinary Tour of Sporting America where I found the recipe. Published by Eclipse Press, the book highlights food served at tracks from New York to California. There's no chapter for West Virginia, but most of the big tracks are represented: Santa Anita, Del Mar, Arlington Park, Belmont, Saratoga, Pimlico, Keeneland, Calder, The Fair Grounds. There's even a chapter on Aiken, South Carolina, home to the Aiken Training Track, and a recipe for oysters wrapped in bacon called "Angels on Horseback" from Delaware Park.

All in all, it's a gorgeous book, featuring more pictures of horses than of food, with lots of connecting text highlighting the history of each track with brief discussions of important races, such as the Arlington Million and the Delaware Handicap.

Of course, Churchill Downs and the Derby are mentioned, and in amidst all the the odd sounding Kentucky recipes like "Burgoo," I came across not one, but two recipes for "hot brown" which was recently mentioned over at Railbird. Amazingly, the "Modern Hot Brown" replaces the whipped cream with milk and amber beer -- not bourbon!


Tote Board Brad said...

I tried the Burgoo at Keeneland a few years back. The stew-like concoction wasn't bad, but I wouldn't order it again either. I've never had the hot brown, although I noticed it on the menue at a li'l diner in Franklin, Ky., home of the all turf track Kentucky Downs.

If you ever make it to St. Louis, get a slinger. Most any diner with make it, even if it isn't on the menu.

In San Francisco, ask for the hangtown fry. It's not that good, but those with regular hangovers swear by it.