Some of the best restaurant food can be found in out-of-the-way places, but most likely you'll need help finding those eateries.
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has created a new Appalachian food map guide to promote culinary tourism. Bon Appetit Appalachia features 48 culinary destinations in Kentucky that include local farms, farmers markets, farm-to-table restaurants, wineries, craft breweries, and food festivals. The guide is available as an insert in the summer 2014 issue of Food Traveler magazine, which is available on newstands through Sept. 30. Go to Bon Appetit Appalachia.
Featured restaurants include:
■ The Bluebird, 202 West Main Street, Stanford; The Blue Raven, 211 Main Street, Pikeville; Snug Hollow Farm, 790 McSwain Branch, Irvine; Red River Rockhouse, 4000 Rt. 11, Campton; Country Girl at Heart Farm Bed & Breakfast, 6230 Priceville Road, Munfordville and the Beer Cheese Trail in Clark County.
The first Town Branch cocktail contest will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at Town Branch Distillery, 401 Cross Street.
The mixologists are to create the best cocktail using Town Branch rye and Ale-8-One. Tickets are $25, at Eventbrite.com, and include samples of the five drinks the bartenders will make, food from Dupree Catering, and Ale-8-One.
The five finalists competing in the Mix-Off, along with their cocktail entries include:
■ Shayne Bates of Enoteca in Lexington: "Pistacia Vera" cocktail recipe includes brown sugar, pistachio liqueur, crème de cassis and Ale-8-One candied raspberries.
■ Adam Geissler of Bour-Bon in Paris: "Town Branch sour" features lime juice, Town Branch bourbon, orange bitters, soda and a mild French apéritif with a red wine base, flavored lightly with quinine, coffee and bitter orange.
■ Jonathan Sizemore of Sutton's Restaurant and Atomic Café in Lexington: "A Late One on the Town" concoction features vanilla citrus liqueur, grapefruit bitters, fresh grapefruit, fresh ginger and vanilla bean cane sugar, creating a unique, layered flavor dimension designed to amplify the taste of a Southern favorite — bourbon and ginger ale.
■ Lauren Sundberg of Marriott Griffin Gate Hotel in Lexington: "Rye You So Good?" cocktail features muddled fresh grapefruit and sage.
■ Daniel Weeks of Shorty's in Lexington: "Town Toast" cocktail was inspired by French toast with strawberry syrup and features muddled strawberry, vanilla, and cinnamon for a refreshing, crisp summer taste.
'Local Food Heroes' to be honored Aug. 18
Three Kentucky farmers, voted as the Commonwealth's Local Food Heroes for 2013, will be honored on Aug. 18.
The inaugural Local Food Heroes Farm to Table Dinner will be at Ramsi's Café on the World in Louisville to honor Ramsi Kamar of Louisville, Michael Lewis of Berea, and Clay Turner of Russellville.
The Local Food Heroes Initiative was created from a partnership between the Kentucky Department of Agriculture; Louisville Farm to Table; and Seed Capital Kentucky.
Proceeds go to The Lincoln Foundation, a nonprofit that provides educational enrichment programs for disadvantaged students in the region. The Louisville-based organization plans to use the proceeds to implement a new agriculture and culinary education component to its curriculum.
Tickets are $100. Ramsi's Café is at 1293 Bardstown Road. Call (502) 451-0700.
Southern cuisine featured in Garden & Gun magazine
If you're on the lookout for good food while traveling this summer, take a look at the latest issue of Garden & Gun. The best of Southern cuisine features: Requiem for a Fish Sandwich, by Rick Bragg; Alton Brown talks about his Georgia roots and coconut cake; Kim Severson gives a few reasons why food has become the nation's cultural currency and why southern cuisine has never been more prized; Adam Sachs profiles John Fleer, who is called the most unsung hero in Southern food; take a tour of 20 breakfast joints, classic and contemporary, and what they're serving up hot; and the things you can do with the right ingredients and a cast-iron skillet.
Pickling made easy
Making pickles at home used to take days, but now pickling is easier and goes beyond cucumbers.
For quick pickling at home, no special equipment is needed and the necessary ingredients are already pantry staples. Just combine your favorite fresh summer produce with a mixture of vinegar, salt, sugar and spices — then let it chill in the refrigerator to develop flavor.
Quick-pickled produce can be eaten right out of the jar, piled onto sandwiches and burgers, chopped into salads, or mixed into entrees. Pickled fruits can be used as toppings for waffles and ice cream.
Here's an easy relish recipe that's great on hot dogs, bratwurst or burgers.
Spicy pickled green tomato relish
2 large green tomatoes
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded
1 small onion
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 teaspoon red pepper, Crushed
2 bay leaves
Finely chop vegetables. Place in large glass bowl. Set aside.
Place remaining ingredients in small saucepan. Bring to simmer on medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes. Pour hot liquid over vegetables.
Refrigerate 1 hour or until cooled. Serve. Or, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Source: McCormick Kitchens
Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.