The Morris Book Shop is launching The Pen to Plate Dinner Series, with the first dinner 7:30 p.m. July 16 featuring chef Dan Wu.
These 16-person dinners will be intimate affairs featuring star chefs who are movers and shakers in Lexington's food scene, but none of them cook for traditional brick and mortar restaurants. Chefs have been asked to choose one cookbook that's special to them and cook a three-course meal from that book.
The rest of the series will feature Brigitte Nguyen, Allison Davis and Wyatt Sarbacker. Cost is $65 per person per dinner. Visit Morrisbookshop.com to purchase tickets.
■ Reed Valley Orchard, 239 Lail Lane in Paris, is having its annual Blueberry Jubilee & Pancake Day from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Pancake meals will be served until 1:30 p.m. Live entertainment, craft vendors, walking trail and hayrides. Watch for detour signs to Townsend Valley if traveling US 27. Free admission. More information at Reedvalleyorchard.com, (859) 987-6480.
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■ From 5:30 to 8 p.m. on July 2, WUKY and the Hilary J. Boone Center will present A Splendid Tasting, featuring international and local beers, ciders and wines and gourmet tasting stations. Tickets are $45 per person; call (859) 257-1133 for reservations.
■ Barbara Harper Bach will be signing her book From My Mother's Kitchen at Louis' Flower Power Shop in the Lansdowne Shoppes from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 4 and 5. She'll have samples including rhubarb pie, 1950's Kraft Television Theater dip, sugar cream pie and Nuts and Bolts (the original). Her dog, Butler Blue Bach, will be there on Saturday with his doggie cookbook and treats for the dogs.
■ Southern chef, fitness guru, and Paula Deen Network partner Robin Shea recently began filming her next season of Cooking 80/20 in her hometown of Bowling Green on the campus of Western Kentucky University. Shea blends her passion for Southern food with her commitment to a healthy lifestyle. The "80/20" refers to her philosophy of healthy lifestyle choices 80 percent of the time, while saving 20 percent for a guilt-free Southern indulgence.
"It has always been a vision of mine to produce my programming in Bowling Green," said Shea in a release. "Partnering with Western Kentucky University allows me to stay tuned in, tapped in and turned on to the fresh, creative and young vibe that a college campus is gushing with."
Thirteen new episodes of Cooking 80/20, featuring Shea and her four sons, will run on the Paula Deen Network beginning in the summer. Cooking 80/20 also will air on PBS, Create TV and other cable partners this summer.
■ Looking for something special to take to Fourth of July picnics? Try these award-winning tiramisu cupcakes. Ruth Sharrod of Lexington won best cupcakes at the Homemakers Annual Meeting in Fayette County with them. They are filled with a coffee liqueur soak and topped with amaretto mascarpone frosting.
13/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
21/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup butter
23/4 King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons coffee liqueur
3/4 cup hot water
2 tablespoons espresso powder
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup amaretto liqueur
4 teaspoons Instant ClearJel
1 cup mascarpone cheese
2⁄3 cup confectioner's sugar
Cocoa powder for garnish
Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl, beat together sugar and butter for cupcakes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the sides and mix again, to be sure everything is incorporated.
Spoon the batter into paper-lined cupcake pan (grease the insides of the papers.) Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
Remove the cupcake pan from the oven and place on a rack. After 5 minutes, tilt the pan and take the cupcakes out, returning them to the rack to finish cooling completely.
To make the soak, mix the espresso powder, liqueur and sugar into the hot water. Using a fork, poke the tops of each cupcake a couple of times. Sprinkle or brush a small amount of the soak over each cupcake and allow it to soak in.
To make the frosting, beat the whipping cream until medium peaks form. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar and ClearJel and slowly add to the whipped cream along with the amaretto.
Gently and briefly whisk in the mascarpone cheese by hand until the frosting is thick and creamy. (This shouldn't take more than four or five passes with the whisk; more than that and the frosting will get grainy.)
Pipe the frosting over the cupcakes then dust with cocoa. Chill until ready to serve. Makes 24.
■ Brown-Forman has released the latest in its Old Forester Whiskey Row series: 1897 Bottled in Bond is a big, bold 100 proof bourbon, lightly filtered with bold flavors of caramel, coffee and dark fruit, including cherries. It's available in 20 markets for a suggested retail price of $49.99. A national release is planned for September.
■ Moonshine University at the Distilled Spirits Epicenter, 801 S. Eighth St., in Louisville has added several workshops to its 2015 course calendar for craft distilling entrepreneurs and enthusiasts. Offerings include an advanced sensory training workshop to enhance "nosing" abilities; bourbon certification programs for hospitality staff; and a session full of guidelines for bringing a brand to market. Following the success of February's five-day rum course, a second chance to study the sugar-based spirit will be offered in October. For more information or to register for a course, visit Moonshineuniversity.com, call (502) 301-8126 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
■ LexGo Eat is going on vacation in July; please submit timely items before June 30.