On Monday, four Kentucky chefs prepared a Kentucky-centric dinner at the famous James Beard House in New York.
The dinner was a precursor to the culinary extravaganza scheduled during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games this fall at the Kentucky Horse Park.
Jeffrey Newman, executive chef at Historic Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant of Berea College; Jeremy Ashby, executive chef at Azur Restaurant and Patio in Lexington; Andrew Myer, executive chef at Bellini's in Lexington; and Dallas McGarity, executive chef/partner of Z's Fusion Restaurant in Louisville created a menu that was a blend of traditional Kentucky fare with contemporary twists.
The dinner featured passed hors d'oeuvres of pan-fried rabbit liver with burgoo; cornmeal hoecakes with goat-cheese mousse; pickled spring onions and truffled Kentucky honey; Kentucky Ale and Farmhouse white Cheddar soup shooters with crispy country ham and toasted almond grissini.
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There also was Kentucky paddlefish caviar and sunny-side-up quail egg on brioche with chive crème fraîche; citrus and beet ceviche with moonshine and rhubarb compote on yucca chips; lemon basil and bourbon juleps; and a tasting of Kentucky-produced wines.
The dinner featured:
■ Kentucky bison carpaccio with Bibb lettuce, arugula, crunchy black-eyed peas and apple cider-sorghum vinaigrette, served with Equus Run vidal blanc 2008.
■ Truffle potato gnocchi with garden peas, morel mushrooms and brown butter, accompanied by Jean Farris chardonnay 2007.
■ Bourbon black pepper glazed pork belly with Kentucky-style soup beans served beside Kentucky blue prawn with grits and salsa verde, served with Talon Winery syrah 2007.
■ Coffee-rubbed lamb loin with spiced carrot purée and banana pepper-green tomato relish served beside bacon praline crusted beef tenderloin over oyster bread pudding with asparagus and salsify, served with Elk Creek cabernet sauvignon blue ribbon series, 2006.
■ For dessert, strawberry, Kentucky brie and black walnut cobbler with blackberry-buttermilk ice cream and bourbon-smoked sea salt, served with Jean Farris blanc de blanc, 2008.
During WEG, the Celebrity Chef Culinary Series will be at the Horse Park's Historic Farmhouse, setting a stage similar in experience to that of dining in the James Beard House in New York.
Jesting, jousting for KET
A jester and minstrel sideshow and live jousting are planned for this year's medieval-themed Kentucky Educational Television Summer Celebration.
The event, called "Lords, Ladies and Legends," will benefit KET and will be 7 p.m. to midnight June 11 at Donamire Farm, home of Don and Mira Ball. University of Kentucky men's basketball coach John Calipari is the honorary chair. DaRae & Friends is catering the party. Tickets are $125. Call 1-800-866-0366.
Learn to preserve
The Greater Louisville chapter of the University of Kentucky's Alumni Association will have a food canning and preservation demonstration at the St. Matthews Farmers Market at 11 a.m. June 12.
Family and Consumer Sciences agents Nelda Moore and Chris Rivera from the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service will explain how to properly freeze and dry various fruits and vegetables, and they will demonstrate canning methods using pressure cookers and hot-water baths.
The St. Matthews Farmers Market is at Beargrass Christian Church at 4100 Shelbyville Road in Louisville. Call (502) 562-5728.
The book on tapas
Tapas — little dishes of bite-size food — are served in bars all over Spain, and Americans have embraced tapas as an easy way to learn to cook Spanish food. In The Book of Tapas (Phaidon, $39.99), Simone and Ines Ortega introduce American cooks to new tapas recipes that had not previously been published in English. The book includes a comprehensive glossary of tapas terms. A recipe for fisherman's rice appears on my blog, Flavors of Kentucky, at Kentucky.com.
Cream cheese to go
Kraft Foods now offers small packets of cream cheese that are ideal for toting to work or to a picnic site. Philadelphia minis are individual, portion-controlled containers available in four varieties: regular (100 calories, 10 grams of fat), one-third less fat (80 calories, 6 grams of fat), strawberry (100 calories, 8 grams of fat), and chive and onion (100 calories, 10 grams of fat). Suggested retail price is $1.79 for four individually packaged 1.25-ounce tubs.