When you ring in 2013, show support for the "buy local" movement by throwing a Kentucky Proud party.
Central Kentucky produces everything you need for a fabulous New Year's Eve party. We've planned a menu of local foods and drinks that will make your party the best-tasting one of the season.
A nice selection of Kentucky products is available at Good Foods Market & Café, 450 Southland Drive; Liquor Barn stores; Wine + Market, 486 West Second Street; The Kentucky Proud Market at The Shops at Lexington Center, 410 West Vine Street; and the indoor Lexington Farmers Market at Victorian Square on Saturday. Here are a few of our favorites.
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Start the party with a round of drinks from Alltech Lexington Brewing and Distilling Co. and West Sixth Brewery, which offers hand-crafted beers including IPA, amber, porter and barley. Lexington Brewing offers Town Branch bourbon and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. Central Kentucky has several wineries where you may pick up a few bottles, or neighborhood liquor stores will have plenty available. A listing of nearby wineries may be found at Kentuckywine.com.
At Bramble Ridge Orchard, 2726 Osborne Road, Mount Sterling, Cindy Peake has "a crowd favorite for ringing in the new year." Bramble Ridge pomosa is equal parts chilled apple cider and champagne. The farm store also sells apple cider vinegar, aged in bourbon barrels, that would make a tasty salad dressing.
Beer cheese is on almost every party table in Central Kentucky. There are dozens of people who make beer cheese, and you can find it hot, mild or spicy at country markets and giant supermarkets.
One item you can keep in the pantry is Bruce's Beer Cheese mix. Blend it with cheese and stale beer, and it's ready in minutes. A 1.5-ounce package, $6, makes at least three party-size bowls.
If your parties are more upscale, you'll want to serve goat cheese from Bleugrass Chevre. Owner Susan Miller recommends "the torta above all. It's a festive chevre round filled with sun-dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds and basil, and the top is decorated with herbs and edible flowers."
Bleugrass Chevre cheeses are at Good Foods Market in Lexington and Marksbury Market in Lancaster. Miller will have her cheeses at Lexington Farmers Market in Victorian Square on Saturday.
Ed Puterbaugh makes artisan cheeses at Boone Creek Creamery, 2462 Palumbo Drive. You may see his selections, including Sassy Redhead Cheddar at Boonecreekcreamery.com.
Cheese straws, or wafers, have been served at luncheons, teas, and dinner parties for decades, and most often they were freshly made by the hostess or the family cook. Nancy Talbott and her daughter Linda Barnes have turned their family recipe into a business venture. Nancy's Fancy Cheddar Snaps are in retail specialty shops or on Facebook.
If you plan to make bruschetta, pick up a baguette or seven-grain loaf of bread at Bluegrass Baking Company, 3101 Clays Mill Road. The store will be open New Year's Eve from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Go to Bluegrassbakingcompany.com.
Pineapple chutney from Kentucky Specialty Sauces can be served over cream cheese or brie for an easy hors d'oeuvre.
The main course
Lyons Farm all- natural meat is raised on Alltech's feeding program and sold at Critchfield Meats in Zandale Shopping Center. The brand offers whole beef tenderloin, filet mignon, rib-eye and boneless chicken breasts.
A nice complement to Lyons Farm products is Kentucky Specialty Sauces' Bluegrass bourbon sauce. Its base is Nancy Ward's signature Bluegrass Steaks and Everything Sauce with the added flavors of mangos, spices and bourbon. Go to Kyspecsauces.com.
For a quick meal for the New Year celebration, slice aged country ham and serve it on Sister Schubert's homemade rolls. One of the Sister Schubert's bakeries is in Horse Cave.
There are several country ham producers in the state, and Browning's Country Hams cure one of the best. The company was founded in 1970 in Paris by Paul and Reba Browning. They sold the company in 2011 to David Sponcil, who moved the operation to Dry Ridge. Go to Browningscountryham.com.
A slather of Wallace Station bourbon mustard will jazz up the country ham and rolls. It's a recipe from Wallace Station Deli & Bakery, 3854 Old Frankfort Pike, Versailles. The product is produced by Kentucky Specialty Sauces.
Accompany the main course with fresh pasta made by Reinaldo Gonzalez and Lesme Romero at Lexington Pasta, 227 North Limestone. You may pick up their pastas at several retail locations.
Coffee and dessert
Make dessert simple. Serve bourbon cherries from Old Kentucky Chocolates (Oldkycandy.com), 450 Southland Drive, or bourbon balls from Ruth Hunt Candies (Ruthhuntcandy.com) at its new location at 213 Walton Avenue.
Before the ball drops in Times Square, round out the evening by serving fresh roasted coffees such as Alltech Café Citadelle or CaffeMarco, from small coffee roastery at 729 Main Street, Paris. The beans for Café Citadelle are grown in Haiti and roasted by School Spirit Coffee in Winchester. Profits go to Alltech ACE Foundation, which helps fund two Haitian primary schools.
Here is Reba Browning's recipe for country ham salad, which goes great on a cracker as an appetizer.
2 cups finely chopped Browning's country ham
1 teaspoon sour cream
1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
¼ cup chopped onion
Combine country ham, sour cream, pickle relish and onion in a bowl and mix by hand. Stir in mayonnaise until desired consistency.
This recipe is from Ouita Michel, chef/owner at Wallace Station. Her special bourbon mustard cream goes well with pork.
Ouita's special bourbon mustard cream
2 shallots, minced, or 1/4 red onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Wallace Station bourbon mustard
1/2 cup bourbon
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup good-quality chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, sweat garlic and shallots in butter. Add mustard and mix well, about 2 minutes. Add bourbon, which will flame. Add chicken stock and cream to put out bourbon flames. Simmer until slightly thickened, about the consistency of syrup. Season with salt and pepper to taste.