Sunday, May 16, 2010


    Another Sicilian Sunday Dinner edition that was neither Sicilian nor on Sunday but plenty of fun and yum. Charles and Martin had a Kentucky Derby Day party on their new deck overlooking their gorgeous property in the Catskills. Perfect weather, fancy hats, southern comfort food and mint juleps, along with the graciousness of our hosts and the cheer of friends and neighbors made it a perfect day for an afternoon party in the mountains.
Let's start with the cocktail: the mint julep, which is for all intensive purposes a whiskey mojito. I am sold. Kentucky bourbon and mint infused simple syrup on ice, garnished with mint leaves dusted in powdered sugar. This drink is a winner. Take it easy though, they are sweet and strong.
Derby Day was a family tradition for Mart's family and every year they sent away for official Kentucky Derby highball glasses, so he lined up rows and rows to adorn the party.
    Charles and Mart and Kathy and Steph worked hard the day before preparing so many delicious dishes. When I walked in the door I could not help but notice the beautiful aroma of smoked pork.

     Aside from the irresistible devils on horseback, which is a date stuffed with an almond, then baked wrapped in bacon, the boys were smoking ribs in the back. And if that wasn't enough pork, they made pulled pork sliders on potato buns. Those were special little sandwiches with a nice sweet and spicy barbeque flavor. They had smoked the pork the day before for six hours until it was falling off the bone.
Steph made a tower of my favorite: deviled eggs. We were all commenting how our limits for fried eggs is about two eggs, but how we can eat unlimited amounts of deviled eggs. Deviled eggs really remind me of my Grandma Isabelle. They were her specialty.
Kathy made the most delicious biscuits that we smothered in honey from Chaz's bee hives and melted butter. We all agreed we basically have no limit on the amount of those we can eat. She also made the most delicious mac and cheese covered in toasted breadcrumbs.
   A main event was Southern Fried Chicken. Since I just love deep frying, I helped Mart with this. We made a mean frying team, I must say. It was delicious. The chicken was first soaked in buttermilk then dredged in flour, corn starch, salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper. The chicken breasts were gigantic so after we fried them we put them in the oven for a bit to finish cooking through. Crispy and fried and juicy and succulent. You can't go wrong and wouldn't believe how easy they are to make.
   It finally was betting time. With all the delicious food, we almost forgot why we were there. The race! Those horses were remarkable and I love their little companion ponies that keep them calm. I'm such a sucker for love, even pony love. We pooled our bets and whomever picked the winner won the pot and if no one picked the winner, then the money was to be donated to the local animal shelter. Mart won! Can you say fix!
   Speaking of little animals there were a lot of cute poochies at the party whose adorable portraits I couldn't help but share.
   What's a Derby Day Party without southern desserts? Ms. Kathy baker, who is one of the most talented bakers I know, made Red Velvet Cupcakes, Pecan Pie and Peach Crumble. She is one serious lady and the ease with which she whips these dishes up is remarkable. 

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