Tuesday, May 20, 2008

My Apprenticeship with a Southern Cook

I talked a bit about the fabulous meals I had in Louisville during Derby weekend. We were so lucky to have the most amazing local hosts, who were just thrilled to cook for the Derby Dozen all weekend. Each and every spread was amazing. The first night, for example, we enjoyed 3-4 appetizers, grilled beef tenderloin, mashed potatoes, green peas, Bourbon slush, mint juleps, and pineapple cake with white icing for dessert. Breakfast the next day was an egg/sausage/cheese casserole, fresh fruit, raisin bran muffins, coffee, and mimosas. Other meals throughout the weekend included regional specialties like Derby pie, Bourbon chocolate balls, and country ham. As you can imagine, I was pretty much in heaven all weekend.

Luckily our hostess shared many of her wonderful recipes and cooking tips. I find so much pleasure in sharing cooking and recipes with other people who enjoy cooking as much as I do. We all have so much to learn from each other. And I particularly enjoy learning more about regional cooking, so what an amazing opportunity to learn from and work with a Southern cook all weekend!

Two of my favorite recipes that Mrs. Koetter’s made during the weekend were appetizers. She shared the recipes with me and I made both for my mom for her mother's day feast. My mom has been begging me to post them on my blog for days, so I'm guessing she enjoyed them as much as I did the first time! Enjoy!

Black Olive and French Bread
1 loaf French bread, slices
8 tbsp. butter, softened
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup grated cheese (white--possibilities are endless, but I like to do two parts Pecorino Romano and one part Parmesan)
¼ cup fresh chives
1 small can sliced black olives, drained and chopped

Mix together butter through olives and spread on French bread rounds and cook for short time at 375 degrees (8-10 minutes). Can be frozen. Makes 24 servings.

Italian Pesto Dip
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
½ cup Miracle Whip dressing
¼ cup basil pesto sauce
¼ cup chopped artichokes
1 cup chopped roasted peppers
1 cup finely shredded Italian style five cheese blend

Mix the cream cheese and dressing until well blended. Spread on dinner plate or serving platter. Layer toppings over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with crackers and fresh vegetables. Makes 24 servings.

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