Alice Baron’s experience cooking out of Bluegrass Gatherings

Our very own Alice Baron has written a blog surrounding her first experience cooking out of our new cookbook!

My experience cooking out of Bluegrass GatheringsSAM_0007

Bluegrass Gatherings: Entertaining through Kentucky’s Seasons was just released and already I was thinking of the opportunities I would have to create some of the fabulous recipes.  My first thought for a gathering didn’t come from the menus listed, but from an upcoming family milestone my daughter’s First Communion. I was drawn to the Spring menus sections, but pulled from throughout the book. There were so many choices I couldn’t wait to flip through the pages one by one and flag the recipes to create a special menu for a very special day. It was hard to choose, but in the end I created a menu using:

  • The Merriest Caprese Cups, 157
  • Pimento Cheese-stuffed Mushrooms, 53
  • Kentucky Country Ham Torte, 41
  • Down the Stretch Shrimp and Grits, 43
  • Call to Post Asparagus Salad, 42
  • Triple Crown Pie Shooters, 47.

Getting started was a challenge since my husband was out of town, and between Junior League meetings and the kids schedules, my house needed some major TLC.  My mother came to my rescue and assisted as sous chef.  I presented my menu choices and gave my mom strict instructions that we were preparing the dishes exactly as written in the book – no improvising!  I later learned my mom was skeptical about making so many dishes that we haven’t tasted or made before, but she admitted everything turned out well.  In addition to tasting great the recipes looked beautiful on display.

DSC_0272The Caprese Cups were quick and easy to assemble having to be the quickest appetizer I have made in years. I look forward to growing basil and cherry tomatoes this summer so I can make these for an afternoon snack.

DSC_0277We were both curious about the Pimento Cheese stuffed mushrooms. We drained the mushrooms for a bit while preparing the pimento cheese.  A few minutes in the oven then we served on a warming tray. These were loved by all and held their shape.

DSC_0267We had the most discussion around the Kentucky Country Ham Torte because I didn’t own a Spring pan form. I was able to pick one up at Kroger and we soon learned this delicious treat is a cross between a quiche and a cheesecake. I am looking forward to making this dish for my next brunch! This also made enough to send leftovers home with the guest to enjoy in the morning.

??????????????I am not a seafood person, but I do love grits so we made the Shrimp and Grits.  They shrimp smelled divine in the light sauce.  The grits were creamy and flavorful. The perfect pairing to the Shrimp.

??????????????????????One of my favorite dishes was the Call to Post Asparagus salad. We were able to blanch the asparagus and create the dressing ahead of time making it very easy to assemble and serve.

DSC_0275Last, the Triple Crown Pie Shooters. I have prepared these numerous times now and they have never failed to please. This is also a recipe I can have the kids assist in crushing the shortbread cookies and measuring out the ingredients into the little cups. I love any chance to use my small serving glasses.  You can assemble the desserts the day before and right before serving top with the whipped cream and garnishes.

Bluegrass Gatherings made it easy to pull together a menu using ingredients that I could find at my local grocery store.  The recipes are easy to follow and many have components you can prepare ahead of time. I would recommend using Bluegrass Gatherings for your next get together.

JLL Celebrates the Launch of Bluegrass Gatherings in Style

Scores of Junior League of Louisville members, sustainers, and their guests, celebrated the release of the League’s new cookbook, Bluegrass Gatherings: Entertaining Through Kentucky’s Seasons, at a launch party sponsored by Macy’s, Oxmoor Center, on Thursday night, April 18.

Bluegrass Gatherings books stacked

Guests were treated to delicious recipes from Bluegrass Gatherings—such as the highly-acclaimed Tip-Off Poppers from the March Madness Menu—and enjoyed a signature cocktail and bourbon supplied generously by Heaven Hill Distilleries.

Tip Off Poppers

Blushing Lady cocktail

Chef Laurent Geroli, Executive Chef, The Brown Hotel, offered a lively and highly informative cooking demonstration on how to prepare the world-famous Hot Brown. Following his presentation, guests sampled Miniature Hot Browns Appetizers with Mornay Sauce, a dish that is featured in Bluegrass Gatherings, submitted by Chef Geroli. Chef Geroli and Chef Claudia Delatorre, Pastry Chef, Cake Flour—A Natural Baking Company, kindly signed cookbooks and chatted with guests following the demo.

Chef Geroli live demo

Bluegrass Gatherings Cookbook signing

LaCinda Glover, Co-chair, Cookbook Committee, gave a keen presentation suggesting ways to pair Bluegrass Gatherings with other items when giving it as a gift. A Derby-themed tablescape was also on display, featuring items from the Macy’s home department.

Derby Cookbook gift ideas

VIP sponsors of Bluegrass Gatherings were recognized at the party with swag bags filled with a voucher for a complimentary makeover at Macy’s, wine bottle stopper, JLL t-shirt, and Roobie Red Tea. All in attendance received a goody bag containing cosmetic and cologne samples, a sample of PAMA Liqueur from Heaven Hill, and shopping pass for Macy’s, among other items.  Door prizes were also awarded.

The League’s Cookbook Committee would like to thank Julep Catering, Macy’s and Chef Geroli for helping make the launch party a huge success. The Cookbook Committee would also like to thank all of the League members and sustainers who were in attendance Thursday night, as well as the ones who have supported Bluegrass Gatherings though sponsorship, contribution, and/or ownership of the book. The League’s recipe for success includes you.

-Robin Rueff

Celebrate National Grill Cheese Day on April 12th [Recipe]

April 12th is National Grilled Cheese Day! Who doesn’t love this popular comfort food? It’s one of my favorite snowy and rainy day indulgences, especially when paired with creamy tomato soup.

The Ancient Romans were the first civilization to make a cooked bread and cheese sandwich, but many cultures have invented their own take on this ancient dish. The classic American grilled cheese sandwich emerged in the 1920s when inexpensive cheese and affordable sliced bread became available. The Junior League of Louisville has created their own version of grilled cheese that is easy to make and absolutely delicious! In honor of National Grilled Cheese Day I decided to make it for dinner last night.

The Snow Angel Cheese Panini is the perfect food for a cold winter’s day but it’s simple enough for a quick weeknight meal.

Try it yourself: (this recipe serves 4)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
8 slices sourdough bread
3 ounces white Cheddar cheese, shredded
3 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
3 ounces provolone cheese, shredded
3 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

Grilled cheese ingredients

Hand shredded cheeses

Spread the butter evenly on one side of each bread slice. Combine the Cheddar cheese, Gruyere cheese, provolone cheese and mozzarella cheese in a bowl and toss to mix. Spread equal portions of the cheese on the unbuttered side of 4 bread slices. Top with the remaining bread slices buttered side up.

Head a large cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Arrange the sandwiches in the skillet and cover with foil. Place a smaller heavy skillet on the foil to “press” the sandwiches. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden brown and the cheese is melted. If you have a panini maker, cook the sandwiches for 7-8 minutes on medium heat.

 Assembling grilled cheese
Grilled cheese on panini press

The Snow Angel Cheese Panini was delicious and so easy to make! I paired it with Bluegrass Gatherings recipe of “Cozy, Creamy Tomato Basil Soup” for the perfect comfort meal.

Celebrate National Grilled Cheese Day at your house with this panini recipe from the Junior League of Louisville’s new cookbook, Bluegrass Gatherings!

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Bluegrass Gatherings can be purchased for $29.95 online and at the JLL office. We also have many local retailers that are carrying our cookbook such as The Brown Hotel, Carmichaels Bookstore, Bittners, Colonial Design, Cooking at the Cottage, Celebrations, Lotsa Pasta, and Regalo/Galt House Gift Shop.

-Emily Kemp

Bluegrass Gatherings Launch Party is April 18th at Macy’s

The Junior League of Louisville is celebrating the March 2013 release of its fourth cookbook, Bluegrass Gatherings: Entertaining through Kentucky’s Seasons, at the official launch party sponsored by Macy’s. The event is scheduled for Thursday, April 18, 2013, from 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.

League members, their friends and family, and VIP sponsors will gather on the third floor of Macy’s, Oxmoor Center, to taste delicious recipes from Bluegrass Gatherings. Mini Hot Browns, being prepared live by Chef Laurent Géroli, Executive Chef of the award-winning Brown Hotel, will also be sampled. Chef Géroli will kindly sign cookbooks prior to and following his cooking demonstration.

Chef Laurent

VIP treatment is planned for cookbook sponsors, including complimentary makeovers, gift bags, and premium seating for Chef Géroli’s cooking demonstration.

All attendees will receive an exclusive Macy’s Shopping Pass for the night of the launch party. A personal shopper will be on hand to fashion guests for upcoming Derby events. Interactive “stations” will suggest ways to pair Bluegrass Gatherings with home items for gift giving.

Bluegrass Gatherings is a seasonal, menu-based cookbook that features fresh, local ingredients. It includes recipes from celebrated local chefs, including Chef Géroli, a wine pairing guide by M.S. Scott Harper of the Bristol, highlights of local farms and events, entertaining tips, a Kentucky produce buying guide, and photography of 20+ mouth watering recipes and scenes from around the Commonwealth. Bluegrass Gatherings will be available for purchase during the launch party and is also available for purchase on the Junior League of Louisville’s website (www.juniorleaguelouisville.org). JLL is also working diligently with Macy’s to have it sold in its Oxmoor Center location after the event.

Quick & Easy Krispy Kale Recipe [Video]

With spring finally here and warmer weather around the corner, it is time to
invite friends and family over for BBQs and cookouts.  What better way to
enjoy the warm weather than sharing a healthy snack or side with your meal.
Krispy Kale is both an easy and deliciously nutritious snack or side, sure
to please.

JLL’s very own, LaCinda Glover, shares with us this recipe from our newest
Junior League of Louisville cookbook, Bluegrass Gatherings.

Get your copy of Bluegrass Gatherings today! You can pick up a copy for
$29.95 at the JLL office, online, or at a General Meeting.

With Derby almost here, be sure not to miss out on these yummy recipes to
showoff and share.

-Shannon Wolfrum