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.

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