My Old Kentucky Cooking

Respectfully submitted by League member Liz Bornwasser

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During this League year (2013-2014), I’m going to take you on a culinary adventure through JLL’s newest and greatest cookbook, Bluegrass Gatherings. I hope you will find inspiration and maybe some motivation to step outside your cooking comfort zone and try these new recipes especially as the holidays approach.

One of my favorite ways to cook is with bourbon and beer, so when I found these two recipes in Bluegrass Gatherings, I had to try the Bourbon-Spiced Pecans and the Beer Cheese. Do not let the recipes fool you. They are surprisingly easy to make, and once you do, I am confident they will become some of your go-to entertaining recipes. They certainly were a hit at the Nominating Committee meeting!

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Bourbon-Spiced Pecans

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 cups pecan halves
1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped dried rosemary
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir in the bourbon. Stir in the brown sugar, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Cook until the pecans are cooked, stirring constantly. Spread the pecans evenly on a baking sheet. Cool completely, stirring occasionally to break apart the pecans.

Serves 16.

Liz’s Tip: To save on time while the nuts are cooking, mix all of dry seasonings together before adding to the nuts.

Beer Cheese

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup lager
1 cup cream
8 ounces Gouda cheese, shredded
Salt to taste

Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Mix the beer and cream in a stainless steel saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Whisk into the flour mixture 1 teaspoon at a time and cook to desired thickness, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, a small amount at a time, stirring until the cheese is melted before adding more cheese. Season with salt and pour into a serving bowl. Serve with baguette slices for dipping.

Note: If the dip seems to thick, thin with a small amount of beer or cream.

Serves 12.

Chef Brian Morgan, Eiderdown

Liz’s Tips: Be very careful when the beer and cream start to boil. If you have any doubt that it might be boiling, go ahead and remove from heat before it boils over and makes a big mess. I used 1/2 1000 day aged Gouda and 1/2 smoked Gouda, but you could probably use any cheese you want. However, Gouda is a great cheese because it is somewhat sweet and melts easily. Lastly, the recipe made as is will end up with the consistency of a spread and not a dip. If you want a thinner, more dip-like consistency, use the entire bottle of beer and entire pint of cream. As you can see, I also kept mine in a crockpot for serving warm.

Contact a member or visit http://www.juniorleaguelouisville.org to order Bluegrass Gatherings or any of JLL’s other cookbooks.

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