In honor of Kentucky Derby this weekend, we're looking at a book that takes America's native spirit beyond Old-Fashioneds and Mint Juleps and pours it into everything from breakfast dishes, to appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Talk about 3 Square Meals!
Title & Publisher: The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook, by Albert W. A. Schmid. Published by The University Press of Kentucky, 2010.
First impressions: Packed with colorful bits of history and lore, it's an engaging read from the very start. What's not to love about a cookbook that opens its Beverages chapter with "The Most Famous of All Kentucky Breakfasts": 1 steak, 1 quart boubon whiskey, 1 man (you can substitute a woman), 1 dog....The man throws the steak to the dog and drinks the bourbon?
Number of recipes: 100 total, broken down into 5 categories: Beverages (20 recipes), Winter (21 recipes), Spring (19 recipes), Summer (20 recipes), and Fall (20 recipes).
The angle: A celebration of Kentucky bourbon with a focus on the fresh ingredients and culinary/social events that come with the turn of the calendar. The cookbook opens with drink recipes (including old classics such as the Mint Julep, Presbyterian, and Old Fashioned, as well as newer creations), and then moves to seasonal dishes, running from Winter all the way through Fall. The "Winter" recipes include hot breakfasts such as bourbon-flavored pancakes, French toast, and oatmeal, as well as spiked dinner dishes and boozy desserts. Its "Spring" chapter focuses on events such as Kentucky Derby and March Madness with finger food and hot appetizers. "Summer" brings us a bounty of fresh vegetables and grilled meats with vinaigrettes and bourbon-tinged barbecue sauces and seasonings. Finally, "Fall" features Thanksgiving fare, with a focus on using seasonal produce in recipes for fruit preserves, chili, and chowder.
The other stuff: Includes a Glossary, an extensive Bibliography, and a list of bourbon distilleries in Kentucky. Finding tools include a "Name and Subject Index" and a "Recipe Index." 12 pages of full-color photographs.
Strengths: A wide variety of recipes to suit a range of tastes and occasions. Written in an engaging style. Packed with fun tidbits of information.
Recipes for right now: Cocktails: Strawberry Julep, Bourbon Milk Punch (milk, bourbon, vanilla, ice cream), Bluegrass Breakfast (blueberries, lemon, rosemary, bourbon, maple syrup); Appetizers: Candied Kentucky Bourbon-Bacon Bites, Kentucky Bourbon Blini with Caviar, Kentucky Bourbon Prawns; Desserts: Kentucky Bourbon Bread and Butter Pudding, Kentucky Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie.
Recommended? Definitely. A well-curated collection of recipes to follow the changing seasons.
• Buy the book: The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook by Albert W. A. Schmid, $16.47 on Amazon.com.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC's Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
(Image: The University Press of Kentucky)