Happy Kentucky Derby Day! Here are a few special Kentucky Derby recipes from Kentucky with my twist on them. Wear a special dress-up hat and have a glass of punch.

Happy Kentucky Derby Day! Here are a few special Kentucky Derby recipes from Kentucky with my twist on them. Wear a special dress-up hat and have a glass of punch.



Sparkling Amaretto Bourbon Punch

5 cups seltzer

4 cups Kentucky bourbon

2 cups fresh lemon juice, about 14- 16 lemons

2 cups sparkling apple juice

1 cup simple syrup (recipe below)

3/4 cup Amaretto or other almond-flavored liqueur

Ice cubes with Maraschino cherries inside them

Sparkling apple juice

Garnish: Thin lemon slices and Maraschino cherries

Make simple syrup first. In a saucepan add 1 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar over medium high heat bring to a boil until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature and pour into a jar, refrigerate.

In two ice cube trays place Maraschino cherries in each cup and fill with sparkling apple juice, freeze until solid.

In a punch bowl mix together seltzer, bourbon, lemon juice, apple juice, simple syrup, and Amaretto. Add Maraschino cherry ice cubes. Garnish with thin lemon slices and cherries, if desired.


Spinach Salad with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Bourbon Vinaigrette

1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon

3/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Pinch of salt and fresh ground black pepper

8 slices (about 8 ounces) bacon, cut into small pieces

1 8 to 10 ounce package (about 5 cups loosely packed) fresh spinach

1/2 cup toasted pecans

1 green pear, cored and thinly sliced

4 ounces mild blue cheese, crumbled

In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, bring bourbon to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until well chilled.

In a bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, syrup, salt, pepper, and reserved bourbon. Set vinaigrette aside.

In a skillet cook bacon until crispy, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate. Set aside.

In a large salad bowl, combine spinach, pecans, pear slces, blue cheese, and crispy bacon. Toss gently with reserved vinaigrette.


Kentucky Fried Potatoes

Serves 4

4 large white potatoes, peeled and sliced

6 slices smoked bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

3 tablespoons bacon drippings

1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp, remove and place on paper towels, let cool and crumble. Set aside.

Heat the reserved bacon drippings in the skillet over medium heat. Add potato slices and onion, stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve hot


Bourbon Glazed Spareribs

4 pounds spareribs

1/4 cup Kentucky bourbon

cup low salt soy sauce

cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

2 scallions, finely chopped

Pinch of ginger powder

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place ribs on a rack in a roasting pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl stir together bourbon, sugar, honey, soy sauce, scallions, ginger, and mustard. Spread sauce rub thickly over both sides of ribs. Roast in 350 degree oven until brown and crisp about 1 to 1 hours, turning once and basting frequently.


Kentucky Bourbon Chicken

cup low salt soy sauce

cup Kentucky bourbon

4 cloves garlic, minced then smashed

1 teaspoon onion powder

Pinch of dried crushed thyme

2 tablespoons olive oil

6 chicken legs and thighs

In a plastic zipper bag mix together soy sauce, bourbon, garlic, onion powder, thyme, and olive oil. Place chicken pieces in bag, tossing chicken to coat, refrigerate for 2-4 hours or overnight. The longer it marinates, the stronger the flavor.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a foil lined rimmed baking sheet spread chicken pieces skin side up in one layer. Bake from 35 to 45 minutes until chicken is just done, if cooked too long it will dry out.


Bourbon Bread Pudding with Raisins

Bourbon Sauce:

cup butter, melted

cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 cups Kentucky bourbon

In a saucepan melt butter, add sugar and egg, whisking to blend well. Cook over low heat until mixture just thickens do not simmer or the sauce might curdle. Whisk in bourbon to taste. Remove from heat. Whisk before serving.

Bread Pudding:

one loaf of French bread, cut into 1-inch squares

2 cups half-and-half

2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup dark raisins, soaked in cup bourbon

teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons butter, melted

In a small bowl soak raisins in bourbon for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a shallow bowl soak bread in half-and-half. Press with hands until well blended and all the milk is absorbed.

In another bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Gently fold in bread mixture, then fold in raisins with bourbon.

Pour melted butter into bottom of a baking casserole dish, coating the bottom and sides completely. Transfer bread mixture to prepared dish and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start getting a bit brown and pull away form the edge.


Kentucky Derby Chocolate Pecan Pie

1 9-inch prepared Chocolate Oreo pie crust

cup butter, 1 stick, melted


1/4 cup granulated sugar


3/4 cup brown sugar, packed


3/4 cup Karo dark corn syrup


4 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten


1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


cup Kentucky bourbon


3/4 cup high quality chocolate chips


1 cups toasted pecan halves, if desired use pecan pieces


cup toffee chips or Heath bar chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees .


In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed beat butter, sugars, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla, and bourbon together until frothy. Gently fold in the pecans, chocolate chips, and toffee or Heath bar pieces. Blend well.

Pour into prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until set.

Serve warm


Hope Cusick has won awards at the North Carolina Strawberry Festival in 2012; The North Carolina Blueberry Festival, winning first place for her Blueberry Cheese Danish Pastry in 2012, and placing on her blueberry spinach salad and dressing; and has won various other contest awards for her blueberry cheesecake, breads, cookies, brownies and jams. She resides in Hampstead.