Running for the Roses Weekend Special, Mint Juleps & More

roses_02The Kentucky Derby is this weekend. Whether you are a horseracing fan or not, the Derby is as good an excuse as any to celebrate spring. Particularly if you love hats! First, a timing detail … coverage of the Derby and hats will be on-going from late afternoon. The race runs at 6:24. Nicknamed the fastest two minutes in sport, don’t be late.

Before, during and after the race, enjoy Mint Juleps and some delicious savory and sweet treats. You might want to start with a platter or two. A plate of beautiful cheeses is always welcome. Add some fresh fruit (strawberries are abundant and cheap in my local supermarket.), slices of dried sausage or prosciutto and a few nuts. And/or let your friends help themselves to fresh vegetables and pita chips with White Bean Hummus or Roasted Red Pepper & Walnut Dip.

Now, what to pass? How about mini-Latkes with a dab of sour cream, a sliver of smoked salmon and a bit of caviar. Some shrimp would be delicious. For a bit of a change, try them Roasting the Shrimp and serve them with Tarragon Aioli. For beef lovers you can’t go wrong with Crostini with Beef Tenderloin & Stilton. Two more traditional favorites, Tartelettes au Fromage avec Saucisse et Poireaux (Cheese Tartlets with Sausage & Leeks) and Greek Stuffed Mushrooms are also great choices.

Finish the evening (and send the signal that it’s time to go home) with something sweet. Lemon-Lime Squares are a spring-y choice. Then again, have you ever meet a Brownie you didn’t like? If the weather stays dry, wow your guests with Almond Macarons with Chocolate-Raspberry Ganache. Wet or dry, my Double Trouble Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes are as delicious as they are beautiful. Can you ever have too much chocolate?

Have a great weekend and bon appétit!

Kentucky Derby Mint Julep
Serves 1

1-2 tablespoons minted simple syrup
Crushed ice
2 ounces bourbon
Garnish: sprig of fresh mint

Put the syrup in a tall glass or silver Julep cup, add about 1 cup crushed ice and the bourbon. Add more ice and a splash of water to almost fill the glass. Stir well and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Minted Simple Syrup
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bunch mint

Put the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, heat over medium until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and continue simmering for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the pan from the heat. Add the mint and steep for 15 minutes. Strain the syrup, cool to room temperature and refrigerate until cold.

Can be prepared ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.

What’s up with you this weekend? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!

© Susan W. Nye, 2015

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