Kentucky Derby Time by Heather with The Junior League of Louisville


Big hats, big horses, big crowds, and big fun! Go big or go home…down the home stretch that is! The Junior League of Louisville is gearing up for the famous Kentucky Derby. With only a few days until the big event, there is much to do. Outfits to put together, events to attend, food to purchase and prepare, a house to clean for out of town guests, and the list goes on and on!

The Junior League of Louisville has just released our 4th cookbook, Bluegrass Gatherings: Entertaining Through the Kentucky Seasons that features menus for entertaining through Derby season and beyond.  Our new cookbook can be purchased online at


In the spirit of the Kentucky Derby, the recipes posted below come from one of our Derby menus. So even though you live in Tampa, I say go big or go home! As they say at the track, “Go baby go!”

Festival Fried Chicken
Serves 4 to 6
1 ½ cups low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon, or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 chicken thighs
4 chicken legs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups panko break crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion  powder
3 cups vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Combine the buttermilk, parsley, tarragon, 1 teaspoon onion powder and 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a bowl and mix well.  Pour into a large sealable plastic bag and add the chicken.  Seal the bag and turn to coat.

Marinate in the refrigerator for 8 to 12 hour turning at least once.  Combine the flour, breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons salt, the black pepper, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon onion powder in a large sealable plastic bag.  Seal the bag and shake to mix.  Remove one piece of chicken from the marinade and allow the excess to drain.  Place the chicken piece in the flour mixture and seal the bag.  Turn the bag to coast the chicken.  Remove the coated chicken to parchment paper.  Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.  Let the coasted chicken stand for 10 to 15 minutes.  Coat each piece of chicken in the flour mixture again and return to the parchment paper.

Pour the oil into 2 heavy skillets to a depth of 3 to 4 inches.  Heat the oil to 350 degrees.  Add 4 pieces of chicken to each skillet and fry for 15 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and fry for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Keep the oil at 350 degrees during frying.  Remove the chicken to a wire rack and immediately season and salt to taste.


Triple Crown Pie Shooters
Serves 24

1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons Kentucky bourbon or water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup shortbread cookies, crumbled
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 cup (6 ounces) mini chocolate chips
1 (7-ounce) can refrigerated whipped cream
Additional finely chopped pecans and miniature chocolate chips for garnish

Whisk the sugar, flour and cornstarch in a bow.  Whisk in the eggs, butter, bourbon and vanilla until smooth.  Pour into a saucepan or skillet.  Cook until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly.  (If batter cools completely or becomes too thick, cook over low heat, adding 1 teaspoon of water at a time and stirring until the mixture warms and thins.)

Layer 2 teaspoons of the crumbled cookies, 1 teaspoon of the pecans and 1 teaspoon of the chocolate chips in each of 24 (2-ounce) shot glasses.  Top each with 2 teaspoons of the custard, 1 teaspoon of the pecans and 1 teaspoon of the chocolate chips.  Top each with a dollop of whipped cream.  Garnish with additional pecans and chocolate chips.

Arrange the shooters on a serving tray and insert a miniature tasting spoon into each shooter.


My Old Kentucky Home

(traditionally sung at the Kentucky Derby)

The sun shines bright on my old Kentucky home
Tis summer, the darkies are gay
The corn top’s ripe and the meadow’s in bloom
While the birds make music all the day
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor
All merry, all happy and bright
By ‘n by hard times come a-knocking at the door
Then my old Kentucky home good night

Weep no more, my lady
Oh, weep no more, today
We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home
For the old Kentucky home far away.

They hunt no more for the ‘possum and the coon,
On meadow, the hill and the shore,
They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
On the bench by that old cabin door.
The day goes by like a shadow o’er the heart,
With sorrow where all was delight.
The time has come when the darkies have to part,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night.

The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the poor folks may go
A few more days and the trouble will end,
In the field where sugar-canes may grow.
A few more days for to tote the weary load,
No matter, ’twill never be light
A few more days till we totter on the road,
Then my old Kentucky home, good night.


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