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‘What’s Cookin’ With Star Connor: Welcome to the Kentucky Derby

‘What’s Cookin’ Host, Star Connor was in the kitchen with Katie Wolf. The two ladies whipped up a delious spread of Kentucky Derby traditions in honor of the Kentucky Derby this weekend.

Get ready for some delightful ideas, if you’re hosting a Derby party, or just hosting a party in general.

Recipes Below:

Benedictine Cheese:

1 medium cucumber; peeled and seeded

2 8 oz. packages of cream cheese

1 small onion, peeled

Pinch of garlic salt

Dash of Tabasco sauce

Dash of Worcestershire sauce


2 drops green food coloring

Puree cucumber and onion in food processor. Strain pulp from juice a set aside. Blend cream cheese, pulp from cucumber and onion until smooth and creamy. Add just a pinch of garlic salt and dash of Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce (season lightly so you do not overpower the cucumber flavor). Add a tablespoon of Mayonnaise and ¼ teaspoon or less of remaining juice from the cucumber and onion to get a creamy, spreadable consistency. Delicious as spread for finger sandwiches on trimmed white or rye bread, or as a dip with pretzels.


Mint Julep:

1 c. sugar

1 c. water

1 ½ c. mint leaves

Shaved or crushed ice

100 proof Kentucky bourbon

Mint Sprigs

A day in advance, chop mint leaves and stems. Make simple syrup by dissolving one cup of sugar in one cup of water in a small heavy pot on the stove. When syrup comes to a boil, add chopped mint leaves and stems. Remove from heat and set aside until mixture is room temperature. Strain and reserve liquid; refrigerate until next day. Chill Mint Julep cups a few hours in advance. Fill with crushed ice, add 2 tablespoons of mint-flavored simple syrup, 1 jigger of Kentucky bourbon, lightly stir, add a fresh sprig of mint and serve immediately, and ideally while there still a slight frost on the side of the cup!


Kentucky Burgoo 

4 chicken thighs and legs with skin and bones
2 lbs. beef chuck roast with bone

2 lbs. pork shoulder with bone

1 ½ lbs. lamb shoulder with bone

1 ham bone

Place all meats in a large pot, cover with water and season with salt and pepper. Cook until meat is tender and stringy, about two hours. Remove meat from bones and return to broth.


½ bunch celery, chopped

½ lb. carrots, chopped

1 ½ lbs. green beans, chopped

2 green peppers, chopped

3 med. onions, chopped

6 med. potatoes, chopped

½ head of cabbage, shredded

16 oz. bag of frozen peas

16 oz. bag of frozen sliced okra

16 oz. bag frozen corn

16 oz. bag of frozen lima beans

15 oz. can tomatoes

15 oz. can of tomatoes puree

1 tbsp. dried red pepper flakes

¾ c. Kentucky Bourbon

½ c. parsley

1 tsp. of ground cloves

Salt and pepper

Add Tabasco, Worcestershire and/or Steak Sauce to taste.

Cook until all vegetables are tender and seasoned. Simmer for 4-6 hours for a thicker broth.
Serve in mugs with fresh corn bread.


Bibb Lettuce Salad 

3 heads of Bibb lettuce

1 small red onion

1 can mandarin oranges, drained

Poppy seed dressing

1/3 c. roasted pecans

Wash lettuce leaves in cold water and dry. Thinly slice onion and separate into rings. Arrange lettuce leaves, onion rings, and mandarin orange slices on a serving platter. Drizzle sparingly with Poppy seed dressing and top with roasted pecans. Makes six servings.

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/3 c. honey

2 tbsp. vinegar

1 tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate

1 tbsp. prepared mustard

1 tsp. salt

¾ c. canola oil

1 tsp. poppy seeds

In a bowl, combine honey, vinegar, orange juice concentrate, mustard and salt. Gradually add oil whisking until well blended. Stir in poppy seeds. Makes 1 ¼ cups.


Kentucky Chocolate Bourbon Balls 

½ cup softened butter

16-ounce package of confectioner’s sugar

¼ cup bourbon

1 cup chopped pecans

Four 1-ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate

Four 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate

Pecan halves

Cream butter and gradually add sugar, beating well at medium speed. Add Bourbon; beat until smooth. Stir in chopped pecans. Chill and shape into 1-inch balls. Cover and chill for 8 hours. In a double boiler over boiling water, combine all squares of chocolate. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, until chocolate melts. Using a toothpick, pierce each ball and dip in chocolate. Place on waxed paper. Gently press a pecan half on top of each ball. Chill until chocolate hardens. Makes about 48 candies.


Run for the Roses Pie 

1 cup of sugar

½ cup of flour

½ cup melted butter

2 slightly beaten eggs

¾ cup chopped pecans

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. bourbon

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Combine sugar and flour in a mixing bowl; mix in butter. Add eggs, nuts, chocolate chips, vanilla and bourbon; mix well. Pour into pie shell. Place on a baking sheet and bake in preheated 325˚ oven for 55 minutes until top is golden brown. Slice cold or at room temperature and then slightly warm each piece before serving. (Tastes wonderful with a dollop of whipped sweet cream or vanilla ice cream on top.)


Strawberries Dipped in Dark Chocolate 

2 pints of Strawberries

8 oz. semi sweet or dark chocolate

Rinse strawberries, leaving stems attached. Dry carefully and thoroughly on paper towels since chocolate will not stick to wet berries. Set aside. Melt chocolate in top of double boiler over boiling water. Grasp strawberries by the stems; dip into melted chocolate and place on a wire rack sprayed with vegetable oil. Chill until firm. Serve within 8 hours. Makes 36 to 48.