After 40-plus years at the Herald-Leader, I am retiring at the end of August.
For about 35 of those years, I have written about restaurants, home cooks, caterers, up-and- coming chefs, new products and food trends.
I have shared with readers more recipes than I can count.
One of the most popular columns I wrote during those years featured profiles of home cooks as well as professional chefs and caterers. For a while in the 1980s, we ran recipes from our readers weekly. Many of those recipes have become family favorites and treasured by cooks throughout the area.
This cookbook takes a look back at my 40-plus years, and includes our best recipes. Perhaps you’ll recognize a recipe or a picture or two.
Many more recipes are posted on my blog, Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.
When I retire, so will the recipe section. Our food coverage will focus more on restaurants and trends and food news. This change is taking place for a variety of reasons. Many of today’s young cooks rely on ready-made dishes picked up at the supermarket or restaurant carry-out. For those who cook at home, the Internet provides easy access to great recipes on places such as Pinterest and Food Network, and there are blogs that cover every food topic.
I hope you enjoy this book as much as I’ve enjoyed going back through my stories from these past 40 years and remembering many of the people — and their food — who have made my job so rewarding.
We didn’t have enough space to print all our favorite recipes in this cookbook, so here are a few extras.
Enza Morris, who owned Enza’s Italian Food, used recipes she learned as a child in Naples, Italy and recipes and from her mother and grandmother.
Almond cream cake
10 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
Grated rinds of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 ¼ cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 4 cake pans (10 inches by 2 1/2 inches deep). Separate eggs (at room temperature) into 2 large bowls. Beat the egg whites and add salt. Continue to beat eggs and add 1 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stop beating when whites make stiff peaks. Beat egg yolks gradually add the rest of the sugar. Then add lemon extract and lemon and orange peelings. Beat until yolks are thick and creamy. Add 1/3 of the whites into the yolks. Pour egg white and yolk mixture into the rest of the egg whites and fold in carefully.
Sift flour with cream of tartar. Do this 3 times, then fold into eggs. This is a slow process. Stir well. Pour dough in buttered and floured pans. Bake the batter for 25 minutes. Test with a cake tester. When it comes out clean and the tops are toasty, the cakes are done. Let cool before removing from pan. Frost with almond chocolate cream.
Almond chocolate cream
5 to 6 ounces slivered almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
2 cups confectioners sugar
3 egg yolks
¾ cup grated semi-sweet chocolate
½ cup cold very strong coffee
Sprinkle each cake layer with 1/4 cup rum. Spread frosting between layers and on top and side of the cake.
In the early 90’s, we ran a series of profiles on outstanding cooks in the Bluegrass. Great Cooks were nominated by our readers.
Kathleen Fox of Lexington was an expert pie baker who won ribbons at the Fourth of July apple pie contests. A favorite dessert her friends and family requested was chocolate Italian cream cake.
Chocolate Italian cream cake
1 box butter fudge cake mix
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
Prepare cake mix according to instructions on box. Add pecans, sour cream and coconut. Divide batter into 3 9-inch cake pans. Bake as directed on box. Cool cake completely and frost with cream cheese icing.
Cream cheese icing
1 1/2 sticks butter, at room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese
1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Frost cake and pat pecans on the sides of the cake. Place chocolate curls on top, if desired.
David Gaillard was pastry chef at Le Matin Bakery in Chevy Chase in 1985. He worked as pastry chef at Relais et Chateau Hotels and also at restaurants in Italy, West Germany, Belgium and other European countries.
2 ounces butter
6 ounces sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Mix ingredients and pour into saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Take off heat when mixture is thick. Pour into baked tart shell and refrigerate until set. Garnish with fresh lemon slices.
Pat Pugh grew up in New Orleans and learned the basics of Cajun-Creole cooking from her mother. Mardi gras pudding is a popular dish served in New Orleans and it features the three Mardi Gras colors, purple, green and gold.
Mardi gras pudding
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 drops yellow food coloring
1 loaf (16 ounces) pound cake
1/3 cup sherry
1/3 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups cream, whipped
2 1/2-ounce package sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons rum
2 teaspoons sugar
Mix first four ingredients in order listed. Cook in top of double boiler until thick. Cool and add vanilla and food coloring. Slice cake and place layer in bottom of casserole dish. Mix sherry, bourbon and spinkle about 1/2 of it over single layer of cake. Add 1/2 of the custard. Spread with part of whipped cream, which has been flavored with rum and 2 teaspoons sugar. Sprinkle with almonds. Cover casserole and chill for 24 hours. Garnish with any waxy green leaves and crystallized violets. Serves 12.
During the holidays, Alice Tilghman of Versailles would bake an orange-coconut cake. In 1990, she said she had been making the cake for more than 40 years.
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons orange flavoring
2 3/4 cups sifted flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 cup flaked coconut
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Add orange flavoring. Add flour with baking powder in 4 additions, alternating with the milk. (Start with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture.) Beat well. Fold in 1/4 cup coconut.
Put in 2 greased cake pans. Line bottom with waxed paper. Do not grease sides of pan. Cut through batter with a knife and tap on top of counter to remove bubbles. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until it tests done.
1 stick butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup half-and-half or evaporated milk
1 teaspoon orange flavoring
1 pound powdered sugar
Place butter in saucepan over medium heat and melt. Add sugar, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Mixture will be foamy. Add half-and-half or milk while continuing to stir for 5 minutes. Remove and cool until bottom of pan feels cool. Add 1 teaspoon flavoring and just enough powdered sugar to get the consistency you desire. Cover with coconut.
In 1995, when Christopher Reinhardt was a senior at Lafayette High School. He was guest chef at The Rosebud Restaurant, 121 North Mill Street. Christopher said he often decided what he would cook while wandering the aisles at the grocery store.
Sauteed shrimp over fettuccine
4 to 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Lawry’s garlic pepper
1 teaspoon Lawry’s lemon pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
6 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
Combine olive oil, garlic pepper, lemon pepper and parsley. Pour over shrimp and marinate 20 minutes. Place 2 tablespoons olive oil in skillet and add scallions. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into skillet and add shrimp. Cook until shrimp are done, about 3 to 5 minutes.
In 1984, George Povey was the cook at the former Florence Crittenton Home on West Fourth Street. Here is one of Povey’s favorite recipes
3 pounds ground beef
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cans (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 ounce chili powder
2 medium onions
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
Brown ground beef with celery and onions. Drain. Combine ground beef mixture with remaining ingredients, and simmer for several hours.