Archive for August, 2008

Quick Take recipes

For all the Quick Take recipes that appear in Sunday’s a la carte section, click here.

What’s cooking on TV

Here’s the Quick Take recipe I prepared Friday on WKYT-TV’s 27 Newsfirst at Noon. My cooking segment airs between 12:35 and 12:40 p.m. Fridays on WKYT, then becomes available on at 1 p.m.

Last-minute lasagna
26-ounce jar pasta sauce
1 bag (18 or 20 ounces) refrigerated or frozen large cheese ravioli
1 box (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon a thin layer of sauce over the ­bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Cover with a single layer of ravioli. (Thaw if frozen.) Top with half the spinach, half the ­mozzarella and half the ­remaining sauce. Repeat with another layer of ravioli and the ­remaining spinach, mozzarella and sauce. Sprinkle with ­Parmesan. ­Cover with foil and bake for 30 ­minutes. Uncover and bake until ­bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes more.

Back on my toes

Last week I had minor surgery on a couple of toes, which made for the most wonderful vacation I have ever had.

Three days of sleeping, reading a novel, sitting on the back porch – and being waited on.

On the fourth day, I was maneuvering crutches like a pro. Bob decided we should go out for a real breakfast. We drove to Kathy’s Country Kitchen in Clay City, and instead of heading back home we decided to take a leisurely drive through the area.

We stopped at a roadside stand and bought local vegetables and a couple of fried apple pies, made by a lady at the farmer’s church. On up the road we stopped at Townsend’s Sorghum Mill and market. We bought honey and sorghum, and small gala apples.

We left home for a hearty country breakfast and came home with ingredients for several meals.

What’s cookin’ around town

It’s a busy holiday ­weekend, but take time to make reservations for The Bash next weekend.
Benefiting Cardinal Hill ­Rehabilitation Hospital, the party, at 6 p.m. Sept. 5, will be at the Round Barn at The Red Mile, hosted by University of Kentucky football coach Rich Brooks and his wife, Karen.

There will be bourbons from Bulleit, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Maker’s Mark and Four Roses distilleries, plus wine from Elk Creek Vineyards, and an hors d’oeuvres menu of vegetables with Kentucky beer cheese, spinach and artichoke dip, mini country ham biscuits, smoked pork loin with bourbon glaze, jambalaya cups, corn pudding, tomato cheese torte, Fontina cheese and shrimp grits, New Orleans bread pudding with bourbon sauce, and chocolate chip cookies.

Tickets are $60 each or $750 for a reserved table for eight. Call Trish Roberts Hatler at (859) 254-5701, Ext. 5603.

Each course sounds delicious
Wingspan Gallery, 191 Jefferson Street, will serve a four-course dinner Sept. 4 with corn and tomato chowder, mixed greens with spring onions and toasted almonds, pork chops seared with star anise and plums, creamed potatoes and seasonal vegetables, and caramelized pineapple with ginger and crème Anglaise. The cost is $40. Call (859) 225-5765 or go to

More fun with karoake
Winchell’s, 348 Southland Drive, is ­having its third annual karaoke party at 9 p.m. Aug. 29 to benefit the Leukemia and ­Lymphoma Society. Call (859) 278-9424 or go to

Three Suns lightens it up at the bar

Three Suns Bistro, 298 East Brannon Road, in Brannon Crossing, has ­lighter fare on its bar menu: home-fried potato chips with blue cheese French onion dip; beer cheese with pita chips; mini bison, Italian sausage and beef burgers; and Cuban and muffaletta ­sandwiches. Call (859) 245-0048.

Varden’s turns 2 with a party

Varden’s Cafe, 509 Main Street in Paris, is celebrating its second birthday with wine and hors d’oeuvres 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30. Call (859) 987-4700.

Jean Farris adds autumn to its menu
Jean Farris Winery & Bistro, 6825 Old Richmond Road, has a new menu for harvest season. House favorite pan-seared filet ­mignon has received a ­makeover, served with a savory blue cheese and shallot bread pudding and grilled local squash. New dinner items are prickly pear-glazed seared duck breast, and a 14-ounce bone-in rib-eye with a petite syrah demi-glaze. The lunch menu has grilled beef kebab, four-cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon, and chicken pot pie. Desserts are angel food cake topped with a spicy ­cayenne and cinnamon chocolate mousse, and raspberry truffle cake. Call (859) 263-9463.

The barbecue baron is back
Kansas City Baron of Barbecue Paul Kirk returns to Good Ol’ Days BBQ Farm, 544 Old Frankfort Pike in Midway, for his second barbecue seminar Oct. 11. Call (859) 873-9520 or go to

Farmers market report
This week, Blue Grass Farmers Market will have grass-fed beef, Amish cheese (baby Swiss, white Cheddar, colby, jalapeño Jack), raspberries, rhubarb, melons, beets, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, greens, green beans, okra, peppers, jalapeños, potatoes, summer squash and tomatoes. The market is on Richmond Road in the parking lot of Pedal the Planet Bike Shop and FastSigns. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Pig roast at Azur
Azur Restaurant & Patio in Beaumont Centre is having a pig roast Friday, Aug. 29. Chefs Miguel Rivas and Jeremy Ashby are preparing a Latin menu of suckling pig, paella and arepas. The party begins at 7:30 p.m. Entertainment will be by Alma Gitana. Cost is $35. Call (859) 296-1007 or go to

Tailgaters: Take a salad to Louisville

Sunday’s the big day when the University of Kentucky Wildcats take on the University of Louisville Cardinals. The game will be played in Louisville, and many Lexington fans will move their tailgating operations to Papa John’s Stadium.
The weather will be hot and the menu should include something refreshing like a main dish salad. Pork is a perfect choice for the first game of the season. Here are two dishes that will offer fans a delightful pre-game meal. The grilling can be done at the stadium on a portable grill, or cooked the night before.

Caribbean pork and couscous salad

Caribbean pork and couscous salad

Caribbean pork and couscous salad
2 boneless pork chops, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 tablespoon Caribbean-style rub
1 10-oz. package couscous
2 cups boiling water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cherries
4 green onions, sliced
2 oranges, peeled and sliced
1 medium cucumber, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

In plastic bag, shake together the pork cubes and Caribbean rub to evenly coat the pork. Skewer pork and grill over medium-hot fire for 8 minutes, turning occasionally to brown evenly.
Meanwhile, in large bowl combine couscous and boiling water and 1/2 teaspoon salt; let sit 5 minutes. Stir cherries and green onions into couscous. Arrange cucumber slices around the edge of four dinner plates; equally portion couscous mixture onto plates; topping with orange slices and pork cubes.
Stir together oil, orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar; season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salads and garnish each salad with some chopped pecans. Makes 4 servings.

To make a Caribbean rub, combine 4 teaspoons ground allspice, 1 tablespoon each dried thyme and paprika, 1 teaspoon each cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Ham salad with hot peanut dressing

Ham salad with hot peanut dressing

Ham salad with hot peanut dressing
3/4 pound boneless ham, sliced into 1/2-inch strips
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon sugar
1 medium cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
6 cups romaine or curly endive, torn
1 head radicchio or Boston lettuce
1 bunch watercress
1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
Roasted peanuts (optional)

In medium saucepan combine oil, peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and sugar. Over low heat stir to dissolve sugar and heat through.
In large bowl toss together cucumber, onion, romaine or endive, and watercress. Line plates with radicchio, top with tossed vegetables, ham and orange sections. Drizzle with dressing. Sprinkle with roasted peanuts, if desired. Makes 6 servings.

Use variety of different lettuce greens and sprinkle with roasted nuts for an added crunch. This entrée salad needs only hot bread or breadsticks to complete the menu.

Source: National Pork Board,

Here’s what’s cooking on TV

Here’s the Quick Take recipe I prepared Friday on WKYT-TV’s 27 Newsfirst at Noon. My cooking segment airs between 12:35 and 12:40 p.m. Fridays on WKYT, then becomes available on at 1 p.m.

Pesto chicken breasts
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
1 jar prepared pesto
Extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the grill with all the burners on high for 10 minutes with the lid down. While the grill is preheating, wash the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Lift the skin from one end of a breast; using your fingers, separate the skin from the breast meat, but do not remove it. Spread a tablespoon or so of the pesto in an even layer between the skin and the meat. Repeat with the remaining breasts and pesto. Rub the surface of the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.

Once the grill is hot, turn off the center burner and turn the other burners to medium. Place the chicken, skin side up, over the center burner, close the lid, and cook until opaque all the way through but still juicy, 25 to 35 minutes, turning pieces every 15 minutes. Serve hot off the grill. Makes 4 servings.

From New Gas Grill Gourmet by A. Cort Sinnes.

Fresh Market has wild-caught shrimp

The Fresh Market, at the Lansdowne Shoppes on Tates Creek Road, is supporting local fishermen in seven coastal states by selling American shrimp for a limited time.

About 85 percent of all shrimp consumed in the United States is farm-raised overseas. Wild shrimp from American waters are caught in their natural habitat and are available in three varieties: red, white, and pink. Fresh Market has red and white varieties.

  • Red shrimp are considered the softest and sweetest of the shrimp species, and are similar to snow crab or lobster.
  • White shrimp are caught in brackish estuaries and are mild in flavor, yet slightly salty in taste. Their firm texture makes them the ideal for appetizers such as shrimp cocktail or perfect for a peel-and-eat main course.
  • Pink shrimp are found over white sand in the crystal clear waters of Florida and the Gulf Coast. Their delicate, sweet flavor and medium texture make them a perfect choice for sauces or for traditional low country shrimp and grits.

Here are two Fresh Market recipes:

Rosemary shrimp skewers with lemon garlic pesto
Lemon garlic pesto:
½ cup pine nuts
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice and zest of 2 lemons
½ cup olive oil
Shrimp skewers:
2 pounds (16-20 ct) shrimp
1/8 cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
8 rosemary sprigs, leaves removed

Pulse all pesto ingredients in a food processor until they form a paste. Remove and set aside. Peel and devein shrimp, and place in a single layer in a baking dish. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon juice and thyme; pour over shrimp. Set aside for 30 minutes. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates to prevent sticking. Skewer shrimp onto rosemary sprigs and grill for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until pink. Arrange skewers on a serving platter and serve with Lemon Garlic Pesto. Makes 8 servings.

Baked blue cheese & lime shrimp
2 pounds (16-20 ct) shrimp
Juice of 2 limes
1 stick unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
2 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
½ tablespoon hot sauce
(14 ounce) box brown rice
Paprika, to taste
Fresh parsley, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and devein shrimp and place in a single layer in a 9×13-inch baking dish; drizzle lime juice evenly over shrimp and set aside. In a 4-quart pot over high heat, melt butter; add cream and bring to a boil. Add cream cheese, blue cheese and hot sauce, whisking until smooth. Pour cheese mixture over shrimp and bake for 20 minutes in preheated oven. Meanwhile, cook rice according to directions on package; set aside and keep warm. Serve shrimp and cheese sauce over cooked rice; garnish with paprika and parsley. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

From 25th Anniversary The Fresh Market & Friends Cookbook. For more ideas on ways to prepare shrimp, visit the recipe section on The Fresh Market website at

Here’s what cooking on TV

Here’s the Quick Take recipe I prepared Friday on WKYT-TV’s 27 Newsfirst at Noon. My cooking segment airs between 12:35 and 12:40 p.m. Fridays on WKYT, then becomes available on at 1 p.m.

Turkey burgers with fresh salsa
12 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup cooked fresh corn, or thawed frozen corn kernels
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon creole spice mix
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

To make the salsa: Toss tomatoes with salt, and drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Combine tomatoes, corn, lime juice, garlic, cilantro and olive oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well.

To prepare the burgers: Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix gently with hands and form into 4 burgers. Grill burgers over medium heat or cook in non-stick skillet 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees). Top with salsa.

There’s such beauty in a jar of blackberry jam

The desire to eat locally grown produce and escalating food prices have inspired home cooks to return to food preservation.
I’ve been canning and making jam for decades, and every summer I’m still amazed at the joy I get when the lids pop and I arrange the jars on the table so I can admire them for days.
Last night, my daughter Sarah asked if I would help her make jam from the blackberries her grandmother-in-law Cora Holleran had given her. Sarah and her husband Billy were freezing corn from their garden, so I decided I would take the berries to my kitchen to cook.
I made 18 half-pints and when I went outside to move the car into the garage, my neighbors John and Carla were walking their dog Reesey. Before I asked how they were, I told them about my jam. The only problem – I didn’t offer them a jar. As soon as I make jam I want to share it with everyone I know.

But Carla and John will have to wait until Christmas to get one of our little treasures.
Many people can tomatoes to preserve that wonderful fresh summer taste, but instead of canning I choose to roast the tomatoes and freeze them. Right now, if I have slices of tomatoes leftover from dinner, I put them on a cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, sea salt, garlic-pepper blend and a few basil leaves. After they’ve roasted for about an hour at 250 degrees, I spoon them in a storage bag or container and place them in the freezer.
During the winter when I make chili, soup or pasta, I will spoon a tablespoon of the roasted tomatoes into the mixture and even a small amount gives the dish intense tomato flavor.

Because many people might be canning for the first time this summer, it is important to know how to properly and safely preserve foods. Improper canning can lead to a variety of problems, including food-borne illness. Canners should use recipes approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and proper canning equipment. Your local Extension Agent can help.

Church celebration promises good eats

New Zion Day and Basket Meeting will celebrate 140 years of African-American history with a street fair ­featuring home-cooked foods at 2 p.m. August 23.

The menu includes country fried fish, ribs, barbecue pork, Chicago smoked links, country ham sandwiches, homemade pies and cakes, green tomato relish, chow-chow, smoked turkey wings and legs, tacos, fresh corn and peaches. Arts and crafts vendors also will be at New Zion United Methodist Church, 5056 Newtown Pike.
Call Willa Relford Gentry, (859) 619-3738.

Its Times has come
In a New York Times ­article ­earlier this month, Florence ­Fabricant’s Food Stuff column ­featured Porchetta Primata’s ­Kentucky pork product.

Porchetta is a boneless pork roast prepared in the Italian tradition. “The traditional porchetta cannot be imported, so the only way to sell it in the U.S. is to manufacture it here,” Porchetta Primata director Nathan Marcus said.

Porchetta Primata’s product comes from hybrid pigs that are a cross between Duroc and ­Yorkshire breeds and are raised by Alan Franks in Todd County. The pork is processed by Hampton Meats in Hopkinsville.

The pigs are slaughtered when they are 95 to 200 pounds; ­commercial pigs usually are 300 pounds. The meat is deboned by hand, then rolled with seasonings, tied and roasted.

Porchetta Primata has partnered with the Franks family to supply all-natural, antibiotic- and hormone-free pigs for making porchetta. Visit

A contest winner

Michael Garahan

Michael Garahan

Michael Garahan, culinary arts ­instructor at Carl D. Perkins Job Corps in Prestonsburg, is the Kentucky winner of the U.S. ­Potato Board’s 50 States of ­Potatoes recipe contest. Here’s his recipe for Bluegrass potatoes risotto style with bourbon sauce.

Bluegrass potatoes risotto style with bourbon sauce

1 dry quart Kentucky white new potatoes (unpeeled)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup onions, minced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon chicken stock
1 tablespoon Kentucky Bourbon
2 pinches yellow cornmeal
4 whole chives

Rinse potatoes, then using the small side of a parisienne scoop, cut the potatoes into about 36 balls. Reserve trimmings for another use.

In a 2 3/4 quart saucepan heat the olive oil and add the onions, cook until translucent.Add the garlic and cook until you have the aroma. Add the potatoes and coat with the onions and garlic. Season with the salt and pepper.

Stir in 1/3 cup chicken stock and reduce till dry about 4 to 7 minutes depending on your burner, repeat twice. Check doneness with toothpick.Transfer to 2 ramekins and press in lightly, keep warm. Deglaze pan with bourbon and flame. Finish sauce with remaining 1 tablespoon of chicken stock. Pour sauce onto 2 5-inch plates. Invert potatoes onto sauce. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Garnish each with 2 chives.

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