If bread pudding is mostly bread, it makes sense that the better your bread, the better the pudding. I usually make my bread pudding with challah, the way Luther liked it best. For this book, I decided to mix things up a little. This recipe uses raisin-cinnamon bread for that hint of spice I love. The big secret, as with all bread pudding, is to use stale bread; otherwise, it will disintegrate in the custard.
The julep is a classic example of a cocktail with history. It is thought to have been created on a horse farm in the late 1700s. Farmwork was very laborious and took a toll on the body. There were no over-the-counter pain relievers at the corner drugstore back then, but there was a lot of whiskey. The whiskeys at that time didn’t taste as good as they do today. So, with the help of a little sugar and mint, the “medicine” went down easier. The muscles would relax and it was then time to get back to work. They called this remedy a “Morning Bracer.” At the end of the day, one would also need an “Evening Bracer.” The cocktail then went on to become a refined drink of the South, now synonymous with the first Saturday in May and the running of the Kentucky Derby.
This is the Kentucky cousin to two cocktails—the Moscow mule and the Dark and Stormy—made popular with ginger beer, which is much spicier than ginger ale. The Moscow mule, traditionally served in a copper mug, is made with vodka, ginger beer, and a squeeze of lime. The Dark and Stormy hails from Bermuda and combines Goslings dark rum, ginger beer, and lime. Our version uses bourbon (of course), which again is the perfect canvas to spotlight the delicious taste of ginger.
These are appropriately yummy morning, noon, and night. Serve them at breakfast, brunch, cocktail hour, or dinner with a homemade aioli, sour cream or hot pepper jelly. You may have your own favorite gristmill for good grits, but we are very partial to Louismill Smoked Yellow Corn City Grits, which lend another nuanced smokiness in addition to the country ham.
Lots of Southern shrimp and grits recipes call for the addition of bacon, but we like the aromatic smell and taste of Louisiana Tasso, a Creole ham that you’ll find as the foundation (along with the Holy Trinity of sautéed onions, peppers, and celery) of any respectable gumbo or jambalaya. This recipe is actually a riff on redeye gravy, an old Southern gravy using coffee and country ham. We serve these to thousands of guests each Derby at Churchill Downs.
Fiddle-dee-dee! Nothing says “Southern” like the combination of peaches, iced tea, and bourbon. All you need is a front porch. The peach brings out the fruitiness of the bourbon and adds a delicate sweetness.
You might be surprised to know that pimento is a vegetable, not a cheese. The pimento is a heart-shaped pepper that made its way to a young United States via Spanish explorers. The largest commercial producer and retailer of pimentos in the United States, Moody Dunbar, was started in East Tennessee by a schoolteacher seeking to supplement his income during the Great Depression. Southerners have always loved this ubiquitous and versatile spread, embracing it as “the pâté of the South.” We add the smokiness of bacon and the satisfying crunch and sweetness of pecans.
A bright and lovely light meal, these pancakes are bursting with spring flavors. Enjoy them with a hefty dose of sunshine if you can.
In this recipe adds Swiss chard, sausage and tender ricotta cheese to a classic bread pudding recipe. Make this the day ahead and pop it in the oven when you get home at day’s end.