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Benedictine, a short history and the original recipe.

History:

temp[Benedictine or Benedictine Spread is a condiment made with cucumbers, onions and cream cheese. It is used to make cucumber sandwiches and was invented around the turn of the 20th century by Jennie Carter Benedict, a caterer and restaurateur in Louisville, Kentucky. Benedict opened her restaurant in 1893. It was there that she invented and originally served benedictine. Originally used for sandwiches, benedictine has in recent years been used as a dip for chips and filling for potatoes.

“Louisvillians quiz guests and younger family members on the origin of Benedictine. The famous cucumber spread was, of course, created by one of our city’s most famous residents, Jennie C. Benedict. Setting the highest of culinary standards, “Miss Jennie” was also a successful businesswoman, a writer who for a time served as editor of The Courier-Journal’s Household section, and an important community volunteer.

The University Press of Kentucky has republished Jennie Benedict’s The Blue Ribbon Cook Book, from the fourth edition, 1922.” Susan Reigler, former restaurant critic and travel editor of The C-J, has written the Introduction, and for the first time the recipe for Benedictine Spread is published. The wonder is that it was never included in the other five editions, or in Benedict’s autobiography. Maybe she considered her recipe as secret as Colonel Sanders did his herbs and spices for chicken.

Reigler writes lovingly of her own youth when young ladies wore white gloves and munched cream cheese-and-nut sandwiches, based on Benedict’s concoction, in the restaurant of the old Stewart’s Dry Goods department store. She recounts the influence of recipes on today’s restaurants and home cooks as well.

A close variation of Miss Jennie’s “Stuffed Eggplant” has been on the menu of Simpsonville’s Old Stone Inn for many years. Louisville’s Kathy Cary at Lilly’s serves her own version of Benedictine, as do Chef Matt Weber at the Uptown Café, and Ouita Michel at Holly Hill Inn in Midway. Holly Hill’s sous-chef, Lisa Laufer, supplies her recipe for this book.

Reigler gives an interesting picture of the woman who, in 1893, started a catering business from her home. Benedict soon began defining Louisville’s tastes as she catered parties and weddings of its most prominent citizens and fed the middle class in her tearooms.

Miss Jennie’s menus became musts for Derby Day celebrations. Through the decades her cookbook remains popular. Reigler says, “I had many, many calls from readers trying to locate a copy. …”

The Blue Ribbon Cook Book contains a Glossary that is a cooking lesson in itself. The large sections on “Entrees” and “Desserts” are complemented by interesting advice in “Sick Room Cookery,” and practical kitchen tricks.

Probably the most intriguing recipe of all is that which keeps Miss Jennie’s name on Louisville lips. Here is the version supplied by cookbook author and former Courier-Journal food editor Ronni Lundy. It is the one that Jennie C. Benedict would most likely have included in her book:

Benedictine spread

· 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
· 3 tablespoons cucumber juice
· 1 tablespoon onion juice
· 1 teaspoon salt
· a few grains of cayenne pepper
· 2 drops green food coloring

To get the juice, peel and grate a cucumber, then wrap in a clean dish towel and squeeze juice into a dish. Discard pulp. Do the same for the onion. Mix all ingredients with a fork until well blended. Using a blender will make the spread too runny.”

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(Above) The interior of Jennie Benedict’s restaurant at 554 S. Fourth Street in downtown Louisville. The establishment opened in 1900 and was sold in 1925 for $50,000. Benedict was trained in New York by Fanny Farmer.

Weekend Edition Saturday Transcript:

temp[Cream cheese, cucumber juice and a touch of onion. That may sound like an unlikely combination, but Benedictine is a Kentucky favorite. Gwynne Potts, a self-proclaimed aficionado, says it’s delicious.

“The best thing to eat Benedictine on is just white bread,” Potts says. “No special bread; it only takes away from the Benedictine.”

Potts, who grew up in Louisville, Ky., has been enjoying the creamy combo for six decades. And for the first 18 years of her life, she says, Benedictine was like ketchup. She assumed it was eaten everywhere until, as a college student, she took a spring break trip to Florida.

“We couldn’t imagine having lunch without Benedictine,” Potts says. “We went from store to store, saying, ‘Where’s your Benedictine?’ And they just looked at us. It was the first time I realized the whole world didn’t know about Benedictine.”

Years later, that’s still pretty much the case. But this creamy, cool cucumber spread has persisted in Kentucky ever since Jennie Benedict, a famous Louisville caterer, invented it around the turn of the 20th century.

Benedict opened a tearoom on downtown Louisville’s South Fourth Street in 1911. Back then, that was the city’s bustling commercial center, packed with stores, cafes, theaters and hotels. Today, it’s a few boutiques and several wig shops.

Susan Reigler, a former restaurant critic for Louisville’s newspaper, The Courier-Journal, wrote the introduction to the re-release of Benedict’s Blue Ribbon Cook Book in 2008. Reigler says Benedict’s role in the city’s culinary history was huge and that the roots of many of the city’s flavors can be traced back to her recipes.

Of course, some of Benedict’s concoctions have fallen out of favor — like calf brains and peptonized oysters for the sick. But Reigler says Benedictine has endured.

“I think it’s just very different. It’s very refreshing. It’s a light spread,” she says. “What could be more light and delicate than cucumber juice?”

temp[One source of contention among Louisville chefs is whether to include the two drops of green food coloring that Benedict used in her recipe. The dye lets people know that it’s not just a plain cream cheese spread, but the practice is no longer popular with chefs like Kathy Cary, who prefer more natural ingredients. Cary has owned Lilly’s, a restaurant that specializes in Kentucky cuisine, for the past 25 years. For her, the dish is truly a way to showcase both local cucumbers and local traditions.

“Mine is really about … celebrating the cucumbers,” Cary says. “Obviously, no dye, no food coloring. And it’s filled with texture, and sort of the crunch of the cucumbers.”

Some cooks serve Benedictine as a dip, others as tea sandwiches with the crusts cut off. But Cary usually puts hers into a hearty sandwich with homemade mayonnaise, bacon, bibb lettuce and sprouts.

However you serve it, Benedictine is best accompanied with another Kentucky signature: bourbon.

Sources: Wikipedia, NRP.org, The Courier Journal
Compiled By: Josh Martin

 

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Grandmothers Homemade Hamburgers / Cheeseburgers

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Ingredients:
2lbs Ground beef
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt or Tony Cacheres Creole Seasoning
4 tablespoons colgin Liquid Smoke
5 tablespoons Lea & Perkins Worcestershire sauce
2 Packages of hamburger buns
1 Package of Velveeta cheese or thinly sliced cheddar cheese (optional)
2-3 Tomatoes (optional)
1-2 large white onions (optional)

Directions:

1) Combine ground beef, eggs, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, Garlic powder, salt (or Tony Cacheres Creole Seasoning), Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke in a large mixing bowl.

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2) Mix ingredients, by hand; until all of the are ingredients mixed evenly.

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3) Form the meat into 3-4″ patties, by slapping it between your hands.

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4) Once all of your patties are made. Place them closely on to a grill or frying pan, on medium heat. Make sure to flip your patties often and try to lift them with the grill marks grain.

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5) Once the patties show grill marks, are golden brown, and have no more pink meat in the center; you are ready to serve up!
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6) Server with you favorite toppings and Barbecue sides. Personally I like corn on the cob with cold pasta salad as my sides.
20130601-181923.jpgBy: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2013 in recipes, Recipies

 

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Easy Home Made Chicken Pesto

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Ingredients:


2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese (or grated Parmesan)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine walnuts
3 tablespoons minced garlic cloves
2 Chicken Breasts
1 13oz package of pasta
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A handful of spinach leaves

Directions:

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1) Combine spinach and basil with walnuts nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

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2) Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Now put the sauce mixture aside.

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3) Place chicken breasts in a large pot. Pour 2-3 cups of water onto the chicken, until it is submerged. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium.

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4) Once the pot has simmered for 10 minutes, strain off any fat that has rose to the top.

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5) After the chicken is white and floating, place the chicken on a cutting board to cool(always make sure your meat is properly cooked). Bring the water you boiled the chicken in back to a boil.

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6) Begin to boil your pasta. Now that the chicken has cooled some, you can start cutting the chicken breasts into strips.

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7) Once your pasta is tender and strained of water, combine sauce mixture, chicken, and pasta in your large pot. Stir the ingredients together thoroughly.

20130222-125327.jpg8) Server with bread and salad, enjoy!
By: Josh Martin

 

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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Italian Food, recipes, Recipies, Uncategorized

 

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Bold Smothered Pork Chops

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 can french onion soup
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Directions:

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1) Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly.
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2) Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.
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3) Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
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4) Remove the pork chops from the pan and add the rest of the seasoned flour to the pan drippings. Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the French onion soup in. Fill the empty can with water and add to the mixture. Stir to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving. Pour excess sauce over you pork chops.

(typically I serve this with broccoli and Au Gratin)

Enjoy!
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By: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2013 in recipes, Recipies

 

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Homemade Candied Yams (Sweet Potatoes)

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Ingredients:

1 large sweet potato (yam)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

1) Dice sweet potato into medium sized chunks
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2) Place diced sweet potato into a medium sauce pan. Cover the sweet potato with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes.
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3) Remove the sweet potato from the water once it is tender, but still mildly crunchy. Combine sweet potato, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, olive oil and water in a medium sized skillet. Stir and sauté for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat.
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4) Enjoy, once the sugar has caramelized into a thick black sauce and the potato is tender.20121213-122256.jpg
By: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in recipes, Recipies

 

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The Perfect Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 butternut squash
2 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a large serrated bread knife, cut the squash in two. You can use a sawing motion, sea-saw motion, or both to cut clean through.

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2) Use a spoon to remove the seeds. Scrape the the inside until you no longer see “strings”.

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3) Place 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar into each half. Rub the spice mixture onto all of the orange portion of the squash. By the time you are through the spices should look like a brown paste.

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4) Place butter inside each half

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5) Cover tightly with tin foil, bake for 50 minutes.
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20121120-211016.jpgBy: Josh Martin

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in recipes, Recipies

 

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Home Made Pumpkin Pie from Scratch

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Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups pumpkin purée
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup evaporated milk, undiluted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
9-inch pie crust, unbaked

*ingredients can be substituted for 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 400°. Use a sharp serrated bread knife to cut the pumpkin in two. You can use a sawing motion, sea-saw motion or both to cut through.
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2) Use a strong metal spoon to remove the seeds and strings. (Put the seeds aside if you plan to make roasted pumpkin seeds).
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3) Cover both halves with tin foil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 40-50 minutes. Once a fork can penetrate the skin of the pumpkin it’s done
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4) Score the pumpkins skin with a sharp knife, peal off the pumpkins skin (Once cooked through, the skin should peel off easily).
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5) Blend the pumpkin meat in a blender or food processor, until it is practically liquefied. (If you have extra it will keep in the freezer for about six months).
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6) Preheat oven to 425°. Line a 9-inch pie plate with pie pastry, homemade or purchased
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7) In mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves. Add eggs; mix until well blended. Add evaporated milk,and vanilla; mix until smooth and well blended. Pour pumpkin pie mixture into the prepared pastry lined pie plate.

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8) Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake for about 25-30 minutes longer, until the pumpkin filling is set.

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By: Josh Martin

Click here for a brief history of pumpkin pie

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2012 in recipes, Recipies

 

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