Horse Bites: Thurby Pie

There is one must-have dessert you’ll find at every single Derby event: Derby Pie. The “official” Derby Pie (the name is actually copyrighted and they take it very seriously) is made in Louisville by Kern’s Bakery and shipped world-wide. It tastes nice. But my aunt’s recipe is easily twice as yummy! I’ve often been told I look just like her. If my hair starts to go gray should I just do a Marilyn Monroe platinum?? It looked great on Beverly!
I’m going to call it Thurby Pie since last year the Thursday of Derby Week became the official day for locals to go to Churchill Downs. It used to be Oaks Day (Friday), but the celebs gradually realized Oaks Day was just as much fun as Derby. So now they come in a day early, and locals end up on blankets in the infield standing in line for port-a-potties. #ICK!
So locals make a day of it on Thursday, starting with Dawn at the Downs (and I do mean dawn) eating a fabulous buffet breakfast and watching the Oaks and Derby horses work out. It’s fantastic! Spend some time at the Derby Museum until it’s time for the first race and you’re all set! Many local restaurants sell box lunches to take to the track, including Panera (my personal fave).

Thurby Pie Bites:

Use this recipe but bake the pie in a brownie pan or a mini-muffin pan. I used a brownie pan because I was afraid mini-muffins would be too dry, but I may try that next time – it would be much easier!

Either way, bake the pie and let it cool. If you want to prep things early it can cool overnight. If you’re using mini-muffin pans leave out the crust and place a Nilla Wafer flat-side-down in the bottom of each muffin pan and pour batter on top. It will probably take a little less time to cook, so check it frequently.

If you’ve selected the brownie pan method this is when you cut out circles. I just happened to have a cookie cutter the right size. Don’t stress if you don’t. Just place a Nilla Wafer on top and cut around it with a knife. Make sure your circles touch so you get as many Pie Bites as you can out of each batch. Twenty-four is my estimated count for one batch.
My aunt’s recipe is moist enough that leftover pieces can be combined to make more circles. Or you can just eat them. Someone has to taste-test them!
Top them with whipped cream with a bit of Bourbon added. Plain whipped cream is fine too if there are youngsters attending. Or if it’s warm and you’re partying outside leave the whipped cream off completely. If it melts it doesn’t look as appealing. These can be completed and stored in the fridge the day before. Two days before without the whipped cream. What’s not to love?!

If you missed the first Horse Bite (Benedictine) click here!

Pet Peeves

Anyone who knows me well knows about my pet peeves. I’m nearly as OCD as a high school band director, but without as much patience. Here are just my top ten.

  1. Do NOT interrupt anyone else while they are speaking.  My sweet husband is bad about this, so if I’ve been interrupted three times trying to say something important I just leave the room. Someday the house may be on fire, but he won’t realize it because he interrupts me at “The house is. . .” and rambles on for a while.
  2. Poor grammar, spelling, or punctuation. This is unacceptable in this day and age. We have spell check on our PHONES! Please do not put misspelled or grammatically incorrect phrases on your marquee. I will never go there for anything. Ever. Same with emails, internet ads, and flyers.
  3. Don’t assume I’m an idiot because I’m female. I truly didn’t think this still occurred until my husband’s newly-replaced rear window in his convertible shattered the very first time I put it down. Actually, I thought it should have been replaced free of charge since it was clearly mounted too tightly. But no. I called to get an estimate for yet another replacement. The price they quoted ME was TWICE the price they quoted my husband a day or two later.
  4. Don’t give me parenting advice if you aren’t a parent. A former step-brother used to do this when my eldest was about three. He gave me constant suggestions on what I should say or do. My eldest son was in a Ninja Turtles phase and liked to bounce around pretending he was a TMNT. He’s 26 now, and that was about as wild as he ever got. Last time I saw that ex-step-brother he was on my family farm looking for UFOs. Multiple religious sects rejected him. Thankfully, he has never fathered a child.
  5. Never say, “I know how you feel” unless you are in constant pain, are no longer able to practice in your career field, and have watched all your plans, hopes, and dreams dissolve in front of you.
  6. When I’m angry or frustrated do not pat me and say, “Now, now.” One of my father-in-law’s girlfriends (while my dear mother-in-law was still alive) did this the first time I met her. There’s really no coming back from that.
  7. Don’t insult my housekeeping or my pets. One sister-in-law (after I’d kept her dog for a week for free) insisted her husband call to tell us her dog had gotten fleas while at our house. My dogs didn’t have fleas, but I keep them on their flea/tick meds year-round because we have a very large, woodsy back yard. She clearly got over it, since we ended up taking care of the sweet pup every time they left town until he passed away – all for free.  Another sister-in-law called me up the weekend after Thanksgiving to tell me that their family would be unable to attend any gatherings at my home because with my dogs (two chocolate labs at that time) and my poor housekeeping skills her children had horrible allergic reactions. I apologized, and said I hoped to see her at a family gathering somewhere else in the future. Guess what? There was a New Year’s Eve party that year she really wanted to go to, but couldn’t find a baby sitter. They asked if WE could watch their kids overnight. Hmmm, so your children’s health ranks a bit below your social schedule? Or does your need to insult me rank higher than either of those?
  8. Speakerphone. It’s great! I use it so I don’t accidentally hang up on someone because of my tremor. But DO NOT do it professionally or about sensitive family matters when you’re not alone. I can hear that other person, or other people in the background. I don’t want to speak to random people. If I called YOU I want to speak with YOU. Not everyone who happens to be in the room with you. Common courtesy demands that you announce you’re on speaker-phone at the beginning of the conversation.
  9. As a nurse, spouses or adult children speaking FOR the patient. If a doctor or nurse asks the patient a question, they want the patient’s answer first. If you have something to add wait until the patient stops speaking.  And if you’re a spouse, NEVER bring up your own health issues. Talk to your own doctor on your own time (even if you both have the same doctor).
  10. Apathetic salespeople. My nineteen-year-old son told me he appreciates people ‘being real’ while working at a fast-food place, a movie theater, or a restaurant.  I was just stunned. At the very least I expect someone to whom I’m giving my money to smile and say please and thank you. Even on the phone. I know for a fact people can tell if you’re smiling while you’re talking on the phone. Common courtesy should be extended to EVERYONE. Of course my youngest is always terribly embarrassed when I’m walking out of a store with my cane (bad pain day) and hold the door open for some 15yo hoodlum. I yell, “You’re welcome!” with a smile. Most of the time the young man or woman will be embarrassed and say ‘thank you’. But many don’t, and some even mumble obscenities. #sadworldwelivein

What are your pet peeves? Please share, so I don’t feel like such a prissy-pants!

Horse Bites: Benedictine

What’s not a tapas, not an appetizer, but sort of a finger-food served in Kentucky (or anywhere anyone celebrates Derby) on the days leading up to the First Saturday in May? It’s a Horse Bite!

This isn’t so much a recipe as a technique. You’ll need cucumber, pre-cooked bacon, radishes or alfalfa sprouts, and Benedictine cream cheese spread. If you live outside Kentucky you may not be able to find Benedictine. It was named after Jenny Benedict, and here’s a basic recipe. It’s to die for! My mother-in-law made hers from scratch, and her tip was to take your time and make sure all the liquid was gone from the cukes.

First, wash the cucumber and peel off half the skin in alternating stripes. You can cut this step in half by buying an English cucumber (the plastic-wrapped thin-skinned ones). Cut the cuke into about inch-and-a-half slices. Hollow out the seedy middle portion with a small scoop or a tomato/strawberry corer.

Next is bacon. Always the life of the party! I’m lazy, so I buy pre-cooked bacon and microwave it for thirty seconds, then pat dry. If you’re doing a huge number cooking raw bacon in the oven on a broiler pan may be your best bet. Just don’t get it too crispy. It needs to curve to fit a half-strip inside each cucumber chunk.

Fill the hollow with Benedictine. I used a small decorating tool from Pampered Chef, but you can do it any old way – you’re gonna put stuff on top anyway!

The Bacon Benedictine sandwiches I used to make had alfalfa sprouts. Those are hard to come by those days since they easily harbor e-coli. You can get the same little bite of flavor and crispness from thin-sliced radishes, though! And I do like the extra pop of color.

I’m going to be adding more Derby bites over the next week or so. I can hear military aircraft flying over the house as I write this. It’s Thunder Over Louisville this evening, so there are 800,000 people downtown watching the planes and waiting for the fireworks. The Blue Angels give me chills every. single. time.

My best/worst Thunder experience was being on a friend’s parents’ houseboat for Thunder. Aaron (my 26yo) was maybe four or so at the time. It was incredibly beautiful, and we were closer than any boats were ever allowed to go thereafter. Exiting speedboats caused such a number of wakes that our boat’s anchor lifted, and we were involved in a collision. Passing out life-vests and everything. It all worked out OK for the folks on our boat, but I think a speedboat did have two casualties that year. The land and water controls get stricter every year, and the crowds for every Derby event keep climbing. It’s a wonderful or awful time to be in Louisville. . . depending on what you’re doing!

Happy Derby Festival, Y’all!




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