Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook

The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook is my inspiration this week…I purchased this cookbook from the Maker’s Mark distillery back in January. I was driving from Cincinnati to Nashville and decided I needed a relaxing pit stop so wound my way through the backcountry of Kentucky and found the distillery. If you are ever in Kentucky and you enjoy bourbon I suggest you take time for the Bourbon Trail distillery stops, you can get a passport and get a stamp at each of the six distilleries. Unfortunately I was in a rush that day, and didn’t get to complete the tour but have friends who have and really enjoyed it so I plan to complete it someday.

Now a lot of people might confuse whiskey and bourbon or put them in the same category because I did before I went on this tour. The Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide defines the differences as Whiskeys are distilled from a fermented mash of grain (usually corn, rye, barley or wheat) and then aged in oak barrels; Bourbon Whiskey is distilled from a mash of grain containing not less than 51% corn and is normally aged for four years in new charcoal oak barrels. The folks at Whiskey Chat state that the differences in taste are slight but it is a pride thing that bourbon drinkers like bourbon because it is bourbon, same for whiskey. My theory is whatever, drink what you like and if you don’t like it don’t drink it, but that may not be so easy if you are from Bourbon County, KY. In honor of where I purchased the book from I'm using Maker's Mark throughout all these recipes.

This cookbook that I am cooking from today has soooooo many recipes I want to try and probably will but for this particular meal the menu is as follows (sorry for the long titles, I obviously did not name t
he recipes or edit the book):
    The inspiration book with a rack of ribs, salad and biscuit!
  • Chef Virginia Willis’s Baby Back Ribs with Kentucky Bourbon Mustard Sauce
  • Kentucky Bibb Salad with a Sweet Kentucky Bourbon Vinaigrette, Crumbled Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pecans
  • Angel’s Share Biscuits
  • Kentucky Bourbon Double Chocolate Cheesecake

Chef Virginia Willis’s Baby Back Ribs with Kentucky Bourbon Mustard Sauce – This recipe makes a lot of sauce, so if you like it bottle it up, another suggestion is if you don’t like chunks of onion in your sauce to throw all of it in the blender after it simmers for an hour and pulse it down and reheat and simmer a little longer.

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
8 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups Dijon mustard
1 cup water
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
1 1/2 cups bourbon
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 racks baby back pork ribs
When I was cooking the BBQ sauce a C
appeared maybe it is a sign?

Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium heat, and when shimmery, add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, another minute or so. Add the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, water, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, apple juice and bourbon. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 1 hour. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

Heat grill to medium, or heat oven to 325 degrees. Season ribs well on both sides with salt and pepper, place on a broiler pan and cook in oven, or directly on the grill, until meat is tender, 1 hour or more, turning occasionally. When meat is fork tender, remove from oven or grill. Heat broiler to high, or turn grill to high.

Ribs on the grill...

Measure out about 1 cup of the sauce. Brush liberally on the ribs, and broil or grill on high until surface is crisped and brown, brushing on more sauce each time you turn the ribs. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side. Serves 6.

Kentucky Bibb Salad with a Sweet Kentucky Bourbon Vinaigrette, Crumbled Goat Cheese, and Toasted Pecans – This vinaigrette is awesome, I will be putting it on other salads for sure but the goat cheese really helps cut the sweetness of the dressing. I suggest you don’t use a spicy BBQ sauce if you don’t want extra kick from the sauce and the brown mustard.

1 cup pecan halves
3 heads Bibb lettuce, washed and dried
2 large tomatoes, sliced in half-moons
12 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 pound fresh goat cheese, sliced into 4 disks
1 red onion, peeled and diced

Sweet bourbon vinaigrette
1/2 cup cider vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 cup brown mustard
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce, I used Gates Original BBQ Sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic chili sauce (available in Asian food departments of groceries), I used chili sauce and added a clove of crushed garlic

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet, and toast in the hot oven about 5 minutes, shaking once or twice during the toasting. Be careful not to let them burn. Remove and cool. Compose the salad on four salad plates, arranging the Bibb lettuce leaves, sliced tomatoes, goat cheese, onion and pecans attractively. In a bowl, whisk together vigorously the vinegar, bourbon, mustard, honey, barbecue sauce, pepper and chili sauce. Dress the salad lightly with vinaigrette.

Angel’s Share Biscuits – While bourbon is aging some of the alcohol is evaporated through the barrels, this is what distillers call the ‘angel’s’ share. These are great and you can really catch the alcohol in the biscuits but I would suggest adding butter…maybe even a honey butter…sheesh why didn’t I think of that before we ate them? Good thing there are left overs!

1/2 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup bourbon

Cooking the biscuits on my stone...

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the warm water and honey together and dissolve the yeast in the water-honey mixture. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and shortening and mix with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Mix the buttermilk and bourbon with the yeast mixture; add these ingredients to the flour mixture. Combine lightly until the ingredients are just mixed together. Grease a baking pan and drop mounds of dough onto it. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 2 dozen.

Kentucky Bourbon Double Chocolate Cheesecake – OHMYGOODNESS…this was absolutely amazing. Honestly though I don’t think that the brownie layer was needed. Mine fell in the middle, I guess I put too much batter on the outside, but it just was pretty dense and good, but I could have done with just the cheesecake part and the ganache.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 TBS KY bourbon
¼ tsp Grand Marnier
4 eggs
1 pinch salt

Fudge Brownie Mixture:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp Grand Marnier
½ cup flour
¼ cup chopped pecans (optional, I didn’t use these because I don’t like nuts in desserts)
1 pinch salt

Chocolate Ganache:
1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBS Kentucky Bourbon
1 TBS light corn syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Apply nonstick spray to a 9-inch springform pan.

At this point we were so excited to eat the cheesecake, I
just slapped the chocolate ganache on slice...sorry it isn't

To make the cheesecake: In a double broiler, melt the chocolate chips with the cream; mix until smooth and reserve. Whip the cream cheese, sugar, bourbon and Grand Marnier in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs and salt and blend well. Add the melted chocolate mixture and blend thoroughly. Pour the cheesecake batter into the springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes; reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes.

To make the fudge brownie mixture: While the cheesecake is baking, melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs, sugar, and the Grand Marnier, and blend thoroughly. Add the flour, pecans and salt and blend well. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and carefully spoon on the brownie mixture (start at the edges and work toward the center). Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Remove cheesecake from the oven and cool completely. Then refrigerate until it is completely cold.

To make the chocolate ganache: While the cheesecake is cooling, combine the chocolate chips and cream in a double boiler and melt them, stirring to mix. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it rest for a couple of minutes to all for slight cooling. When the mixture I blended, smooth, and slightly cool, add the bourbon and corn syrup, stirring constantly. Then let it stand at room temperature for a couple of minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator and place it on a wire rack. Pour the ganache over the cheesecake and allow it to set. Serve it after the ganache dries.

Our dinner table set...we paired the meal with a Monkey Bay Sauvigonon Blanc from the Marlbrough region of New Zealand.
Here are the quotes from the dinner tonight, my dear friend Sara was in town…she has some work meetings in KC this week so she came in early to go to the FarmAid concert with us Saturday night and today we turned a lazy Sunday into a day of enjoying the weather and catching up on some retail therapy...for the two of us a Sunday without somewhere to go or be or work to do, especially in August, is a rare occasion so we took advantage of it!

Sara: Oh, the salad was excellent, tangy and refreshing, the pecans and the goat cheese along with the vinaigrette was such an excellent combo. The little biscuits were really good too and could easily be altered with a cheese or drizzled with honey on top. [The ribs] were cooked to perfection, I preferred them without the sauce. The cheesecake was awesome, but brownie was not needed, highly recommend with a dark chocolate ganache and paired well with our wine, but would be great with a red wine too. The Grand Mariner in the cheesecake was slightly detectable and was great with the chocolate. I would say make the salad and cheesecake again!

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