Friday, April 17, 2009

Historical interlude: Benedictine

You probably thought I was going to tell you about a B&B cocktail. Certainly that is the most widely known Benedictine in the food and beverage world. But we are here to discuss the lesser known champ: The dip or sandwich dressing which is said to have been created in Louisville, Kentucky at Benedict's restaurant and also going by the name Benedictine. With the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby dead ahead of us, why, what better time than the present?

I will grant you two things right off the bat: First, I have not made it. I have my hands full and anyway, I am tied up with the staggeringly serious and pivotal testing of banana fritters. If I don't figure that out, what will become of us?

And secondly, you might say it reads like a Paula Deen recipe. I would not call you a fool for saying so either, it sho' ain't heath food, baby. But look, it is a celebration of the contesting of the greatest horse race on earth (if horse races can indeed be called, "great"), and it is best to put your party in good stead with attention to the matters of history when it comes to event planning.

Before you furrow your brow and wonder why I did not post on the Hot Brown (just stand by) and the Julep (can you hear me snoring? Sorry!) I could have done as I am perfectly capable of mixing one right now with the early mint in the beds and snapping a few inspiring shots but you would have rightly called me a tearing bore and never come again. So, what have we to lose for trying something less well known and consequently, more exciting? Not to mention how thrilled I am this feeds my my great fascination with food coloring once again morphed into a faux-elegantista among the cocktail nibbles: Shameless food coloring vamp that I am, I am always looking for a place to sneak it in and still hear everyone tell me how marvelous and erudite I am! Oh, how I giggle smugly inside.

Alright, enough of that drivel. Let's get on with it...

By the way, my entertaining notes on the Derby and uniquely sparkling perspective can be found here and here.

I have had this recipe in a notebook long enough that it looks abused. No clue from whence it spring, if it belongs to you, stand up and take a bow.

1 large cucumber
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
dash green food coloring (totally not optional)

Peel, grate, and drain cucumber. Combine with remaining ingredients in food processor. Serve as is or as a sandwich or canape spread. Thin with sour cream to make a dip for vegetables.

1 comment:

Hunter said...

How I stumbled across this blog I have no idea, but I was thrilled to see the detailed posting about benedictine. I'm a Kentucky girl--born and bred (minus a brief stint in the north)--whose grandmother actually ate at Miss Jenny Benedict's tea room as a child. Benedictine was a staple in the lunch boxes of my childhood, and no family party would be complete without a big tray full of those delicious green sandwiches on white bread with the crusts cut off.

We make ours with the juice of cucumbers instead of the actual pulp. It's better if you make it a day ahead as the flavors have more time to mix together. But why I am I giving you advice? You already know all about it and I LOVE you for it!

Cheers to you this Derby week!