Do you wish you were in Kentucky watching the horse race? Well you can feel like you’re there with the use of an HD television (or 3D if you’re lucky) and an invitation to the finest party this side of the Mississippi.
Plan your own elegant affair to celebrate the day! I, for one, love theme parties, so this is the perfect excuse to have one. Costume is definitely required for this party! It is a great excuse to wear the dress that’s hiding in the back of your closet and to force the boys to wear something other than jeans. Women should wear sundresses or tea dresses with big hats, just like everyone does at the Derby. Men should dress in khaki slacks and dress shirts. The preppier, the better!
Set your table with white linen, your finest silverware, china, etc. Be sure to decorate the house with roses too- the Derby is often called “the run of the roses”, so this is the only appropriate flower for the occasion. Definitely create your own betting pool to make everyone more invested in the party.
Now on to my favorite part, what to serve at the party. Mint juleps are a MUST. They are the drink of the Derby (about 80,000 are sold at the Derby), and they are not hard at all to make.
Place 4-5 mint sprigs into a Collins glass or old-fashioned glass with ½ ounce of simple syrup or two sugar cubes. Muddle them together and add 2.5 oz of bourbon. Fill with crushed ice until the glass becomes frosty, and be sure to stir well.
For the main course, serve ribs, black-eyed pea salad, and Southern sides like grits or dill cucumber dip. Really, you can’t go wrong with serving anything Southern! Let me know how your party turns out today. Make chocolate bourban balls for dessert with the recipe below:
- 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 2 1/2 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Directions: Place chocolate chips in microwave safe bowl. Microwave on half power for one minute. Stir, and continue microwaving on half power, checking every 30 seconds, until completely melted (approximately 2-3 minutes). Stir in corn syrup and bourbon. In large bowl mix together crushed vanilla wafer crumbs, confectioners’ sugar and chopped nuts. Blend in chocolate mixture until all dry ingredients have been well moistened. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Form mixture into one-inch balls and roll in granulated sugar to coat. Store in covered container at room temperature.
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
I love tilapia, and it is one of the few fishes that have a very low amount of mercury. It is also low in calories and fat. It can be baked, broiled, or blackened. However, if you’re sick of the normal ways of baking tilapia, try this recipe instead.
- 3-4 tilapia fillets, depending on size
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- salt, pepper
- Olive oil
- Rinse tilapia and place in glass dish.
- Combine breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder and mix well.
- Pour lemon juice on separate plate, and put the filet in the lemon juice on both sides. Sprinkle with some salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste, but be careful not to overdo it.
- Dredge filet in breadcrumb mixture.
- Place in a baking dish.
- Sprinkle a little lemon juice over fillets and spray them lightly with olive oil
- Bake at 425ºF for about 20 minutes or until edges are brown. You can also bake these faster at 450ºF.
I recommend serving with a side of spaghetti and red sauce and a salad. The best kind of wine with parmesan crusted tilapia is definitely pinot grigio, so serve Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio with it.