Michele put on quite a spread the year she invited us to come down for the Derby! With pink lilies for the fillies and red roses for the Run for the Roses, she entertained us as the proper Kentucky lady that she is. It was Southern hospitality at its finest!
Isn’t this a fabulous-looking meal? Those of you who have been faithful followers of PrettyFood know that Michele was part of the story from the inception. (Read “On the Road, Seattle” for the full details.) She invited me to teach her to cook, and together we learned what makes food pretty. With this meal, she graduates with an A+!
It’s a gorgeous vegetable platter with vibrant colors making it so appetizing. Even the platter is vegetable-themed. Perfect!
Michele shared the special technique her daughter Megan taught her for making guacamole. A local store makes a great-tasting salsa. Peel and mash ripe avocados. Add a generous helping of salsa. Mix. Done!
This Asiago/Cream Cheese spread was intensely flavorful. Crackers for regular folks. Low carb toast points for the low-carbers.
Fresh shrimp, enhanced with slices of lemon. Derby horseshoe pics for added character. Again, a perfect platter. You can scarcely tell which are the real lemon pieces and which are part of the porcelain.
Michele’s Italian, so an antipasto platter was a must, complete with mozzarella balls, breadsticks, and a couple of flavors of hummus.
Sumptuous beef tenderloin, sliced and rolled, served with Kentucky’s famous Henry Bain sauce. (I’ve got to find a good recipe for it, or develop one. It’s like a cross between A-1 and a barbecue sauce, but with much more complex undertones.) Yum.
Sugar-snap peas with a roasted garlic dip. Skewers of marinated mozzarella balls and fresh cherry tomatoes. Once again, look — the platter goes stunningly well with what’s served on it. Those open-pod peas in the upper left corner are part of the plate!
Michele’s been making bruschetta ever since she got back from Seattle. She’s found a special Italian toast that she likes a lot, then piles on her fresh-made topping of tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, and mozzarella.
Another platter that is absolutely tailor-made for the function for which she used it. Lemons and limes get cozy, ready to be added to drinks.
Fresh lemonade on a hot summer day, made beautiful with slices of lemon and leaves of mint.
Everyone who heard I was going to the Derby said virtually the same thing: Take lots of pictures of hats! The large, colorful chapeaus contribute significantly to the spectacle that is the Kentucky Derby. Michele salutes them with her colorful hat cookies.
We can’t forget the horses, however. See the cookies in the upper left corner? Yep. Horses.
Some of the bruschetta were made with the low carb toast points. Come and get ’em!
The colors were so vivid and appealing. It was a stunning table.
Yes, Michele, you definitely earned an A+
See on the right hand side in front of the lemonade dispenser the little metal “couch”? It’s holding lemon-themed guest napkins. The dispenser with the lemon and mint, the plate with the lemons and limes, and the little napkin couch formed their own pretty food Trifecta!
The hat cookies were almost too pretty to eat. Note that I said “almost.”
Here’s a close-up of the horse head cookies. Do not insert any bad Godfather jokes here.
Horse and jockey decorations were nestled around the table, including on the cupcakes. The cupcakes depict the winner’s wreath and the roses on it. In the center of each is a small horse head. They exemplified the attention to detail that characterized this feast.
Almost, almost . . . time to eat!
You cannot imagine the supreme patience and willpower it required to capture the photos of this food before digging in. I can only say that if the boys had been back from their tour of the Woodford Reserve Distillery before the photos were complete, you might not be enjoying this page quite as much as you have.