Thursday, July 31, 2008

benedictine isn't just for monks anymore

this past spring, in preparation for our kentucky derby party, andrew and i went in search of traditional kentucky recipes. i wanted the official recipes for mint julips, hot browns, and derby pie. i found the recipes for several of those and more. my search reminded me of forgotten friends like fried green tomatoes, baked grits, burgoo, and chocolate gravy. and i discovered new wonderful treasures. for example, i had no idea that the brown hotel used to sell both hot browns and cold browns, but no one ever really liked cold browns, so we all only know about hot browns. over the next couple of weeks, i want to tell you more about some of these wonderful traditional kentucky recipes, starting with a new discovery: the benedictine.

Jennie Carter Benedict was a caterer and restaurant owner in Louisville, KY. she opened up shop in 1893, and served a delightful sandwich spread made from cucumbers. it can also be used as a condiment or chip dip. i liked this best as a chip dip and did have a hard time stopping eating it once i'd gotten started. its kind of like a ranch or french onion, but without the badbreath afterwards.

Benedictine Spread:

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and coarsely grated
8 ounces low-fat cream cheese (do not use nonfat)
2 tablespoons finely grated onion
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream (do not use nonfat)
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill (optional)

it was kind of odd grating cucumber and onion. i suppose you could coursely chop and then use a food processor, just don't get it quite to the point of puree. combine ingredients and chill before serving. enjoy!


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