Derby-inspired party ideas from Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Creative Derby-inspired party ideas from Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen

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The Kentucky Derby is the greatest two minutes in sports, but for people who live in the region, "derby time" can last for weeks. Crowds flock to historic Churchill Downs to experience the race, but many others stay home and have parties. Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen's Janine Washle has an assortment of recipes from savory to sweet for both sets of horse racing fans.

For those watching the "Run for the Roses" at the the track, Washle's menu is inspired by traditional flavors like asparagus, mint, strawberries, country ham and bourbon. It is nice to include the food traditions associated with this special day, but it doesn't have to be heavy on the calories or stressful. The most important thought behind a brunch menu is that nothing served could potentially drip onto an expensive suit or fancy dress; nothing so heavy it might cause tummy troubles. But it all should be memorable and satisfying. Just about every recipe on the lightened up Derby brunch can be made in advance leaving you to fuss with your hatpins and not the muffin cups.

If you're having a Derby party at home, it can be as much fun as attending, and the food can be amazing, too, based on the same traditional flavors served up in a casual way. Washle also has some craft ideas to make guests laugh when they see them: "hat-bands", and "horse heads." This menu features using the grill, but sometimes it rains on Derby, and the oven option for the meats makes it a no-sweat event. Salads are brightened up with fresh vegetables and tangy dressings. The ice cream sandwiches were inspired by the old-fashioned favorite, strawberry-Pretzel salad.

Asparagus-Country Ham Tart

Serves: 6


1 Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Crescent Seamless Dough Sheet

1/3 cup mascarpone cheese (or ricotta, drained)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 tsp salt

Pinch of pepper

½ cup thinly sliced country ham, diced

¼ cup diced roasted red peppers

1 pound asparagus, washed and trimmed


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove dough sheet from tube and place on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut ½" strips from all sides and flip onto main dough sheet to create a rim.

Mix mascarpone, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Spread onto dough sheet up to the rim. Toss together the ham and peppers then sprinkle over top of mascarpone mixture. Starting at left short edge, place asparagus side by side over top.

Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and asparagus is bright green. Remove from oven and cool a few minutes before serving.

TIP: Can be prepared a day ahead. Refrigerate. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry-Pretzel Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes: 12 (Makes exactly 24 cookies)


¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature

1 large egg

Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Cookie Mix

1-1/2 cups coarsely crushed pretzel sticks

¾ cup freeze dried strawberries, optional

Strawberry ice cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together butter and cream cheese until combined. Stir in egg. Mix in cookie mix. Lastly, stir in crushed pretzels, and strawberries if using.

Using a Tablespoon measuring spoon, form 2 TB of dough into balls. Place 2" apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dip bottom of a heavy drinking glass into granulated sugar and press down on balls. Dip glass each time before pressing.

Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing to a cooling rack. Cool completely before filling with ice cream.

Let the ice cream soften before making sandwiches, using about 3 TB of ice cream per sandwich. Press together lightly. Freeze sandwiches until ready to use.

Remove from freezer a few minutes before serving.

TIP: Do not use dried strawberries; they become too chewy when frozen. Do not use fresh strawberries in cookies because they get flabby and discolored.

When pressing cookie balls, press down then twist clockwise to remove without misshaping cookies. You can also crush extra pretzels and roll edges of sandwiches in more crushed pretzels.

Don't want ice cream sandwiches? Use this frosting for cookie sandwiches instead:


1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature

3 TB granulated sugar

1 3 oz package strawberry gelatin dessert mix

3 TB milk, possibly more


Using a hand mixer, combine cream cheese and sugar on low speed until mixed. Add dessert mix and combine. Add milk and beat for 1 minute. Add a little more milk if too thick.

Sandwich together 2 cookies with a generous spoonful of this frosting.

Snap Pea Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Serves: 6


3 cups snap peas, washed, trimmed

2 cups arugula or baby spinach, washed

1-1/2 cups quartered strawberries

1/2 cup diced red onion

Strawberry Vinaigrette, recipe follows


Combine snap peas, arugula, strawberries, and onions in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat ingredients. Serve remainder of vinaigrette on the side. Refrigerate. Best served the day it is made.

Strawberry Vinaigrette


2 cups chopped strawberries

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 TB white vinegar

2 tsp granulated sugar

½ tsp cracked black pepper

½ cup vegetable oil


In the bowl of a food processor, add strawberries, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, black pepper. Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly add oil through chute until emulsified, additional 20 seconds.

TIP: When using strawberries in a savory way, do not add salt. Salt breaks down the strawberry's flavor and the essence of the taste is lost.

Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen also has a FREE Derby Recipe Booklet available by email. To ask for a complimentary copy, just email Janine Washle at  

To find Cloverfields Farm & Kitchen on Facebook: click here.  

CloverFields Farm & Kitchen  


3720 Mt. Olive Rd.

Hardin Springs Area

Big Clifty, KY 42712



Janine Washle and her family live at the Cloverfields Farm and Kitchen in Big Clifty, Kentucky in Hardin County. CloverFields Farm & Kitchen, part of a century old farmstead, is our home and business. The McGuffin house, the original farmhouse, is a registered state landmark. CloverFields Farm has a prosperous farming history. They are continuing this rural story in their own unique way by the addition of CloverFields Kitchen a place to explore the past through food and merge it with our modern lifestyles.

CloverFields Farm is dedicated to the preservation of southern, especially Kentucky, food traditions. The kitchen is commercially-outfitted compliant with Health Department standards. In this kitchen I develop new recipes based on original ideas, inspirations from my culinary research, and most often according to what is in season.

On the farm, they make many gifts and specialty items. She is currently working on her first cookbook, but she also has a long resume developing recipes for several companies. She has also won several contests and cook-offs with her original recipes.

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