Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

As you know, the Kentucky Derby® is right around the corner (did you see last week’s Sparkling Mint Juleps?). Today I’m partnering with 14 Hands Wine to share some Derby Day party tips, recipes, and a few great wine pairings. It’s time break out your fancy hats, pour some wine and get started!

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

First up are these colorful open-faced (crust off!) tea sandwiches. These are super easy to make if you make the spread ahead of time and assemble these just before your guests arrive. Instead of a cream cheese spread I made an herbal creamy dill spread by blending sunflower seeds to create a creamy base. Slather it on some sourdough sandwich bread and then top with rows of paper thin slices of cucumbers, radishes, and candy striped beets. Use a sharp knife to cut the crusts off and you have the cutest little springtime snacks. (See the full recipe below in this post).

This recipe pairs especially well with 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc – it’s citrus-y aromas and its crisp flavors of grapefruit and guava are a lovely compliment to these spring vegetable bites. Sometimes I find Sauvignon Blanc to be a little too sharp, but I love this one because it’s light, mellow, and juicy.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

My husband Jack has more southern roots than I do, so when I asked him what to put on my Derby Day menu he didn’t hesitate before blurting out “Pimento cheese!” What can I say, the guy loves cheese. Since we’re going for a lighter, brighter theme here, I made my version vegan and Jack, my cheese lover, is obsessed. Ok, that’s a lie – we’re both so obsessed that we sat down and ate it for dinner one night while I was testing it. Like, that was the whole dinner – crackers and “cheese”. And wine.

Cashews give this spread a creamy base while jarred pimentos, dijon mustard, and lots of lemon give it a proper tang. It’s best with Ritz-like crackers, but I also like to serve it with tons of chopped up veggies as well. This is another recipe you can make in advance, but just try not to eat it all before your guests show up.

This recipe is also a wonderful pairing with the crisp flavor of the 14 Hands Sauvignon Blanc.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

And now for dessert! To be honest, I don’t always love wine and chocolate as a pairing, but when we tasted 14 Hands Limited Release Kentucky Derby Red Blend, the subtle hints of cocoa and caramel really stood out to me. That’s when I decided I needed to finish this menu with wine, chocolate, and pecans. In lieu of pecan pie, I made chocolate pecan truffles. The base of these truffles is made by blending pecan and dates before they get dipped in chocolate. The opulent red blend with aromas of blackberries and plums is a bold pairing with this sweet treat.

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Just to recap, here are my top 5 tips to have a great Kentucky Derby viewing party:

1. Make a fancy Mint Julep – check out the Sparkling Mint Juleps I posted last week.

2. Go for pretty vegetable-forward dishes – they’re perfect for a spring menu and work well with the juicy flesh flavors of the wine. Plus, they’re so pretty and festive!

3. Make food that you can prepare ahead of time and easily assemble before guests arrive.

4. Be sure to have plenty of wine! 14 Hands is the preferred wine of the Derby, so taste and create your own wine pairings with the Kentucky Derby Limited Release Red Blend−perfect for any Derby party, and the new Rosé. 

5. Tune in to Facebook Live on Thursday, April 27th at 2pm CST to watch me demo these recipes and set up a simple party table that you can recreate for your own Derby gathering. 

Kentucky Derby Party Recipes

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

Happy almost-Thanksgiving week! Do you have your menu set? Are you getting together with family or having a Friendsgiving? Either way – here’s a sweet and oh-so-pretty cocktail that would be lovely for your turkey day.

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

This one couldn’t be easier: mix apple cider with iced tea, let it chill for about 2 hours with diced apples, cinnamon sticks and star anise. When your guests arrive, pull it out of the fridge and serve with sparkling wine. That’s it!

Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider Sweet Tea Sparkling Apple Cider

A Fall Wine Party (& a video!)

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

A few weeks ago I threw this simple, fun Friday night wine party. Here in Austin, it was the first day of fall (read: the first day that the temps dropped below 90 degrees)… I invited some of my closest friends, served up some fall-inspired appetizers and (to keep things easy!) opened up a few boxes of Bota Box wines.

Here was my menu:
– Roasted Butternut Squash Crostini w/ Sage
– Assorted Cheese Platter
– Pumpkin Hummus (recipe below)

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

I roasted cubes of butternut squash and topped them onto crostini with lemon ricotta and fried sage. This is my go-to fall appetizer. It’s also a wonderful starter before your Thanksgiving dinner.

I LOVE assembling pretty cheese boards. This time, I went with a combination of blue cheese, white cheddar slices, goat cheese, and a few others that looked great at the cheese counter that day. I filled the platter with grapes, rosemary crackers, and cranberry-hazelnut crackers. I also made pumpkin hummus, which is great because it can be made well in advance.

A Fall Wine Party

I decorated with a few pumpkins and had Jack string some lights from the tree.

A Fall Wine Party

If you come to my house often, then you know that I usually have a Bota Box in my fridge – their packaging makes it possible to store wine for a really long time, so I find it super convenient. For a party, it’s a great solution because you don’t have to mess around with tons of empty bottles, and it’s also very affordable.

A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party A Fall Wine Party

Get the recipe for my Pumpkin Hummus below!

A Fall Wine Party

All in all, it was a fun evening with friends, although little anxious Annie didn’t know what to make of it all. She hung back by the door waiting for snacks to fall on the ground.

A Fall Wine Party

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Tell me, who doesn’t love a variety of yummy mix & match toppings on little pieces of grilled bread? Here’s a party idea that you can easily pull off this weekend. All you have to do is chill some rose, gather a bunch of toppings (and a bunch of friends)… grill some bread and voila, you have a fun, casual crostini party!

The combinations you can put together are endless, but my strategy here is pretty simple. I chose ingredients that hit on a variety of flavors and textures – sweet, savory, salty, fruity, herb-y, creamy, crunchy… you get the idea. For this post we’re partnering with Stonewall Kitchen because their delicious jams fit perfectly into this mix (hello, Hot Pepper Peach Jam!). I often reach for their jams, chutneys & crackers (among their other gourmet products) when I’m entertaining and when I don’t want to make everything myself.

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Your guests can, of course, mix and match crostini toppings to their hearts’ desire, but these were some of our favorite combinations:

Strawberry Champagne Jam +  brie +  mint
Hot Pepper Peach Jam + cashew cream + a peach slices + pistachios
– Pesto + Roasted Garlic Onion Jam + cherry tomatoes

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

And because Stonewall Kitchen is celebrating their 25th anniversary, they’re giving away a Limited Edition 25th Anniversary Picnic Tote Gift which includes: a nautical recycled tote by Sea Bags, stemless wine glasses, a teak wood spreader, a cutting board, a jar of their delicious Mango Chutney, crackers, a picnic blanket & an insulated Corksicle water bottle. (A $349 value), check it out and enter to win by clicking here!

Mix & Match Summer Crostini Bar / loveandlemons.com

Vegetarian 4th of July Recipes

Vegetarian 4th of July Recipes

Baby Bella Veggie Kabobs Watermelon St. Germain Cocktails Tomato Basil Peach Skewers Vegetarian Orzo Stuffed Peppers Chile Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob Sweet Pepper Panzanella Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits Image Map

Happy long weekend! I hope you all have some exciting 4th of July plans! And what I really mean by that is I hope you have more exciting plans than we do. We’re pretty jet lagged so we’ll probably be celebrating the red white and blue on the sofa with some Orange is the New Black. However, if I DO get up the energy to cook, I think this would be such a delicious veggie-forward summer menu:

Pictured above:
Baby Bella Veggie Kabobs
Watermelon St. Germain Cocktails / Tomato Basil Peach Skewers
Vegetarian Orzo Stuffed Peppers
Chile Lime Grilled Corn on the Cob / Sweet Pepper Panzanella
Tart Cherry Cheesecake Parfaits