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Feb 23, 2008 08:27 PM

Preakness Party

Hi All,

So, every year I host a Kentucky Derby Party (May 3). This year, due to circumstances beyond my control, we're unable to party for the Derby, and are instead going to host a Preakness Party (May 17).

I've never hosted a Preakness Party before. I want to do it up right. All my stand-by Derby plans are a no-go here. I gotta re-invent.

Ok, so, there's... the Black-Eyed Susan as a drink, and, um... crab cakes....

What else would make for a good Preakness Party? This Kentucky girl's at a loss. All I know is Derby Pie, hot browns, and mint juleps.


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  1. Anything with Old Bay Seasoning. I had Old Bay potato chips in Baltimore- they put the stuff in everything. Read some Anne Tyler books - maybe the Homesick restaurant would give you some ideas.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ginnyhw

      I remember the oyster shooters we had, in glasses rimmed with Old Bay. At a famous seafood restaurant outside of town, too bad I can't remember the name. So much good seafood!

    2. Are you in Baltimore? I am guessing not so some of the store items may be harder to find. That said, while these are not necessarily Preakness items Baltimore faves include National Bohemian beer (NOTE* this is not a quality beer-it is a quantity beer) and pit beef (kind fo a BBQ beef available from a pit beef stand or I'm sure you can find a recipe). You could also serve steamed shrimp (cheaper than crabs) in Old Bay. Also-- hot crab dip is a must and cheaper than buying dozens of crabs! As for dessert, you could make a Lady Baltimore cake or buy Berger cookies.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Super Salad

        Ginny & Super: Thanks! I love Old Bay, so that will definitely play a major role. I like the idea of the Lady Baltimore cake -- I'd never heard of that before, and after looking it up, it seems perfect.

        Other very Maryland items I should be aware of?

        1. re: litchick

          Crab soup - either cream of crab with lots of sherry- maybe even serve with shot glasses of sherry like they do in a lot of crab joints, or tomato based Maryland Crab Soup. Easy to find on google.

          1. re: yamalam

            good idea! that sounds party-ready...

        1. re: aussiewonder

          Thanks aussiewonder -- my searches hadn't turned up that thread yet.

        2. Maryland Beaten Biscuits
          Beaten biscuits originated in Maryland more than 200 years ago, when a mixture of soda and cream of tartar was used as leavening. The dough was beaten to make it light and airy. These biscuits became such a necessity that a machine similar to a wringer was invented to manipulate the dough. Even in modern times, this type of biscuit dough is still beaten. By tradition the dough is beaten with a hammer, mallet, or an ax for about 30 minutes. Lard was originally used in the biscuit dough, but today either solid vegetable shortening, margarine, or butter is often substituted.

          Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen biscuits
          4 cups all-purpose flour
          1 teaspoon baking powder
          1/2 teaspoon salt
          1 teaspoon sugar
          1/2 cup lard, solid vegetable shortening, margarine, or butter
          1/3 cup milk combined with 1/3 cup water
          Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the shortening until it resembles coarse meal. Add just enough of the liquid, a little at a time, to make a stiff dough. Knead the dough several times in the bowl and then turn it out on a lightly floured board. Beat the dough for about 30 minutes, turning it several times until it pops and is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into smooth balls by hand. Place on a cookie sheet and prick each biscuit with a fork, making 3 rows of holes. Make in a preheated 400 degree F. Oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light brown."

          Old Fashioned Fried Chicken-Maryland Style
          Put an ounce of butter in a frying pan, and add four slices of lean salt pork dipped in flour; when turned to a golden color take off the salt pork, add two and a half pounds of chicken disjointed, also dipped in milk and flour. Fry until cooked. Take off chicken, drain fat from frying pan, pour in a cup of light cream and milk, reduce to half and add one cup of light cream sauce, boil a few minutes, strain over chicken sprinkled with chopped chives and parsley, garnish with two corn fritters, two sweet potato croquettes, two slices fried tomato and the four pieces of crisp salt pork

          1 Reply
          1. re: Lightsuprooms

            Light, are you sure you can't use a food processor for beaten biscuits? Seems to me like I did that once. If I recall, the recipe was in Joy of Cooking or something similar. No way would I have the strength to beat anything for 30 min. I am pretty sure I made this a long time ago with a Smithfield country ham for a party.

          2. FYI - Maryland has an official dessert:

            Smith Island Cake
            (Eight-Layer Chocolate–Peanut Butter Cake)

            MAKES ONE 8" CAKE

            This version of the Smith Island cake comes from island resident Mary Ada Marshall. Each layer contains a sprinkling of powdered peanut butter cups, and the top is garnished with chunks of the same.

            8 large Reese's peanut butter cups, frozen
            Nonstick cooking spray
            1⁄4 cup flour
            1 18 1⁄4-oz. box yellow cake mix, preferably
            Duncan Hines
            2 cups plus 3 tbsp. evaporated milk
            16 tbsp. butter, softened
            1 tsp. vanilla extract
            1⁄2 tsp. salt
            4 eggs
            6 cups confectioners' sugar
            1⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa

            1. Pulse 4 peanut butter cups in a food processor into small chunks; transfer to a bowl. Pulse remaining peanut butter cups into a fine powder; transfer to another bowl. Chill both until ready to use.

            2. Heat oven to 350°. Grease four 8" round cake pans with cooking spray, dust with half the flour, and knock out any excess. Set aside. Put cake mix, 1 1⁄2 cups evaporated milk, half the butter, vanilla, salt, eggs, and 1⁄3 cup water into a large bowl; beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, 10–12 minutes. Divide half the batter between prepared cake pans. Set remaining batter aside. Using the back of a spoon, spread out batter so that it covers the bottom of each pan, making it slightly thicker around the edges than in the middle. Bake until cooked through and golden around edges, 12–14 minutes. Set aside to let cool slightly, then loosen cake layers with a knife and invert onto cooling racks. Wash and dry cake pans. Repeat process a second time with cooking spray and remaining flour and batter.

            3. When all 8 cake layers have cooled, make the icing. Combine remaining milk, sugar, and cocoa in a medium pot; stir well, then add remaining butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and icing is shiny, 4–5 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir well.

            4. Spread a cake layer with about 1⁄4 cup of icing; sprinkle with about 1 tbsp. powdered peanut butter cups. Top with another cake layer and repeat process to make 8 layers in all. Frost outside of cake with remaining icing; sprinkle top with peanut butter cup chunks. Let sit for 2–3 hours before serving. The cake can be stored for up to a week refrigerated in an airtight container.

            This recipe was first published in Saveur in Issue #102

            1 Reply
            1. re: keithdcil

              Some lawmakers were lobbying for it last month, but I hadn't heard the bill had passed. Either way, that's more of a Maryland/Eastern Shore thing, than a Baltimore thing, which is where the Preakness is held. The peach cake which is mentioned in the thread linked above is a delicious dessert, and truly unique to Baltimore. My vote would go to that....