I really doubt that when people think of Kentucky or even the Kentucky Derby, they think 'high tea'. However, there are a lot of 'high tea' events held the week of the Kentucky Derby. They are fairly fancy events (by Kentucky standards) and many are held for charity. What exactly is a high tea? According to my research on the topic, it is a tea where both savory and sweet foods are served and is more like a light meal. Actually a 'high tea' technically, was served between 5:00 p.m and 7:00 p.m and was a light supper. What is being referred to now as 'high tea' is actually an afternoon or full tea. What ever you call it, if you attend one during the Derby festivities, there will be some form of benedictine there. It will be a spread for tea sandwiches, a dip or deconstructed as a topping for canapes.
Benedictine was the creation of a caterer and restaurateur named, Jennie Carter Benedict in Louisville, KY. Jennie Benedict opened her restaurant in Louisville in 1893 and it was around that time she came up with the benedictine spread. It was highly requested for weddings, showers, club parties and such.
I was first introduced to the recipe for benedictine when I was in junior high school home economics class. We were being instructed on the fine art of hosting a high tea....to most of the classes horror. However, I secretly loved it all...even the green benedictine. We were hosting the tea for the teaching staff and our home economics teacher was taking it all very seriously I seem to remember. I sort of felt sorry for her, because 98% of the class was definitely not taking it seriously. Long story short, it turned out pretty good and my home ec teacher and I bonded over it, because I not only loved benedictine, but the whole planning and executing of the event. She was my home ec teacher for three years and I did learn a lot from her, but when you're in jr. high, you have got to keep your love of things like home ec on the down low. It's just not cool. There is a much longer story here, but I will save that for another day, because I don't know most of you that well and it involves me being called 'Betty Crocker' by virtually the whole school for the next three very long years. It's almost funny looking back now though...lol.
Here is what you need:
8 oz cream cheese
1 Tbs mayonnaise
1/4 tsp salt
1 large cucumber, peeled, chopped and seeds removed
1/4 cup chopped sweet onion
dash of Tabasco sauce
dash of green food coloring
I add a Tbs of chives to mine.
Place all of this in your food processor bowl and process until smooth. You will need to scrape it down a couple of time. Place in a serving bowl and chill. Go easy on the green food coloring or it will be freakishly green and I don't think that is appetizing. This spread is so fresh tasting and just says spring to me!