Monday, May 3, 2010

Fried chicken and cole slaw, Derby-style

The husband's cousin, John, who also is from Kentucky and has lived out here forever, throws a Kentucky Derby party every year. When John and his wife lived in the city, the party would take over the multi-unit building they lived in in the Mission, with hundreds of revelers congregating on the back staircases and in the garden below. Televisions were set up throughout the flats so everyone could watch the race. Bluegrass bands played all day and into the evening and bartenders were hired for the sole purpose of muddling mint juleps. There was grilling on the front sidewalk, elaborate betting schemes, an auction, and even a hat box from which you could borrow if you arrived unadorned.

The food at the Derby party is always potluck, and in the past we've been a little lazy, showing up with beer and stuff to grill. But this time around, the husband got it in his mind that he wanted to bring fried chicken (oven-fried, to save on the mess) and cole slaw. He scoped out recipes and decided on this one and this one, but with some additions. He spiced up the chicken with some cajun seasoning; to the cole slaw, he added sliced almonds and dried cranberries.

Here's the chicken. Doesn't it look crunchy and delicious?

And the colorful, confetti-like slaw:

When the food was packed up and ready to go, I put on a dress and cowboy boots, the husband donned his driving cap, and we headed out. This year was a little different than others, because John and his wife now live in Marin. While this party was scaled down by past standards, there were still probably at least 80 people there.

There was a mint julep station...

and live music from The Crooked Jades...

and I have to admit there were some cute kids there, like this tiny Wildcat fan...

or the little one that stole the show, strumming his ukelele in the garden.

As for the fried chicken and the cole slaw, believe me when I say both turned out fabulously and were devoured rapidly at the party. How quickly something disappears on a buffet is certainly one measure of a dish's success.

It was a lovely afternoon in a lovely place. But no matter how nice Marin is, I'm a city girl at heart. I always like coming home over the Golden Gate Bridge...

and watching the ocean fly by.

Happy belated Derby Day!


  1. interesting that there are so many horse racing fans... yep that chicken looks delectable, an unusual looking breading and the coleslaw is beautiful. I love the kid playing the ukelele, too adorable.

  2. Back at cha Hungry Dog. The food looks wonderful, crunchy chicken and colorful slaw. It looks like a perfect day and returning by the Golden Gate is a spectacular way to enter my favorite city! That's right New York, SF is my favorite US city.

  3. both the slaw and the chicken look great, but on derby day, nothing can compare to the hats. :)

  4. How funny - I made oven-fried chicken this weekend, too! Didn't have that lovely, colorful coleslaw, though. Sounds like a great tradition! I'm sure my husband would love to start up such an event someday. :)

  5. Sounds like so much fun! And Derby Day sounds a lot like our Melbourne Cup Day (in November). Love the look of the chicken and very colourful slaw, no wonder they disappeared so quickly. Did you back a winner?

  6. This seems so fun! I wish I was there. That chicken and coleslaw look absolutely amazing. I feel like I missed out.
    *kisses* HH

  7. Wow - what a wonderful tradition! Sounds fantastic. Glad you had a fun day on such a beautiful weekend.

  8. Wow, what a great blog. My friend Pam from The Gypsy Chef told me about your blog -- I love it. The fried chicken and cole slaw look great, and I love your photos and funny comments. You rock!

  9. Never heard of oven fried chicken? Is it basically baked chicken with breading? Or does it actually involve oil? A derby party sounds so fun and your cousin really goes all out hiring a band and such. Looks like the weather really cooperated too!

  10. foodhoe: isn't that little guy the cutest?

    Pam: Why don't you move to SF? We'd love to have you!

    grace: agreed, the hats are the best.

    camille: are we in synch or what?

    shaz: no we did not win any money that day but good food and booze were enough to keep us happy...

    HH: between all the goodies and the fabulous hats, you would have had a ball!

    Ash: It was indeed awesome!

    Randy: Thank you for visiting! I have enjoyed your guest posts at TGC too.

    Ben: Exactly. The chicken is soaked in buttermilk, then coated in the breading, then baked. No oil.

  11. What a wonderful day!The little one in the garden is TOO cute!!!

  12. Such a fun party! And that slaw looks delicious! I found a recipe for oven fried chicken years ago in a cookbook called Cooking with Rosie...who used to be a chef for Oprah. Lots of seasonings and it turned out very crunchy. I'll have to dig it out and see if she soaked it in buttermilk. I do my regular fried chicken that way still.

  13. What a great gathering. And that chicken? Wish I could pick up a drumstick or two right now. Crispy and tantalizing!

  14. Sounds like fun! The chicken and cole slaw both look wicked good, too.

  15. figtree: I know, isn't he adorable?

    ALY: Whho doesn't?!

    Barbara: I'd love to see your recipe for regular fried chicken. ALthough oven fried is great, it's not really a substitute for the real thing!

    CJ: Yeah, it was loads of fun.

    Bob: Indeed. Thanks!

  16. wow that slaw is pretty -- perfect with a little fried chicken goodness!

  17. alittleyum: isn't it bright and colorful? I love it.

    alvo620isr: Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Sophie: It was certainly a great party. Try the chicken!