Dough-Not forget the Doughnuts!

University Press of Kentucky National Doughnut Day

There’s only one way to celebrate National Doughnut Day, and we’re on top of it! Enjoy this recipe for Bourbon-Infused Orange Doughnuts from Bourbon Desserts by Lynn Marie Hulsman, and share with us your #NationalDoughnutDay celebratory confections!

Bourbon-Infused Orange Doughnuts

Makes 1 to 2 dozen

 I love orange-flavored baked goods. They’re such a refreshing change from more ubiquitous flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon. And this recipe, with the zingy fresh ginger, is a breath of fresh air. These doughnuts are hearty enough for winter, and can stand up to a cup of bold coffee, but also work well in warmer months, with the eye-brightening citrus note. For a fluffy doughnut that’s never greasy, make sure your oil is very hot (at least 365 degrees F). I like to make these in a very deep stockpot, with an extra-heavy, reinforced bottom. I’m not going to lie to you . . . frying these babies in lard brings a whole new nuance to decadent, but vegetable shortening or canola oil are fine alternatives.


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


Bourbon Desserts Lynn Marie Hulsman University Press of KentuckyIn a medium mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and bourbon, stirring lightly with a fork.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs until light yellow, about 3 minutes. A little at a time, add sugar–orange zest mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Stir in the ginger.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, a little at a time, beating until just combined, about 2 or 3 minutes for each of 2 or 3 additions. Do not overmix, or you’ll have tough, flat doughnuts.

Using a fork, stir in the butter.

Line two 9 x 13-inch baking sheets with parchment and sprinkle them liberally with flour. (Don’t skimp!) Set one sheet aside.

Turn the dough onto the other sheet, and sprinkle flour over the top. Flatten the dough with your hands until it is about 1/2 inch thick. If the dough is still wet, use more flour. Transfer the dough to the freezer until it’s well chilled, about 20 minutes.

While the cut doughnuts chill, gather up the dough scraps, and repeat the flattening and cutting process.

Once the dough is chilled, take it out of the freezer. Using a doughnut cutter (or a 3- to 3 1/2-inch drinking glass), cut out doughnut shapes. To cut out the holes, use your cutter (or an apple corer or the top of a small jar) to cut out circles of 1 inch in diameter.

Arrange the doughnuts and doughnut holes on the prepared sheet pan. Refrigerate the doughnuts for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate overnight to fry the next morning.

When you’re ready to fry, put enough shortening into a deep-sided (but not wide) pan to measure a depth of about 3 inches. Clip a frying or candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil comes to 365 degrees F. Have several layers of brown paper ready for draining. (I use grocery bags.) Do not use paper towels, as the doughnuts will wind up limp and soggy.

Find the tools you’ll need for flipping and lifting the doughnuts out of the oil, and lay them to the side of the stove. Once you start frying dough, things happen fast!

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a large, wide bowl and set it aside.

Once your oil is ready, carefully add a few doughnuts to the hot oil, leaving plenty of space in between. Work in small batches so that the oil temperature doesn’t decrease. Fry until one side is golden and crispy, about 1 minute. Turn the doughnuts over and fry until the other side is golden, about 30 to 45 seconds.

When the doughnuts are done, set them on brown paper to drain for a few minutes. While they are still warm, lay each doughnut on top of the sugar, then flip the doughnut and set the uncoated side on a serving plate. Serve warm.

Store in a tightly lidded plastic container or tin for up to 5 days.

Jean Ritchie, 1922 – 2015

We were saddened to learn this morning of Jean Ritchie’s passing. She was a true crusader for Appalachian folk music, culture, and history. As we remember her today, we thought we’d turn to Jean’s own words in Singing Family of the Cumberlands where she recalls where it all began.

I was born in Viper, Kentucky, in the Cumberland Mountains, on the eighth day of December 1922. I think I was a little of a surprise to my mother who had thought that if a woman had a baby in her fortieth year it would be her last. Mom had my brother Wilmer when she was forty, and she settled back to raise her thirteen young uns without any more interference. Then when she was forty-four, I came along.

It must have been hardest on Wilmer; he had himself all fixed to be the baby of the family for life. Mom says that the day I was born they found him, in the middle of all the excitement, away out behind the house all alone. He was leaning up against the old June-apple tree just crying his eyes out. He wouldn’t tell what was the matter for a long time, but finally he snubbed and said that he never would get to sleep with Mommie no more.

My sisters laughed and made a great joke out of it, and shamed him and said that was a fine way to act when there was a pretty little sister in the house. But Mom told them to hush about it, and she told Wilmer to climb into the bed too. So that first night she slept with her girl babe and her boy babe and my Dad, all three.

Well, that was my introduction to this world, so they tell me, the way families will remember little funny things about a birth or a marrying or even a funeral, and tell about them a thousand times over the years on all those occasions when families start to recall old times. Whenever the Ritchie family falls into one of these sessions of telling tales on one another, it is sure to take up a long evening, because we have so much to remember and so many to remember about.

Happy 223rd Birthday, Kentucky!


Time flies when you’re having fun! For a quick glance back at this great day 223 years ago, we’ve turned to James C. Klotter and Freda C. Klotter’s wonderful A Concise History of Kentucky for a peek back in time.

On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state in the new United States and the first state west of the mountains. The people chose as their first governor a man named Isaac Shelby. Of medium height and only a fair speaker, the forty-one-year-old Shelby was originally from Maryland; he had been a war hero and moved to Lincoln County, Kentucky, at the end of the conflict. He started out from Danville that June day, with horsemen around him, and headed for the temporary capital at Lexington. When he arrived, people fired rifles and cannon in the air to honor him. Then he took the oath of office as governor. Three days later, legislators met in a two-story log cabin. One of the first orders of business was to decide where the permanent capital would be located. Groups of people from various towns vied for that honor, but Frankfort made the best offer. It promised land in town to build on, money for construction, and building materials—glass, nails, locks, stone, and timber. The new state had a new capital and now faced a new future.

We’re not firing any rifles or cannons but we’re still pretty excited about what the commonwealth will do next!

Louisville Courier-Journal: Refugee cookbook highlights tastes from home

The following article was originally published in the Louisville Courier-Journal on May 26, 2015 by Jere Downs.

Flavors from Home Aimee ZaringAmina Osman sells dinosaur kale with leaves of dark green at the St. Matthews Farmer’s Market and bunches of red or white radishes so hot, the bite makes your eyes water. The Somali Bantu refugee has made a living since 2009 selling her fresh produce at Louisville-area farmers markets with help from the Refugee Agricultural Partnership Program(RAPP).

Now you can enjoy her family’s favorite snack — fried, savory Sambusa pastries — and home-cooked delights from other refugees with the publication of “Flavors From Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods” by Aimee Zaring.

Published by the University Press of Kentucky in March, the hardback is already finding fans in Louisville who haunt the ethnic markets sprouting up on Preston Highway, in the South End, in Buechel and parts of the East End to serve the region’s refugees from South Vietnam, Bhutan, Somalia, Iraq, Bosnia, Cuba and elsewhere.

More than a collection of recipes, Zaring calls her first book a labor of love that also tells refugee’s stories. While some 800 copies have been sold so far, Zaring said the best moments have come as she has hand delivered signed copies of the book to the homes of refugees it chronicles.

“I’ve had people cry. I’ve had people shout and cover their mouths with disbelief,” said Zaring, who also teaches English as a second language.

Flavors from Home Aimee Zaring Amina Osman  displaying fresh produce from her community garden

Osman’s English is limited, but her son Amir Hussein, 13, said at the farmers market that making sambusas are a family affair. Stuffing ground beef and vegetables into pastry wrappers is a delicate business, he said, adding the trick is to crimp the ends tight before frying in vegetable oil.

“It is mainly how you fold it in to a triangle. I have screwed it up a 100 times,” he said. “Press the edges down tight before you put it in the oil.”

Osman farmed rice and vegetables in Somalia before her family fled to Kenya as a result of persecution from warring clans. Then followed a long stretch in a refugee camp from 1992 to 2004. Louisville became home to Osman, her husband, Bakar Hussein, and their seven children in 2006.

The story of Osman’s return to farming and dignity — in her case two acres donated by an Okolona church — is one oft-repeated among Louisville refugees with agricultural roots, said Laura Stevens, program coordinator at RAPP.

“A lot of them come with significant agricultural experience. Imagine you are living in a refugee camp for 10 to 20 years and you are resettled into an apartment without any green space,” Stevens said, adding some 2,000 refugees resettle in Louisville annually. “Being able to be back in the soil, get their hands in the dirt with something they grew up doing, is a great opportunity to help them get settled into their new life.”

Some refugees profiled in the book have gone on to translate culinary traditions into independent restaurants. Azar and Ata Akrami are the inspiration behind Shiraz Mediterranean Grill, and their story of Persian and Iranian cuisine is presented along with a recipe for their Tachin, or “Crispy Golden Rice and Chicken.” If you have enjoyed “Green Curry Soup” or Vietnamese spring rolls at Huong “CoCo” Tran’s Heart and Soy restaurant, 1216 Bardstown Road, you can find those recipes, too.

Savoring the food becomes meaningful as refugees candidly recount the traumatic circumstances that landed them in the Midwest. Pakistani surgeon Gulalai Wali Khan relays how she survived a suicide bomber that killed six people in her father’s home. Not long afterward, she escaped the bombing of a floor tile shop because she had gone upstairs.

Khan fled to Louisville in 2011. Never one to cook, Khan “woke up one morning craving her own food,” Zaring recounts in the book. “She managed to acquire the ingredients for one of her favorites, pulai, a rice dish steamed in meat stock … Suddenly in her home away from home, the smells and flavors of Pakistan — cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom — came back to her.”

Jere Downs can be reached at (502) 582-4669, @JereDowns on Twitter and Jere Downs on Facebook.

Amina’s Sambusas

Flavors from Home Aimee Zaring Amina's Sambusas

Serves about 20, or two per person to make between 40 and 50 sambusas. These are ready in about 90 minutes, with two people preparing the sambusas. Vegeta is called for here as an all-purpose vegetable seasoning available at some Save-A-Lot or Wal-Mart stores. If you can’t find it, substitute another vegetable seasoning, like McCormick Perfect Pinch. You can find the wrappers called for here at the ValuMarket, 5301 Mitscher Ave., in Louisville’s South End, near Iroquois Park. Wrappers can also be found frozen in the grocery market located inside the International Mall on York at Eighth Street downtown.

5 small round potatoes, peeled, quartered and washed

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 pounds ground beef

4 to 6 scallions, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds

1 green bell pepper, finely diced

1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, finely diced

8 to 10 cloves garlic, minced

5 stalks cilantro, leaves and stems, chopped

3 1/2 teaspoons cumin

2 1/2 teaspoons Vegeta all purpose seasoning mix

2 (25-sheet) packages 8 by 8-inch sambusa wrappers, spring roll pastry (not extra thin) or egg roll wrappers

Flour and water for paste

Vegetable of canola oil for frying

In a large stockpot, add enough water to cover potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to boil over high heat. Please peeled, cut and washed potatoes in the pot. Boil on medium high heat, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes until potatoes are tender but not mushy. Drain and set aside to cool.

In a large frying pan, add ground beef and cook on medium high, stirring occasionally. Add the remaining 1/2teaspoon salt. Continue cooking, breaking meat into small pieces with a spoon. Set aside to cool. Combine in a large bowl with scallions, peppers, garlic and cilantro. Chop potatoes into small dice the size of the vegetables and mix in, adding the cumin and vegetable seasoning. Stir well and set aside.

Cover your stock of wrappers with a damp cloth to keep them moist as you assemble the sambusas. In a shallow bowl, combine 1/4 cup flour and add a little water at a time until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.

Lay a wrapper on a clean surface and fold the bottom up to meet the top edge, forming a rectangle. Fold the bottom right corner up to the center of the top to form a triangle. Press down on all sides to smooth the pastry. Take the top right corner and fold over the middle seam to connect with the top left corner of the wrapper. Now the wrapper should consist of two folded triangles that together make a small square.

Dip a finger in the flour paste and smear it over the entire square, concentrating on the sides. Take the bottom left corner of the wrapper and fold it up to the top right corner, covering the other triangle. Press down on the sides and smooth the edges. Lift the wrapper off the work surface. Turn the triangle slightly clockwise to reveal the side seam. Brush more flour paste over that seam and press to ensure a good seal.

Now you are ready to stuff your sambusa. Hold the wrapper loosely in the palm of your hand and let it open to form a cone. Fill the cone with about 2 tablespoons of filling, or 3/4 full. Brush more paste over top where you will seal the pastry and fold the extension down to cover the cone opening. All the loose edges will come together to form a triangle. Press and seal all the edges and pinch the corners.

In a heavy pan, like a deep cast iron skillet or a deep fryer, add enough oil to cover a layer of sambusas, but don’t add them yet. Heat oil until it begins to sizzle, over high heat. It is important the oil be the right temperature for the sambusas to cook and brown in 8 to 10 minutes. When oil is hot, turn heat to medium high and test one sambusa. When you cook a batch, leave some space between them, turning if necessary for even browning. Remove sambusas with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm, either plain or with a dipping sauce. You can reheat fried sambusa in an oven

Meet The Author

On June 20, author Aimee Zaring will hold a reading of her book Flavors From Home: Refugees in Kentucky Share Their Stories and Comfort Foods at Carmichael’s bookstore, 2720 Frankfort Avenue, Louisville, Ky, 40106. For more information about the reading, call (502) 896-6950.

Today, We Remember

Memorial Day

As we take this Memorial Day to remember those who gave their lives to protect and defend our country, we wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the holiday that takes the time to reflect upon and appreciate the contributions of our armed forces.

The History:

Today, Memorial Day honors all veterans, but the holiday was originally called Decoration Day, and was created in reverence to those who lost their lives in the Civil War. General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veteran’s group born out of the Cvil War, first declared the holiday in 1868, proclaiming:

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or Memorial Day Propagandaotherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit. . . .

If other eyes grow dull, other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain to us.

Let us, then, at the time appointed gather around their sacred remains and garland the passionless mounds above them with the choicest flowers of spring-time; let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from hishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nation’s gratitude, the soldier’s and sailor’s widow and orphan.

Memorial Day Propaganda5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery on the first Decoration Day in 1868. After World War I, Decoration Day was re-designated to honor the fallen American soldiers who died fighting in any U.S. wars. Memorial Day, as it came to be known, was only officially recognized as a national holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday of May each year.

The Traditions:

  • When raising the American flag on Memorial Day, it is to be raised quickly to full-mast, and then lowered slowly and solemnly to half-mast. At noon, the flag is to be raised to full staff for the remainder of the day. The half-staff position remembers the more than one million men and women who gave their lives in service of their country, and the full-staff position represents the raising of their memory, and a commitment to not to let their sacrifice be in vain.

American Flag Memorial Day A young boy holds a Poppy in Montreal, Wednesday, November 7, 2012.  THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes.

  • Many American’s think of the British people wearing red poppies on Armistice Day (November 11, which coincides with our American Veteran’s Day), but the memorial red poppy originated in the U.S. and are a traditional decoration for Memorial Day. Inspired by the famous World War I poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael wrote a poem of her own:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Moina was the first to wear a poppy in remembrance, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. A Frenchwoman traveling to the U.S., heard of the custom, and began selling artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. The tradition soon spread to other European countries, and in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies.

  • Many cities and towns across the U.S. hold Memorial Day parades. Ironton, Ohio, puts on the nation’s oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade. The first parade was held May 5, 1868, and the town has held it every year since.
  • In 2000, Congress passed the “National Moment of Remembrance Act,” for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or commemorating as they choose at 3 pm on Memorial Day.

As some families gather to remember a relative’s service, or others gather for Memorial Day parades, cookouts, or picnics, please take a moment today to remember those who lost their lives in service to all of us, and those who continue to sacrifice for our country every day.

Rosy Twisted Stalk

Top Ten Disappearing Flora of Kentucky

9780813124964Kentucky, known for its rich soil and temperate climate, is the perfect location for a stunning growth of diverse and beautiful flora. However, due to land use changes in the form of housing and industrial development, these flowers are quickly disappearing. In Rare Wildflowers of Kentucky, Thomas G. Barnes, Deborah White, and Marc Evans write to spread awareness and promote environmental preservation. Here is a list of the top ten endangered wildflowers in the state, with some even endangered on the national level:

  1. Large-leaf grass of Parnassus

    Large-Leaf Grass-of-Parnassus

    Rosy twisted stalk (image featured at the top of this post)— Rosy twisted stalk is known only from Black Mountain, an area of the highest elevation in the state and home to many rare plants and natural communities. The flowers of the plant hang from its stem like bells.

  1. Sweet fern—The sweet fern is a low-growing shrub, not a fern, despite what the name suggests. The fern is known for its fragrant odor. It can be found only near the Big South Fork River.

    Cumberland Rosemary

    Cumberland Rosemary

  1. Large-leaf grass-of-parnassus—This grass-of-parnassus species is found in wetland seeps and has fewer than three locations in Kentucky, all near the southern border of the state.
  1. Cumberland rosemary—Cumberland rosemary, a member of the mint family, only grows in sandy river deposits among boulders. It is endangered in Kentucky and federally threatened.
  1. Rose pogonia orchid—The rose pogonia orchid is one of nineteen endangered plants located in Bad Branch, the deepest gorge of Pine Mountain.

    Copper Iris

    Copper Iris

  1. Copper iris—The copper iris, a regal-looking perennial plant with a reddish color, can only be found in the wetlands of far western Kentucky. It attracts the insects, hummingbirds, as well as gardeners.
  1. Dwarf sundew—The dwarf sundew, exclusive to a single region of southern Kentucky, is a mere inch or two tall and wide. To obtain nutrients, the sundew captures small insects on its sticky leaves.
  1. Grass pink orchid—The grass pink orchid has disappeared from several wetland sites in the last twenty years and is now known from only one location in the eastern part of the state.

    Blue-Flower Coyote-Thistle

    Blue-Flower Coyote-Thistle

  1. Royal catchfly—A striking red flower, the royal catchfly is pollinated by hummingbirds. This plant is found in prairies, and very little of this grassland habitat remains in the state.
  1. Blue-flower coyote-thistle—The blue-flower coyote-thistle of Western Kentucky has decreased due to changes in hydrology and land use. These flowers are characterized by their tiny flowers, similar to those of thistles.

Con-GRAD-ulations Graduates!


Graduation is exciting and terrifying no matter what stage in your education. It can be as scary as knowing you’re starting high school next year, or waiting for your college acceptance letter, or applying for the first job of the career you’re hoping to build. Its also incredibly exciting to move on to a new phase, with new opportunities and possibilities you may never have expected!

Last year, we brought you #AdviceforGrads from famous Kentuckians like Hunter S. Thompson, George Clooney, Thomas Merton, and even the Backstreet Boys. This year, we bring you a few more Kentucky role models who took the leap after graduation, and did some incredible things:

Books for Inspiration: