Gourmet cooking may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about top equestrians such as Chester Weber or Jan Byyny, but everyone has to eat, and a few of the top horse people in the United States have a particular talent for cooking.
If you’ve ever wanted the opportunity to eat like your favorite equestrian, here’s your chance to try out four delicious recipes. These tasty dishes are guaranteed to feed your nutritional needs so you can put that much more focus and energy into improving your equestrian education. They’re also easy to make, since few horse people have the time for intensive food preparation.
Chester Weber’s Popovers
With seven Four-In-Hand Driving National Championships under his belt, Chester Weber is more likely to be recognized for his driving ability than his cooking prowess.
But Weber has another passion beyond horses. He spent four years at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration (N.Y.) from 1993-1997 and also participated in an internship program with Sir Terrance Conran's restaurant group in London, England, where he worked extensively in the kitchens of several of the top restaurants in London that were part of the group. So Weber knows his way around a kitchen. When he’s not competing his winning team of warmbloods in combined driving, Weber enjoys cooking for his family and friends at his Live Oak Farm in Ocala, Fla.
“I often fix popovers for family holidays and on weekends for breakfast when friends come and visit Live Oak,” he said. “They are a little piece of heaven if you add salted butter and fresh preserves.”
Pre-heat oven to 475°
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon salad oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
Place the milk, eggs, oil and salt in a blender. Blend at high speed until well mixed. Add the flour to the mixture in the blender container, and blend just until the batter is smooth. Pour batter into greased popover cups, filling about half full. Bake at 475° for 15 minutes; reduce to 350° and bake 25 to 30 minutes longer. A few minutes before removing from oven, prick popover with a fork to let steam escape. Serve popovers hot.
Maple Crest Farm Summer Salad Soup (Gazpacho)
Sisters Reese and Lindsey Koffler of Lexington, Ky., are extremely competitive riders, but they’ve shared everything from the Grand Prix dressage horse Goubergh’s Kasper—who helped Lindsey earn her USDF gold medal and Reese compete at the Collecting Gaits Farm/USEF National Grand Prix Dressage Championship—to the recipe for this refreshing and healthy soup.
“Lindsey created the recipe and started making it in the summer. We take it out to the ring while we teach, or sit down with a bowl for lunch,” said Reese. “It’s super refreshing during the hot Kentucky summers. It makes me think of summer and the farm and my family. Sometimes we make it and take it to the horse shows; we try to take a good healthy lunch on the road, and you can eat this alone or pair it with a sandwich or some bread. I’m not a big eater during shows, or in the middle of the day, and this is nice and light and packs well in a cooler.”
4 medium/large tomatoes, quartered
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 large cucumber, sliced
1/2 large green bell pepper, sliced
5 fresh parsley sprigs
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup ice water
1/2 cup red wine
1 teaspoon basil
2 dashes hot sauce (optional)
Garnish: sliced green onions, croutons, sour cream
Process all the ingredients (except garnish) for 15 seconds or until chopped in a food processor. Do not over-process; veggies should be crunchy. Serve chilled with garnish.
Jan Byyny’s Rack of Lamb
Jan Byyny likes cooking and eating fresh, healthy food. While this international three-day eventer, trainer and owner of Surefire Farm in Purcellville, Va., doesn’t always have time to prepare a full meal, Byyny said she avoids fast food and finds it easy to throw together a healthy salad at the end of the day. When she has time and energy, she also enjoys spending a little more time in the kitchen.
Byyny recalled cooking her rack of lamb and roast potatoes when she was a houseguest of fellow riders Boyd and Silva Martin during the Plantation Field horse trials (Pa.) last year.
“I’m not the biggest cook in the world, but what I do cook is easy and really good,” said Byyny. “Girls often eat very petite-like, but Silva eats like a normal person, so I enjoyed cooking for her. It was really a fun evening, and this meal doesn’t require a lot of effort but turns out really nicely. Pair it with a bottle of red wine, and mmm, it’s so good!”
Byyny recommended purchasing two racks of lamb, and she noted that if you can’t find rack of lamb at your store’s meat counter, be sure to ask, because they may have one in the back.
Rack of Lamb
Preheat oven to 500°
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Rack of lamb
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix olive oil, mustard, rosemary, salt and lemon juice into a paste. Rub the paste into the meat and cook with the fat side up. Put foil on the ends of the bones so they don’t burn. Place the roast on a rack in a roasting pan and cook for 10 minutes. Then open the oven and turn it down to 400°. Sprinkle the lamb with the breadcrumbs and then drizzle with butter. Close the oven and cook for 20 more minutes at 400°. Let stand five minutes before cutting the meat and serving.
Serve with green salad, asparagus and roasted potatoes.
Page Tredennick’s Ultimate Mac and Cheese
As the vice president of the Cook Street School of Fine Cooking, Page Tredennick knows a thing or two about food preparation. She began her culinary career in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the Luxembourg House, which is renowned for its fine wine and cheese. Inspired by her love of the culinary arts, Tredennick continued her studies at Le Cordon Bleu in London, England. After graduating, she returned to Cincinnati, where she founded Page One Catering and assisted in opening a restaurant where she served as co-owner and manager. In 1999, Tredennick teamed with co-owner Morey Hecox to launch the Cook Street School in Denver, Colo.
In addition to her involvement in the culinary world, Tredennick is a passionate horse enthusiast and has shown successfully in hunters and jumpers. Together with her husband, John, she owns and manages Wood Run Farm, a boarding and training facility for horses in Castle Rock, Colo. Tredennick is a member of the U.S. Hunter and Jumper Association owners and show standards committees.
“I make this [macaroni and cheese] in the camper or at home,” she said. “My kids love the leftovers. Anne Thornberry, a trainer from Cincinnati, named it years ago ‘Heart Attack on a Plate.’ It’s not for the ones watching their waistlines! You can lighten it up a bit by using milk instead of half and half. It’s great as a side dish for any grilled beef, and it freezes well.”
The Ultimate Macaroni and Cheese, AKA Heart Attack on a Plate
Pre-heat the oven to 350°
1 3/4 cup small elbow macaroni, cooked until firm
1 1/4 cup (5oz) extra sharp cheddar cheese cut into half-inch cubes
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/3 cup half and half
1 1/3 cup cream
2/3 cup sour cream
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 cup (5oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
Place the cooked macaroni in an 11”x13” casserole dish. Mix in cubed cheese. Whisk flour with seasonings. Whisk in half and half, cream and sour cream. Then add eggs and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over noodles. Stir. Top with grated cheddar. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes, or until just set around the edges. Let stand 10 minutes until thickened slightly. Sauce will be creamy.