New York (PIX11) The 149th Kentucky Derby is more than a big horse race with big bets and fancy clothes. Food and drinks makes the celebration complete. Chef and author of ‘The Infinite Feast’ Brian Theis shares some meaningful recipes with PIX11’s Arrianee and Dan.

Down to the Wire: Last Minute Kentucky Derby Party Bites.

Run for the Roses with these quick and easy party snacks – A classic Louisville party dip and my “house” Pimento Cheese finger sandwiches!

Pimento Cheese Saint Peter

Makes 24 servings

This Southern party classic gets a kick from dill pickle and the heat of a little jalapeño. Named for the street of my former apartment in the French Quarter, in which Tennessee Williams wrote “A Streetcar Named Desire.” 

1/2 cup kosher dill pickles

2 tablespoons pickled jalapeño peppers, drained

16 ounces extra sharp Cracker Barrel cheddar, shredded with grater or food processor 

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 jars (4 ounces) diced pimentos, drained

1 heaping tablespoon dehydrated Cajun or Creole Trinity seasoning (celery, bell pepper, onion)

1 teaspoon coarsely ground fresh pepper

In food processor, add pickles, jalapeños, pulse till chopped fine. To large bowl, add cheddar, Parmesan, mayo, pickles, jalapeños, pimentos, dehydrated trinity, pepper. Thoroughly combine with wooden spoon.          Chill covered for 6 hours, or overnight, before serving with bell pepper, celery sticks, carrots, and crackers. Makes enough for two 12-person parties!

Benedictine Dip

Makes 2 cups, or about 24 servings

My version of Jennie Carter Benedict’s Louisville classic “Benedictine Spread.” I add fresh tarragon which, with it’s licorice-like taste perfectly complements the cucumber.

1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded, and grated

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

4 ounces sour cream

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt (don’t oversalt)

4 or 5 dashes green Tabasco sauce

3 or 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts

Wrap grated cucumber in a paper towel, squeeze out excess liquid. 

         To a large mixing bowl, add cucumber, cream cheese, sour cream, mayo, tarragon, lemon zest, salt, Tabasco. With hand mixer, blend mixture, retaining a bit of texture. Fold in scallions. 

         Refrigerate 3 hours to overnight so flavors can meld. Let stand out of fridge for 30 minutes to soften before serving, with crudités and/or crackers.