Blue Cheese is really Blue

            This blog entry is dedicated to my friend Arlene and her love of blue cheese. Me not so much. In fact, on the scale of the cheeses that I love to eat and cook with (cheddar and brie among the top 5) blue is not even on the chart. When ever we eat lunch together and the opportunity to share a large Cobb salad comes up the first rule of our friendship is that the blue cheese ALWAYS goes on the side so I don’t even have to look at it, let alone smell it.

Blue cheese (also spelled bleu cheese) is a cow’s milk and/or goat’s milk cheeses with a vein of blue or blue-green mold running through it, Yeah, I know, eating mold, not so appetizing what you have to explain it. Much like wines, blue cheeses are a product of the areas in which they are created. True blue cheeses, like Roquefort, Gorgonzola, and Stilton are a “protected designation of origin” cheese. That means they can bear the particular cheese name ONLY if they have been made in a particular region in a particular country. Not surprising to me is the notion that Blue cheese is believed to have been discovered by accident. You think someone just said, oh yes, let’s put mold in cheese and eat it, yes, that’s a good idea? Me either.

Today most blue cheeses (bleu cheese) are either injected with the mold, as with Roquefort, or the mold is mixed right in with the curds, as it is with Gorgonzola, to insure even distribution of the mold throughout the cheese. Most of these cheeses are still aged in the original caves where they were first created.

The pungent flavor of blue cheeses tends to be sharp and salty. The smell of this cheese is widely considered to be strong, even compared to other smelly cheeses. It’s great (so some say) eaten all by itself or crumbled in or melted over different types of salads, breads, soups and meats.

Since Arlene is one of the best cooks I know I’ll take her word for it that blue cheese is actually tasty. I asked several cooking colleagues to point me towards and send me recipes that were tasty, easy and showcased how versatile blue cheese can be. I have not personally tested any of the following recipes (still don’t like blue cheese despite their reassurances) but have their guarantee that they’re delicious.

BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

1 package (4oz) blue cheese, crumbled
1 package (3oz) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup half and half

Reserve 1/3 cup of the crumbled blue cheese. In small mixer bowl, blend remaining blue cheese and the cream cheese on low speed. Add mayonnaise and half and half; beat on medium speed until creamy. Stir in reserved blue cheese. Cover; chill at least 3 hrs to blend flavors. About 1 2/3 cups.

Submitted by Ariel Weingart Washington DC

BABY GREENS, PEAR, WALNUT, AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 medium shallot, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup olive oil
1 5-ounce bag mixed baby greens
2 large ripe pears, halved, cored, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice, mustard, shallot and thyme. Whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
Toss greens in large bowl with enough dressing to coat. Divide greens among 6 plates. Top with pear slices, dividing equally. Sprinkle with cheese and walnuts. Drizzle lightly with remaining dressing and serve. Makes 6 first-course servings.

Bon Appitit September 2002

BLUE CHEESE WALNUT CRACKERS

Appetizer crackers with a hint of blue cheese.

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon cracked pepper, or to taste

8 ounces blue cheese, (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup butter, do not use margarine

1 cup chopped walnuts or 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup chopped pecans 

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

In a bowl combine flour and pepper. Cut in cheese and butter with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add walnuts and egg yolks. Stir until combined. Form mixture into a ball; knead with hands until it clings together. (10-20 minutes) Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a log approximately 9 inches long. Wrap logs in plastic – chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 425. Cut each log into 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick slices. Place slices slightly apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until the bottoms and edges are golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store tightly, covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serves 10 to 12.

BLUE CHEESE BURGERS

2 tablespoon plain yogurt

2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

1 tablespoon mayonnaise or salad dressing

1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

3 green onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

6 Kaiser rolls, split

For sauce, in a small bowl stir together yogurt, blue cheese, mayonnaise or salad dressing, and mustard. Cover and chill until serving time. Crumble ground beef into a large bowl. Add green onions, bell pepper, salt and pepper; mix well. Shape mixture into six 3/4-inch-thick patties. Grill patties on an uncovered grill directly over medium coals for 14 to 18 minutes or until meat in no longer pink, turning once. To serve, toast cut sides of Kaiser rolls on the grill. Serve patties in toasted rolls Top patties with sauce. Makes 6 servings.

STUFFED MUSHROOMS WITH BLUE CHEESE

16 large mushrooms
4 oz blue cheese
1 teaspoon minced garlic
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
2 tablespoons. butter
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Remove the mushroom stems and chop finely. Mix well the chopped stems, blue cheese, garlic, spinach, and salt and pepper. Melt the butter and coat the entire mushroom, inside and out. Stuff the mushrooms with as much stuffing as can fit. Bake at for 10 to 15 minutes until bubbly and browned. Makes 16.

From www.recipeland.com archives

APPLE SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE

2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoon chopped red onion
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, chopped
3/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into eighths
1 head curly endive, washed, torn into pieces
1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted
4 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

Place orange juice in small nonreactive pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 35-40 minutes. Can be made 2-3 days in advance, and refrigerated. Place orange reduction, Marketplace Balsamic Vinegar, onion, and jalapeno in a food processor fitted with metal blade, process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Add the honey, salt and pepper, process 2 seconds.

Heat 3/4 cup of the orange vinaigrette in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the apples, and saute until golden brown, turning until just cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Remove to plate and cool to room temperature. Can be made a day in advance, covered in refrigerator, bring to room temperature before serving.

Place endive in mixing bowl, toss with 4 tablespoons of the remaining orange vinaigrette, season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Pour remaining vinaigrette into squeeze bottle, if desired. Divide endive among 4 salad plates. Arrange 4 apple slices on each plate, garnish with pecans and Maytag blue cheese.

Drizzle with remaining orange vinaigrette.

Modified from Gourmet 1998

BUFFALO CHICKEN TENDERS WITH BLUE CHEESE COLESLAW

For the coleslaw:

6 medium celery stalks, trimmed

4 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed

1/2 medium head green cabbage

3 medium shallots, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

For the chicken tenders:

4 pounds chicken tenders or boneless, skinless

4 cups panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)

1/4 cup finely chopped parsley

3 cups all-purpose flour

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

Peanut oil for frying

1 1/2 to 2 cups hot sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

For the coleslaw: Slice each celery stalk in half, then slice celery very thinly on a bias at a slight angle; you should have about 3 cups. Fit a mandoline or a food processor with a medium-toothed (about 1/8-inch) shredding blade. Cut carrots in half and shred them; you should have about 4 1/2 cups. Cut a v-shaped notch into the cabbage half on either side of the core to remove it then cut the cabbage in half again lengthwise. Slice cabbage pieces very thinly crosswise. Combine celery, carrots, cabbage, and shallots in a very large glass mixing bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine vinegar, mayonnaise, and blue cheese, and mix well. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add dressing to vegetables, and mix until evenly coated. Cover and let marinate, refrigerated, for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

For the chicken tenders: Heat the oven to 200. If using chicken breasts, cut them on the bias into 1-1/2-inch-wide strips. In a large bowl, combine breadcrumbs and chopped parsley. Place flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumb mixture in three separate shallow bowls (cake pans or pie plates work well). Coat 6 or 7 chicken tenders with flour. Tap off any excess, and then dip in the eggs, then the breadcrumbs, being sure to get an even coating. Place breaded chicken on a large plate or baking sheet. Repeat for all the strips. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat, and fill the bottom of the pan with a 1/2 inch of peanut oil. (As you fry, add oil as needed to maintain the 1/2-inch depth.) Heat oil to 350.

Add 6 chicken strips to the hot oil, and cook until nicely browned on 1 side, about 3 1/2 minutes. Use a slotted spatula or tongs to carefully turn the strips, and allow to finish cooking, 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove chicken from the pan and place on a baking sheet (preferably lined with a cooling rack); season immediately with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Repeat for all strips. Keep finished chicken tenders in the oven turned to low to keep warm and crisp. Do not stack on top of each other, or they will lose their crunch. Combine hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until butter is completely melted. When ready to serve, put chicken tenders in a large bowl and pour the sauce over them. Toss, and serve immediately with the coleslaw. Servings: 8 to 12 servings

Adapted from a Scott Youkilis recipe of San Francisco’s Maverick restaurant

BLUE CHEESE LOG

Three kinds of cheese and some curry powder make this cheese log a little livelier than most.
 
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Assorted crackers

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese. Fold in cheddar cheese and blue cheese. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. In a small skillet, sauté curry powder in butter for 1-2 minutes. Stir in pecans; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in parsley. Cool slightly. Roll cheese mixture into two logs, about 5 inches long. Roll in pecan mixture. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with crackers. Makes 2 cheese logs.

From the Taste of Home’s Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook

CRISPY POTATO SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE

1 1/2 lb small new potatoes

1 small green pepper– seeded and

3 tablespoon tarragon vinegar

Chopped

2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 medium carrot– shredded

1 teaspoon salt

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1/8 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 eggs, hard-boiled — sliced

1/3 cup oil

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup radishes — sliced

1/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup cucumber — chopped

1/4 cup Blue cheese — crumbled

1 small onion– chopped

Tomato wedges, for garnish

Cook potatoes (unpeeled) in boiling salted water to cover until tender (25 to 30 minutes). Drain and slice while warm. Place in a large bowl. While potatoes cook, in a small bowl mix vinegar, mustard, salt, marjoram, pepper, and garlic. Using a whisk or fork, gradually beat in oil until well combined. Pour oil mixture over warm potatoes, stirring gently to coat potato slices. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or as long as overnight, if you wish). Lightly mix in radishes, cucumber, onion, pepper, carrot, celery, parsley and hard-cooked eggs. Mix mayonnaise and sour cream until smooth; stir in cheese. Fold mayonnaise mixture into potatoes. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours. Garnish with tomato wedges.

From the California Culinary Academy

WALDORF SALAD WITH CHICKEN AND BLUE CHEESE

1 Lime; juiced
3 tablespoon Light mayonnaise
2 oz Blue cheese; crumbled
1/4 cup Light sour cream
4 Boneless; skinless chicken breast halves, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Granny Smith apples; cored and chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 Ribs celery; sliced
6 oz Leaf lettuce; preferably red
2 oz Walnuts; chopped, (about 1/2 cup) and toasted, if desired

Squeeze juice from lime into medium bowl; add mayonnaise, cheese and sour
cream. Whisk until well blended (or blend in food processor or blender).
Add chicken, apple and celery, stirring until coated with dressing. Divide
lettuce among 4 plates, mound quarter of chicken mixture in middle of each
plate, and top with quarter of walnuts. Serve salad with 4 wheat rolls,
warmed if desired, on side. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel archives

TOMATOES WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

1 1/4 cups fresh tomatoes

8 ounces package cream cheese

2 tablespoons blue cheese

Several lettuce leaves

1 onion, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

A handful parsley
Arrange a bed of lettuce and place sliced tomatoes on top. Mix cream cheese and crumbled blue cheese; add grated onion, salt, pepper. Use as a dressing for the tomatoes and garnish with parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Unknown author

RED ONION TART WITH BLUE CHEESE

Onion filling:
2 lbs. red onions or other onions, peeled, sliced
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
sprigs of chervil and a little reduced balsamic vinegar, for garnish

Pastry:
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oatmeal (not instant or 5 min)
2 1/2 oz. softened butter
3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoon cold water

Blue cheese topping:
4 oz. soft blue cheese
2 tablespoon plain yogurt

To prepare onion filling:
Place onions and vinegar in heavy saucepan. Cover with wax paper and lid. Cook gently for 30 minutes. Remove lid and paper, add honey and cook until liquid has almost evaporated. Season to taste. Keep warm.

To make pastry:
Blend flours, oatmeal, butter, cheese and salt in blender until consistency of fine crumbs. Add cold water and form a ball. Let pastry rest for 30 minutes, and then roll out. Line six 4 inch round fluted tins with pastry, prick with a fork, and then allow pastry to rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Preheat oven to 325. Bake tarts until pale golden brown.

To prepare cheese:
Mash blue cheese with a fork and blend with the yogurt.

Remove warm baked pastry tarts from tins; place on large warm plates. Fill each with enough red-onion mixture to cover base, and place 1 spoonful of blue cheese mixture on top. Garnish with a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar and chervil sprigs.  Makes 6 appetizer servings.

From http://www.about.com

BLT PASTA SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE

8 oz. bow-tie pasta, cooked, rinsed and drained

1 pint cherry tomatoes, rinsed and halved

6 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced

1 cup packed arugula leaves, rinsed, thick stems removed

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoon red wine vinegar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

8 thick cut slices of smoked bacon, cooked until crisp

4-6 oz blue cheese

In a bowl, combine the cooked pasta, tomatoes, scallions, and arugula. In a separate bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, lemon juice and vinegar together until well combined. Season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper, and toss the pasta and vegetables. Crumble the crisp bacon and the blue cheese over the salad and toss to combine thoroughly. Serves 4 to 6.

Submitted by Gary and Cheryl Quinn Arlington Hts.IL

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: