Thursday, June 12, 2014

What's cookin'? - "Lady sings the bleus"

I love bleu cheese.

For some it is an acquired taste, I know.

But even if you think you don't like it, I'm going to suggest that you read this post. There's bound to be something in it that you will like, and eventually become a blue cheese lover like myself!

We often buy a big hunk of Gorgonzola cheese. 

What's so special about Gorgonzola?

Actually, I don't know!

I do know that it is a type of bleu cheese... I know that it originally comes from a special place in Italy.... I know that it does not have as strong a smell as regular bleu cheese... It's still salty and sharp like bleu cheese... It melts and crumbles easily, so I cook with it a lot.

That was a big help, I know.

You're welcome.

Anyway, this post all started because of my dinner tonight. Two of my family members are eating elsewhere. That leaves just two of us.

I decided to make pasta but my son does not like red sauce. (Must be the part in him that's NOT Italian!)

What to do...?  What to do...?

I decided that he would have his favorite old standby of olive oil and Parmesan cheese (or butter and cheese). 

I, on the other hand, had a hankerin' for something special! We had some Gorgonzola in the fridge, so I decided to make a Gorgonzola Cream Sauce for my pasta.

I have made this sauce a few times, following a recipe, that also adds broccoli and is served over fettuccine.

I have no broccoli, but I knew I wanted this sauce! 

So, I consulted the cookbook that contained the recipe:

I skimmed over the "cast of characters"/ingredients ... Then, I threw caution to the wind.... I didn't measure a thing as I made a little bit of sauce for myself. (Gasp!) All of my measurements were "eyeballed", since I was only making a little bit of sauce for myself.

It was wonderful, just as I had hoped it would be! 

I started by bringing some white wine and chicken broth to a boil (maybe 1/2 cup of each). Then I added about 2 tablespoons butter, one cup half-and-half, one cup Gorgonzola. Simmer maybe five minutes, sauce will thicken somewhat. Add a sprinkle of pepper - the cheese is salty enough that you do not have to add additional salt!

Serve with grated Parmesan and fresh parsley:
OMG... He doesn't know what he's missing!

** Usually cream sauces call for heavy cream. Many times I substitute half and half because it is what I have on hand. Just know that it won't be as thick as it would've been using heavy cream, but the taste is the same!

Another way to use a Gorgonzola cream sauce is with steak.

Yes. Steak!

If you are hesitant at all, this recipe will make you fall in love with blue cheese!

Grilled ribeye steak with onion-Gorgonzola cream sauce

Grill your steak to perfection and then set it on top of this delectable sauce (courtesy of The Pioneer Woman). For original post, go to:

• melt one half stick of butter in the pan
• add one onion, sliced
• Cook over medium heat until onions caramelize (that is, start to get soft and brown)
• add 1 cup heavy cream (I use half-and-half) 
• Cook until heated through and starting to thicken (cream will take on the brownish color of the onions)
• Add 1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola. Heat through until melted, making sauce even thicker.
• Before serving, spoon the cream onto plate and top with your grilled ribeye.

I need to learn how to make an appetizer I had once at La Cupola in Litchfield. It was "steamed mussels in a Gorgonzola sauce". I thought I had died and gone to Heaven when I ate that. I just about licked the bowl! When I do figure out how to make it I'll be sure to share!

I love having the cheese on hand, we use it so much. 

Last night I sprinkled it on my steak salad.

It goes especially well with pears -sometimes I throw them both in a salad.

My oldest son mixes chicken breast strips with hot sauce and then adds the bleu cheese to make a buffalo chicken sandwich.

Once I made a cranberry-pear tart that had crumbled blue cheese on top. It was made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey. I'll have to find that recipe! That was so good!

What are ways that you use Bleu cheese? I am always looking for new ways to incorporate this favorite ingredient!

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