Tag Archives: blue cheese

Roasted Pears with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Another day, another salad! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe since pears were in season last fall. Oh well – our global food distribution system allows me to have fall fruits year-round, which is convenient for me, but maddening to Michael Pollan.

I love the combination of warm blue cheese, crunchy walnuts and sweet fruit. This recipe roasts the pears with that confetti-colored filling, basting in a mixture of apple juice and white wine. You then make a sweet salad dressing out of the basting liquid to serve with the pears on their bed of arugula.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Roasted Pears with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 3 ripe but firm pears
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (or cider)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine (or port)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 6 ounces baby arugula
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a melon baller and knife, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

In the same small bowl, combine the apple juice, wine, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and drizzle with salad dressing. Top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

These weren’t so good as leftovers, so I recommend just making enough for you and your dining companions. Reheating the pears makes them mushy and the sauce loses something. A wonderful first-course or part of a healthy soup-salad dinner for these cool spring evenings.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Blue Cheese and Walnut Shortbread Crackers

Like fish sauce, anchovies and hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese is one of those things that tastes better than it smells. And smell it I did, when I baked these shortbread crackers, or cookies, as they appear.

The smell of baking blue cheese will fill your house with that distinctive aroma, sure to drive away intruders who do not have a discerning nose. I quite liked the smell, which wafted up with the roasting walnuts and nutty shortbread. Indeed, these  crackers are delectable. Biting into them, you will at first be hit with a sense of saltiness and (somehow) cheddar cheese ( ? no idea why), which then gives way to pepper and a gentle breeze of blue cheese.

Delicious as an appetizer, along with some fresh fruit, perhaps some nuts and of course a full-bodied red wine. Exactly how I served them.

I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten, of course.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Shortbread Crackers

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 8 ounces blue cheese (Stilton, or, heck, you could use Gorgonzola), about 12 ounces with rind, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cheese together for 1 minute, or until smooth. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour, salt and pepper and mix until it’s in large crumbles, about 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon of water and mix until combined (Ina is so smart – the water and butter add the perfect amount of moisture to make a dough).

Dump the dough onto a floured board, press it into a ball, and roll into a 12-inch long log. Brush the log completely with the egg wash. Spread the walnuts in a square on a cutting board and roll the log back and forth in the walnuts, pressing lightly, and distributing them evenly on the outside of the log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 4 days.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut the chilled log 3/8ths-inch thick and place the crackers on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 22 minutes until very lightly browned. Rotate the pan once during baking. Cool on racks and serve at room temperature.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Rib-eye steak with blue-cheese butter and fried shallots

I’m usually not a HUGE fan of blue cheese, unless it is somehow mingling with red meat and butter. This adaptation on a Bon Appetit recipe showcases just how well blue cheese and steak marry. Adding fried shallots is just a delicious cherry on top. You may do this with any cut of steak, although many will say rib-eye is the best. Use whatever looks good in the discount meat bin.

Rib-eye steak with blue-cheese butter and fried shallots

Ingredients:

  • 2 steaks, seasoned well with salt and pepper
  • 3 T unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 T crumbled blue cheese, room temp
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large shallots, sliced into rings
  • EVOO

Prepare your grill with all-wood charcoal.

Using a fork, mix butter, blue cheese, lemon, parsley and pepper. Chill.

Heat 4-5 T EVOO over medium heat in a medium skillet. Add shallots and fry until crisp and golden. Drain and sprinkle with kosher salt.

Grill the steaks to desired doneness. Let rest 5 minutes before serving with a scoop of butter on top. Sprinkle with fried shallots. Ta-da!

The smokiness of the steak pairs with the smoky qualities of the cheese. Really, the butter is just there to bind everything together. Parsley and lemon give it a fresh taste and the shallots make you feel like you’re eating a much-easier onion ring.

We only used a tiny bit of the butter compote, so I twisted it up in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for the next red-meat recipe. Perhaps little beef sliders?

Enjoy, friends! xoxo