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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Blue Cheese Dressing


In a glass dish on my Mother's stove a block of half frozen, bloody pot-roast is thawing. Bloody not in the sense of "oozing fluids" but as in "damn is pot-roast ever good!" What? Yes, I do eat red meat. But, my carnivorous habits have been influenced by two distinctive forces. Firstly, I became less dining-hall dependent and my diet shifted away from chicken quesadillas and burgers and slabs of pork loin (which I also love) to in-season veggies, measure yourself grains and econo sized tubs of yogurt. This was partially because I could get a lot of veggies and fruit for $20 and largely because I function splendidly on things that taste like cardboard or have ridiculous fibrous tendrils and caches of vitamins. Secondly, I am not a 20-35 something male who lusts after red meat and bacon.

Yes, red meat and bacon. I was amazed recently when my boss (35) and my boyfriend (a fresh 22) both expressed powerful cravings for a particular blue-cheese-and-bacon-chain-fast-food burger on distinctively different occasions. Within the week both of them had consumed and raved about the flavors, the surprisingly delicious quality and, of course, the blue cheese and bacon crumbles. Really, that greasy patty with that run of the mill gummy little white bun?! Blue cheese and beef is not a new combination by any means but I was shocked at the immediacy, the sheer and inexorable passion they had to consume the burger. So much so that as soon as I saw the recipe for blue cheese dressing in "Bon Appettit Keep it Simple" (2002) I knew I would need to find an occasion to share it's moldy, pungent bounty.

Knowing that my boyfriend was visiting this weekend the pot-roast was resurrected from the freezer by my indulgent and forgiving Mother (forgiving because I could never consume the amount of food she would like to cook for me). And while I am never more happy than when my plate is steaming full of pot roast with the pile of mashed potatoes gurgling in frothy homemade gravy, with nary a sauce packet or cornstarch in sight, I think I can afford to extend my pot-roast repertoire a little. Call me generous, call me crazy but a small wedge of blue cheese is decidedly available to students at a reasonable $4.50. Compared to other cheeses a little goes a long way and it keeps well too. Plus, who doesn't have a packet of hot sauce in their fridge and a wanton jar of mayo? This dressing is simple and affordable with expensive steakhouse flavor.

The recipe below was for salad dressing but you may need to do a little tweaking. I am not a devoted fan of blue cheese, much less blue cheese dressing, and for me the consistency seemed a little thick. As is it is great for spreading on a burger or dipping celery and carrot sticks in but if you intend to drizzle you may need to think the dressing down. A few slices of crumbled bacon would also make a great salad addition. I added a 1/4 teaspoon spicy mustard because I can't get enough of the stuff. And while I will not go into the simple but delicate art of a good pot roast here today... the next time your parents try and send you back to school with an arsenal of freezer leftovers, don't pass up the pot roast or the homemade hamburger. You're never less of a man for having full freezer.

Shopping List:

Sour cream, 8 ounces
Blue cheese, as many ounces as your budget can afford
Worcestershire sauce (if you don't have any already)
Parmesan cheese
Quart of Milk or Buttermilk*
*the original calls for a 1/4 a cup, a measly amount but you may need to add more to attain your desired consistency


1/2 cup mayonnaise, scant
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sour cream
1/4 cup milk/buttermilk (maybe more)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce or (I used soy sauce the first time)
1/4 teaspoon vinegar
1-2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon spicy mustard
dash hot sauce or cayenne pepper
1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
chives or parsley, finely chopped(optional for garnish)

1. Mix the sour cream, mayo, milk, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and hot sauce in a small bowl.
2. If you are using a wedge of cheese cut the rind away (this is the powdery looking hard outer layer that protects the cheese) and discard. Add the crumbled blue cheese and fold gently. Serve over a salad or with your favorite burger.

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