BLEU IS NOT BLAH-EASY BLUE CHEESE DRESSING AND HOW TO SELECT A GOOD BLUE CHEESE

BLEU IS NOT BLAH-EASY BLUE CHEESE DRESSING AND HOW TO SELECT A GOOD BLUE CHEESE

BLEU IS NOT BLAH-EASY BLUE CHEESE DRESSING AND HOW TO SELECT A GOOD BLUE CHEESE

Ingredients

Bleu is not Blah

Blue Cheeses and the Blue Cheese dressing

This is a classic blue cheese dressing I make all the time because it is easy and delicious.Literally blitz the ingredients in a mixer and you are done. Blue cheese dressing is an American creation. Litehouse, an American company claims to be the first to have bottled and sold this dressing 60 years ago.

I have as yet to find the original source for the blue cheese dressing recipe. Some say it was Fannie Merritt May in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook first published in 1896. I looked up my 1905 copy and found 2 recipes with Roquefort but they are not blue cheese dressing.

Many folks think of blue cheese as a 'stinky' cheese because it is treated with a mold called Penicullum, which gives it the characteristic blue and white veining and the sharp taste. But not all blue cheese are malodorous. Infact many of the best known blue cheeses such as Danish Blu and Gorgonzola are mild. And there are many Bries, Gruyere and other cheeses for instance the Époisses de Bourgogne and the Ouleout that are far more pungent than most blue cheese I've ever had.

Cheeses with washed rinds that have been treated with alcohol, water, ash even and aged for long periods allow for yeast to grow and can make the product very strong smelling. Often the smell comes from the rind of the cheese, while the edible part inside remains delicately flavored.

So the poor blue cheese gets a bad reputation it doesn't deserve among those who don't like bold flavours.

Blue cheese has Umami and used correctly can really lift the flavour of a dish. So even if you don't enjoy eating it as a cheese, consider it in dishes like pastas, salads, fondues. Don't dismiss it- you could be missing out on something wonderful.

The smelly factor and the price can really vary depending on the kind of blue cheese you use. Blue cheese is made with many different kinds of milk- pasteurised and unpasteurized, (sheep, cow, goat) and can be firm like the Norwegian Gamalost or the English Dorset Vinney, semi-hard like Picón Bejes-Tresviso, semi soft like Danish blue and soft like Oxford Blue and Dovedale.

For this dressing you need a semi soft crumbly cheese, preferably one without a rind like the American made Maytag blu (a personal favourite for eating and cooking) Gorgonzola or Danish Blue are good choices. If you are doing a pasta with blue cheese or a fondue you could consider an even softer cheese like the Bavarian Cambozola that will melt easily into the sauce. For a cheese plate you can pair slightly harder blue cheese like Stilton with pears, apples, quince and honey.

Gorgonzola, considered the oldest of blue cheeses dating back to the 9th century A.D. is Italian and made from cows or goats milk, sometimes both and Roquefort- the King of French cheese is made from ewe's milk. Roquefort is a sharp cheese, Gorgonzola is less so. An aged St Agur or the Spanish Cabrales can be even sharper.

Blue cheeses are produced by many different countries though Roquefort was the first cheese in France in 1925 to receive the Appellation D'Origin, which means it can only be called Roquefort if it is aged in specific caves, the milk comes from a specific breed, even the Pencillum mold known as Roqueforti must come from the caves of the Roquefort sur Soulzon.

For a blue cheese dressing to work it must have just enough blue cheese in it to give it a kick. So depending on the strength of the cheese you use add more or less to your taste. Traditionally blue cheese dressing, an American creation is a thick and creamy dressing.

If you want a lower fat version of this I have a blue cheese vinaigrette recipe in my cookbook #anindiansenseofsalad available in bookshops and online.

Blue cheese dressing is also delicious with buffalo chicken, bacon, apples, pears, honey, quince, chocolate, port, ales, pecans and spinach.

The recipe of the dressing is below. You can find the recipe for the pear and walnut salad here

http://www.taradeshpande.in/pear-walnut-and-…-cheese-dressing/

If you can't find butter lettuce use romaine or iceberg.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING AS BLUE CHEESE

If you want a milder, less sharp sweeter blue, look for a young and preferably without rind blue cheese- though there are always exceptions.

When you first open a blue cheese you get a sharp whiff of ammonia. This can be off-putting but wait 5 minutes, let the cheese breathe and slowly its complex and nutty aromas will emerge.

Blue cheese doesn't freeze well and should be consumed in 7-8 days. If your cheese smells of acetone or is sticky and pink, jettison it tout de suite.

Another great recipe for an entree with blue cheese http://www.taradeshpande.in/pasta-with-gorgo…pears-and-chives/

I'll be posting lots of fun facts about blue cheese on twitter @Tara_Deshpande

Many famous American blue cheeses were actually created in University labs like Maytag in 1941 in Iowa and Clemson blue by the College of South Carolina.

Before Wang discovered penicillin cheese was used in medieval Europe to control gangrene.

FOR 2.5 CUPS OF DRESSING

1 CUP STRAINED YOGURT OR USE GREEK YOGURT (NOT SOUR)

1 CUP BLUE CHEESE SUCH AS MAYTAG BLU OR ROQUEFORT OR A SEMI SOFT ONE OF YOUR CHOICE (RIND REMOVED IF APPLICABLE)

3/4 CUP PLAIN BUTTER MILK

1/2 CUP MAYONNAISE (WITH OR WITHOUT EGG)

3 CLOVES GARLIC

1/2 TEAPSOON GRANULATED OR CASTOR SUGAR

1/2 TEAPSOON GROUND WHITE PEPPER

2 TEAPSOONS LEMON OR LIME JUICE

KITCHEN SALT TO TASTE

TO GARNISH

4 TEASPOONS FINELY CHOPPED SHALLOTS OR WHITE ONION

2 TEASPOONS SHERRY WINE VINEGAR OR USE RED WINE VINEGAR

1/2 CUP SEMI SOFT BLUE CHEESE CRUMBLED

Instructions

COMBINE THE ONIONS AND WHITE VINEGAR AND LET SIT 30 MINUTES IN THE FRIDGE.

BLEND ALL THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE DRESSING IN FOOD PROCESSOR.

MANUALLY STIR IN THE CRUMBLED BLUE CHEESE AND ONIONS WITH A WHISK OR FORK. ADD SALT TO TASTE. ADJUST FOR SUGAR AND VINEGAR.

KEEP COVERED AND REFRIGERATED FOR UPTO 48 HOURS.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/bleu-is-not-blah-easy-blue-cheese-dressing-and-how-to-select-a-good-blue-cheese/

PEAR, WALNUT AND LETTUCE SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

PEAR, WALNUT AND LETTUCE SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

PEAR, WALNUT AND LETTUCE SALAD WITH BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

Ingredients

FOR THE BLUE CHEESE DRESSING REFER HERE

http://www.taradeshpande.in/bleu-is-not-blah…good-blue-cheese/ ‎

SERVES 6

2 HEADS OF BOSTON,BIBB OR BUTTER LETTUCE, USE ICEBERG OR ROMAINE

2.5 CUPS OF BLUE CHEESE DRESSING

1 CUP LIGHTLY TOASTED, SKINNED WALNUT PIECES

5 SEMI FIRM BARTLETT OR ANJOU PEARS, CORED AND CUT INTO 6 LONG SEGMENTS

Instructions

PREPARE THE LETTUCE FOR THE SALAD. REMOVE THE STALKS WITH A SHARP KNIFE AND USING YOUR HANDS TEARS THE LEAVES APART ONE BY ONE.

DIP LIGHTLY IN COOL WATER AND THEN RUN THROUGH A SALAD SPINNER

DIIVIDE UP BETWEEN 6 BOWLS. DIVIDE THE PEARS AND THE WALNUTS BETWEEN THE BOWLS. SERVE THE DRESSING ON THE SIDE.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/pear-walnut-and-lettuce-salad-with-blue-cheese-dressing/

RIPE CHERRY, WALNUT AND MIXED GREEN SALAD

RIPE CHERRY, WALNUT AND MIXED GREEN SALAD

RIPE CHERRY, WALNUT AND MIXED GREEN SALAD

Ingredients

Cherries are grown in colder climates all over the north and north east of India. In Nagaland they have a unique history. In 1944, the Japanese 15th army occupied Garrison Hill in Kohima, Nagaland. They used a cherry tree near by for sniper practice. What followed was one of the greatest wars ever fought. A small band of British and India troops besieged and outnumbered, halted the Japanese invasion of India. A branch grafted from this cherry tree now lies over the memorial commemorating the sacrifice of 917 brave Indians. Yet many Indians have never heard of ‘The Battle Under The Cherry Tree’.

In the USA some cherry varieties hold meaningful stories. Seth Lewelling, a Quaker and Abolitionist introduced the The Black Republican cherry in 1860. He was largely responsible for founding Oregon’s cherry industry. He named this fruit in honor of the Black Republicans, members of the Republican Party who opposed slavery.

India grows many varieties of cherries but only a few ever get to the markets in the big cities and that too for a very brief period. Cherries are great in salads, make superb jams, can be added to roasted meats and pureed to make gelato and sorbet.

Here is a simple green salad with seasonal cherries that pair wonderfully with toasted walnuts.

Ingredients (serves 5)

1 cup pitted or unpitted red cherries

½ cup skinned and lightly toasted walnuts

½ cup flat leaf parsley

3 cups rocket or arugula, washed, stalks removed or a green of your choice

For the dressing

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or syrup (Monin or a brand of your choice)

½ cup olive oil

Juice of one lime

1 tsp honey (omit if molasses are very sweet)

1 tsp mustard paste (such as Dijon)

¼ cup finely sliced onions

1 tsp salt

Instructions

1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

For the salad

1. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the contents of the bowl. Toss, taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/ripe-cherry-walnut-and-mixed-green-salad/

SIMPLE BALLED MUSKMELON SALAD

SIMPLE BALLED CANTALOUPE SALAD

SIMPLE BALLED CANTALOUPE SALAD

Ingredients

MUSKMELON IS A FAMILY OF MELONS THAT INCLUDE MANY VARIETIES LIKE CANTALOUPE, KOREAN,HONEYDEW,CANARY AND SUGAR MELON. THEY ALL BELONG TO THE GENUS CUCUMIS UNLIKE WATERMELON AND ASH GOURD OR WINTER MELON THAT COME FROM A DIFFERENT STRAIN. CHINA IS THE LARGEST PRODUCER OF MELONS. IN INDIA THEY ARE IN SEASON APRIL TO JULY. CANTALOUPE IS A GOOD SOURCE OF VITAMIN A AND C AND IS 90% WATER.

I LIKE TO SERVE MUSKMELON CHILLED AS AN APPETIZER BUT ITS ALSO GOOD AS A SALAD, PALATE CLEANSER AND DESSERT ON A HOT SUMMER DAY.

IN AN INDIAN SENSE OF SALAD YOU WILL FIND A RECIPE FOR MELON DILLON KA WITH SAFFRON OIL.

SERVES 4 SMALL PORTIONS

ONE CANTALOUPE, RIPE, HALVED, SEEDS REMOVED

BALLING TOOL

FOR THE SEASONING

PINCH OF FINELY GROUND BLACK SALAT OR KALA NAMAK

PINCH OF FINELY POWDERED PAPRIKA

A SQUEEZE OF LIME JUICE

Instructions

USING THE BALLING TOOL SCOOP OUT ROUND BALLS FROM THE MELONS FLESH AND PLACE THEM IN SMALL 4 OZ SERVING CUPS. PILE THEM UP ONE OVER THE OTHER.

KEEP COVERED AND CHILLED IN THE FRIDGE UNTIL YOU ARE READY TO SERVE THEM FOR UPTO 4 HOURS.

SERVE COLD WITH CRUSHED SALT, WEDGES OF LIME AND GROUND PAPRIKA ON THE SIDE FOR PEOPLE TO HELP THEMSELVES. THIS SEASONING SHOULD ONLY GO ON WHEN YOU ARE READY TO SERVE THE MELON BECAUSE SALT LEACHES WATER AND THE MELONS WILL LOOSE THEIR FIRMNESS IF SALTED IN ADVANCE.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/simple-balled-muskmelon-salad/

Candied Walnuts and Pecans

Candied Walnuts and Pecans

Candied Walnuts and Pecans

Ingredients

A great way to use leftover egg whites. These candied nuts are excellent in salads, with hot fudge sundaes, as a cocktail appetizer and a snack when you feel like grazing.

2 egg whites

250 grams walnuts, skins lightly removed or pecan wholes

1/4 cup sugar powder in a mixer

1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional powdered cumin/cayenne pepper/chai masala/pumpkin pie spice mix/allspice/Tabasco sauce/habanero sauce

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix the nuts with the egg whites in a large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Lay out the nuts one by one on the parchment lined trays. Bake 25 minutes or until golden, fragrant and crisp.

Cool completely and refrigerate in airtight boxes, bottles or zipped bags. Keeps for several weeks -if you can resist them!

http://www.taradeshpande.in/candied-walnuts-and-pecans/

Fresh Pea, Mint and Orange salad

Fresh Pea, Mint and Orange salad

Fresh Pea, Mint and Orange salad

Fresh Peas, Mint and Orange Salad

Ingredients

Serves 4

250 gram shelled baby peas, washed

2 ripe Navel oranges or Indian Nagpur Santra

10-12 fresh mint leaves, washed

3/4 cup soft cheese such as feta, goat's milk or ricotta

3-4 baby peas in their pods spliced open

Dressing

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or Juice of one lime

1/2 teaspoon golden honey

1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Shake or whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing. Taste for salt.

Toss the peas in the dressing and refrigerate covered for 15 minutes.

Peel the oranges and reserve the peel. Remove the skin off the segments of each Nagpuri santra and discard pith and seeds. If using navel orange cut the orange flesh into small pieces and remove all the pith and seeds.

Remove soaked peas from the fridge. Taste for salt and sweetness-adjust if required.

Pour soaked peas in a serving bowl.

Garnish with mint leaves, cheese of your choice and orange segments. Lastly grate some of the orange zest from the peel over the salad.

Serve immediately.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/fresh-pea-mint-and-orange-salad/

WATERMELON WEDGES WITH TEQUILA LIME DRESSING

WATERMELON WEDGES WITH TEQUILA LIME DRESSING

WATERMELON WEDGES WITH TEQUILA LIME DRESSING

Ingredients

This raw salad is a margarita on a plate. It should be served with fruit knives and forks. If you prefer you can also discard the rind and cube the watermelon instead and serve it as a tossed salad.

FOR SALAD 1 wedge per person

1 small chilled watermelon cut into 12 wedges (3-31/2 inch triangles)

1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves

1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian basil (optional)

1 tablespoon pine nuts lightly toasted (optional)

Wedges of lime to garnish (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING

2 tablespoons gold tequila

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon peeled and finely grated fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon red chillie flakes pounded lightly (not powder)

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

Shake all the ingredients for the dressing together in a small jar. Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight.

Place wedges on a large serving tray or in small individual plates. Sprinkle with pine nuts, basil and mint.

Shake the dressing in the jar again and taste for salt. Spoon over the wedges. Serve immediately.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/watermelon-wedges-with-tequila-lime-dressing/
Sunshine Salad

SUNSHINE SALAD

SUNSHINE SALAD

SUNSHINE SALAD

Ingredients

We all need a little sunshine now and then!

This salad has an infused dressing so make it the previous night and let the spices flavor the vinaigrette. Tastes great with a simple grilled chicken or fish.

FOR 6-8 PERSONS

FOR THE SALAD

3 Navel oranges cut into 4 round slices, seeds and peel removed

3 Mosambis cut into 4 round slices, seeds and peel removed

12 thin slices of skinned fresh pineapple

Sprigs of coriander, a few thai bird chillies and lime leaves to garnish

A few toasted seeds of whole coriander and fennel (optional)

FOR THE SALAD DRESSING/VINAIGRETTE

2/3 cup grapeseed or unflavored vegetable oil

3 tablespoons lime juice

zest of one lime

2 small Thai bird chillies very finely minced

1 or 2 teaspoons golden honey (to taste)

5 lime leaves (kaffir) finely sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 teaspoon fennel or saunf seeds

1.5 teaspoons coriander seeds

Instructions

Toast the fennel and coriander seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat about 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Reserve 2-3 seeds each of fennel and coriander as a garnish. Cool the rest and pound in a mortar until only coarsely ground.

Combine with all the salad dressing ingredients in a jar, shake well and refrigerate overnight.

Remove dressing from the fridge shake again.

Strain the dressing through a small sieve. Discard the pieces and leaves.

Taste the vinaigrette for salt and sweetness and adjust with more salt and honey. Remember the fruit is also sweet.

TO ASSEMBLE

Arrange the salad on a large round plate. Remove any peel or white pith around the rings of fruit using a sharp paring knife.

Place the pineapple rings at the bottom in a circle. Drizzle lightly with dressing. Layer over the pineapple alternately with oranges and mosambi. Drizzle generously with the remaining dressing. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. allow the dressing to seep into the fruit.

Garnish with sprigs of coriander, a few coriander and fennel seeds, chillies and lime leaves before you serve it.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/sunshine-salad/

THAI LARB SALMON OR TOFU

THAI LARB SALMON OR TOFU

THAI LARB SALMON OR TOFU

Ingredients

SERVES 4

FOR DRESSING

60 ML LIME JUICE

1/4 CUP FISH SAUCE OR 2 TABLESPOONS FERMENTED BROWN BEAN PASTE

1/4 CUP RICE WINE VINEGAR

40 GRAMS PALM SUGAR OR BROWN SUGAR

25 GRAMS RICE FLOUR LIGHTLY DRY ROASTED IN A PAN

4 GREEN CHILLIES FINELY CHOPPED

SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

FOR SALAD

250 GRAMS SALMON FILLET OR CHUNKS OF EXTRA FIRM TOFU

3/4 CUP FINELY SALAD RED OR WHITE ONIONS

225 GRAMS CLEAN, FRESH, CRISP MIXED SALAD LEAVES- ROMAINE, ICEBERG, LOLO ROSSO, RED OAK LEAF

20 LEAVES OF SPICY BASIL

20 LEAVES MINT

20 SMALL FRONDS OF DILL OR SEPU (SMALL LEAVES WITHOUT STALKS)

2TBSP VEGETABLE OIL

Instructions

HEAT 2 TABLESPOONS OIL IN A NON-STICK SKILLET ON MEDIUM HEAT AND FRY SALMON FILLETS OR TOFU UNTIL GOLDEN ON ALL SIDES AND FULLY COOKED. CUT SALMON INTO SMALLER PIECES ABOUT 2 INCH CUBES. RESERVE.

MIX TOGETHER ALL INGREDIENTS FOR THE DRESSING UNTIL SUGAR DISSOLVES. SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER. ADJUST SWEET AND SALT TO TASTE.

TO ASSEMBLE DIVIDE SALAD GREENS, ONIONS, MINT, DILL AND BASIL AMONG 4 PLATES. TOP WITH SALMON OR TOFU. DIVIDE DRESSING INTO 4 EQUAL PORTIONS AND SERVE ALONG SIDE SALAD

YOU CAN PREPARE THIS AS A SINGLE SALAD BUT IT SHOULD BE SERVED AS SOON AS ITS DRESSED.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/thai-larb-salmon-or-tofu/

WARM SALAD OF GRILLED FIGS AND KALE WITH CORIANDER AND ORANGE DRESSING

WARM SALAD OF GRILLED FIGS AND KALE WITH CORIANDER AND ORANGE

WARM SALAD OF GRILLED FIGS AND KALE WITH CORIANDER AND ORANGE

grilled fresh figs and kale salad

Ingredients

SERVES 4

4 RIPE FIGS WASHED, STALKS REMOVE AND HALVED LENGTHWISE

100 GRAMS KALE WASHED AND TORN

1.5 TABLESPOON UNFLAVORED VEGETABLE OIL

2 TABLESPOONS TOASTED PINE NUTS OR CHAROLI NUTS

100 GRAMS FRESH SOFT PANEER DIVIDED INTO 8 EQUAL PIECES OR BURRATA

8 OLIVES OF YOUR CHOICE

FOR DRESSING

3 TABLESPOONS ORANGE JUICE

1/4 TSP FRESHLY GROUND AND FINELY ROASTED CORIANDER SEEDS

4 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL

JUICE OF 1/2 A LIME

ZEST OF HALF A LIME

SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE

Instructions

WHISK THE INGREDIENTS TOGETHER FOR THE SALAD DRESSING. ADD SALT TO TASTE. RESERVE.

HEAT 1.5 TABLESPOONS OF VEGETABLE OIL IN A SKILLET ON MEDIUM HEAT AND GRILL THE FIGS ON BOTH SIDES ABOUT 3-4 MINUTES. DRAIN ON TO A PLATE WITH TONGS. SPRINKLE LIGHTLY WITH SALT AND PEPPER AND RESERVE.

ADD THE DRESSING TO THE WARM PAN AND SWIRL IT ABOUT FOR A MINUTE. STRAIN AND RESERVE DRESSING.

TO ASSEMBLE

DIVIDE KALE LEAVES AMONG 4 PLATES. PLACE THE PANEER OR CHEESE OF YOUR CHOICE ON THE KALE. TOP WITH TWO PIECES OF WARM FIGS. DIVIDE WARM DRESSING INTO FOUR PARTS AND DRIZZLE EACH PLATE. SPRINKLE WITH NUTS AND OLIVES. SERVE IMMEDIATELY

http://www.taradeshpande.in/warm-salad-of-grilled-figs-and-kale-with-coriander-and-orange-dressing/