Posts Tagged ‘blue cheese’

Cookbook Review: Barefoot Contessa At Home (Plus, Blue Cheese Coleslaw)

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Sometimes I wish that I could grow up to be the Barefoot Contessa. No, really. She has a gorgeous house, as far as I can tell, she spends her life having people over for brunch, lunch, or dinner, grows all of her own herbs, buys the best possible ingredients, and everything she makes is somehow beautiful and elegant. So naturally, I love her cookbooks.

I got a new one for Christmas, Barefoot Contessa At Home. Just like Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, (see my review here) this book is full of fabulous recipes and gorgeous glossy photographs. I find myself wanting to try something new every time I turn the page.

After an extensive introduction, the book is divided into sections for Soup & Sandwiches, Salads, Dinner, Veggies, Desserts, Breakfast, and followed other other resources about visiting the Hamptons and planning out party menus. Here’s a list of the recipes in each section:

  1. Soup & Sandwich: California BLT’s, Summer Borscht, Caesar Club Sandwich, Mexican Chicken Soup, Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Ribollita, Smoked Salmon & Egg Salad Tartines, Fresh Pea Soup, Garlic Croutons, Roasted Pepper & Goat Cheese Sandwiches, Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup, Tomato Mozzarella & Pesto Panini, Shrimp Bisque, and Honey White Bread.
  2. Salads: Heirloom Tomatoes with Blue Cheese Dressing, Chicken Salad Veronique, Grilled Tuna Salad, Bibb Salad with Basil Green Goddess Dressing, Jon Snow’s Fish Salad, Roasted Shrimp & Orzo, Pesto Pea Salad, Warm Duck Salad, Tomato Feta Salad, Blue Cheese Coleslaw (recipe below), Guacamole Salad, and Old-Fashioned Potato Salad.
  3. Dinner: Blue Cheese Burgers, Cornish Hens with Cornbread Stuffing; Chicken Piccata; Lamb Kebabs with Couscous; Roast Capon; Loin of Pork with Fennel, Stuffed Cabbage, Rib-Eye Steaks with Cornmeal-Fried Onion Rings, Portobello Mushroom Lasagna, Chicken with Goat Cheese & Basil, Seafood Gratin, Eli’s Asian Salmon, Lmon Fusilli with Arugula, Summer Garden Pasta, Seared Tuna with Mango Chutney, Easy Lobster Paella.
  4. Vegetables: Garlic & Herb Tomatoes, Orange-Honey Glazed Carrots, Broccolini & Balsamic Vinaigrette, Zucchini Pancakes, Herbed Basmati Rice, Green Green Spring Vegetables, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Stewed Lentils & Tomatoes, Parmesan-Roasted Cauliflower, Creamy Rosemary Polenta, Broccoli Rabe with Garlic, Maple Baked Beans, Mustard-Roasted Potatoes, Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, Herb Roasted Onions
  5. Desserts: Frozen Berries with Hot White Chocolate, Beatty’s Chocolate Cake, Lemon Yogurt Cake, Peanut Butter & Jelly Bars, Mixed Berry Pavlova, Coconut Cake, Pumpkin Mousse Parfait, Chocolate Sorbet, Black & White Angel Food Cake, Chocolate Cupcakes & Peanut Butter Icing, Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries, Ultimate Ginger Cookie, Fruitcake Cookies, Peach  & Blueberry Crumbles, Pear Apple & Cranberry Crisp, Summer Fruit Crostata, Caramel Pecan Sundaes.
  6. Tri-Berry Muffins, Cranberry Orange Scones, Chunky Banana Bran Muffins, Easy Cheese Danish, Omelet for Two, Scrambled Eggs & Salmon, Maple-Roasted Bacon, Breakfast Fruit Crunch, Sunday Morning Oatmeal, Blueberry Crumb Cake, Anna’s Orange Marmalade, Irish Soda Bread, Fresh Peach Bellinis, Spicy Bloody Marys.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic? All of it, I mean? If I was going to have my own Julie & Julia challenge, I think I’d work my way through Ina Garten’s recipes. At the very least, there’d be more lobster in my life.

Finally, as a sneak peak, here’s my adaptation of Ina’s Blue Cheese Coleslaw.

Blue Cheese Coleslaw
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa At Home

  • 2 cups shredded cole slaw mix
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, two mustards, vinegar, celery salt, kosher salt, and pepper. Place the shredded cole slaw mix in a large bowl. Pour enough of the mayonnaise dressing over the vegetables to moisten, and toss well. Add the cheese and parsley and toss together. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to meld.

Very, very tasty. If you’re a fan of blue cheese dressing, you should give this one a try.

Lettuce Wedges with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Since Valentine’s Day was a fancy steakhouse dinner, we started the meal with a fancy steakhouse salad. The dressing recipe comes from allrecipes.com, with a few substitutions. The dressing was very, very good–the milk was my own addition, because the basic recipe was so thick  that it would have been more at home with chicken wings than it would have been on a salad. No worries though. The milk thinned it out just enough for a salad dressing that was rich and creamy.

The one problem: It had me craving buffalo wings.

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Lettuce Wedges with Bacon and Blue Cheese Dressing

For the Salad:

  • 1 romaine heart, split into four wedges
  • 1 large tomato, seeded & diced
  • 1/2 lb bacon, fried until crisp, crumbled
  • freshly ground black pepper

For the Dressing:

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. Season with mustard, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in blue cheese. Whisk in milk, a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. Cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.
  2. Place lettuce wedge on a plate, drizzle with dressing, top with tomatoes, and sprinkle with bacon crumbles. Finish with cracked black pepper to taste.

Note: We were lucky enough to find decent tasting tomatoes in February, which helped make this salad taste so great. The dressing was rich, but overall, the salad was crisp and fresh and just delicious. I can’t wait to repeat this recipe with fresh summer tomatoes.

New York Strip Steaks with Blue Cheese Butter Crust

Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

We don’t make steaks very often around here, though I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t think it’s the cost, because we’re happy to spend too much money for a fancy cheese or a quality wine. I don’t mind though, because when we do make steak, it’s usually a treat, and this Valentine’s Day was no exception. The meal we threw together was pretty spectacular, actually. I teased you with it in my Valentine’s Day post…here’s our recipe for fabulous New York Strip Steaks with a Blue Cheese Butter Crust.

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New York Strip Steaks with a Blue Cheese Butter Crust
Adapted from Alton Brown’s recipe for Pan Seared Steaks

For the crumb topping:

  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 ounces blue cheese (Something good quality and creamy, like a maytag or gorgonzola–not the dry crumbles sold for salad)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko Japanese style bread crumbs

For the steaks:

  • 4 new york strip steaks, 1 1/2-inch thick
  • Canola oil to coat
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions

Place 10 to 12-inch cast iron skillet in oven and heat oven to 500 degrees. Bring steak(s) to room temperature.

To prepare the crumb topping, combine butter, garlic, and blue cheese in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on high at 15 second intervals until the cheese and butter are melted completely. Season with fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Stir in bread crumbs and set aside.

When oven reaches temperature, remove pan and place on range over high heat. Coat steak lightly with oil and season both sides with a generous pinch of salt. Grind on black pepper to taste.

Immediately place steak in the middle of hot, dry pan. Cook 30 seconds without moving. Turn with tongs and cook another 30 seconds, then put the pan straight into the oven for 2 minutes. Flip steak, top with bread crumbs and cook for another 2 minutes. (This time is for medium rare steaks. If you prefer medium, add a minute to both of the oven turns.)

Remove steak from pan, cover loosely with foil, and rest for 2 minutes before serving.

Note: This tasted amazing, though the bread crumbs didn’t get as crispy as I would have liked. The flavor was spot-on, though, and elevated a good steak to something great. Next time, we plan to incorporate a minute under the broiler to crisp up the topping a little bit. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do anything differently.

As an added bit of cuteness, David and I went to Wildfire the night we got engaged, and this steak was a surprisingly good recreation of the filet medallions with blue cheese crust that I had for dinner that night. A nice touch for Valentine’s dinner, I think.