Tag Archives: bleu cheese

Steakhouse Dinner Date at Home

Recently, one of our favorite farms, Keepsake Farm & Dairy, received a fresh batch of beef from their butcher. We love purchasing our beef and dairy from the Place’s because we know that they have done everything they can to raise the cows properly (plus, it’s delicious!). In their new location on High St. in Nazareth, the cow’s can freely come and go between a large sheltered enclosure and a wide pasture. You can see the cheese making room from the store, and the milking parlor is just down the hall from where you can pick up a creamy gallon of raw milk or a wedge of bleu cheese. It’s always so nice to stop in at the farm store and catch up on the latest developments from John or have a cheerful conversation with his mom. The last time we were in, Keepsake was having a freezer clearing sale, so we stocked up on some cuts we normally don’t get.

Inspired by a delicious meal we had last fall in Maine while visiting my parents, we cooked up a fancy date night dinner of beef tenderloin and mushrooms in a simple red wine sauce. It’s a classic flavor combination that always tastes luxurious. We paired the meal with roasted lemon & bleu cheese potatoes and zesty spinach. This steakhouse-at-home meal is perfect for the kind of night where you bring out the candle sticks and put on an old black and white movie.

Steakhouse Dinner

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

Bleu Cheese & Lemon Roasted Potatoes Ingredients:

  • 1 oz. bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 4 medium red potatoes
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
Shallots & Garlic

Shallots & Garlic

Beef Tenderloin & Mushrooms Ingredients:
We were lucky enough to acquire some ramps, or wild leeks, yesterday. We didn’t have them when I made this dish, but they’d be a great replacement for the shallots and garlic!

  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 8 white or cremini mushrooms
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 lb beef tenderloin
  • 1/2 c. red wine
  • splash milk

Smokey Spicy Spinach Ingredients:

  • 4-6 c. fresh spinach leaves
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. hot paprika

Bleu Cheese & Lemon Roasted Potatoes Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Chop potatoes, skin on, into 1.5″ cubes and place in large bowl.
  3. Add olive oil, lemon juice and herbs. Toss so potatoes are evenly coated.
  4. Spread potatoes evenly in rectangular baking dish.
  5. Sprinkle with bleu cheese.
  6. Roast potatoes for 45 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Beef Tenderloin & Mushrooms Directions:

  1. Chop shallots and garlic.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in large skillet (I do not use a non-stick one for this, so I can scrape up the browned bits from the bottom when I deglaze the pan with wine.). Add shallots and garlic and sauté 2 minutes.

    Shallots & Garlic Sautéeing

    Shallots & Garlic Sautéeing

  3. Meanwhile, slice mushrooms, and add to skillet with herbs. Sauté an additional 2 minutes or until herbs are fragrant.

    Mushrooms Added

    Mushrooms & Herbs Added

  4. Slice beef crosswise into 1/4″ thick pieces. Season with salt and pepper and add to skillet.
  5. Cook beef with mushrooms, shallots & garlic, stirring frequently, until evenly browned.
  6. Add red wine to the pan, using a spatula to scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom. Reduce heat and simmer until beef is cooked to your liking, just a couple of minutes.
  7. Add a splash of milk to the pan and stir until well incorporated into the wine and warmed through.

    Beef Added

    The milk adds just a touch of creaminess to bring it all together.

Smokey Spicy Spinach Directions:

  1. Wash and dry spinach leaves, using a salad spinner, if you have one.
  2. Place spinach leaves with a few tablespoons of water in large skillet over medium heat. Cover and let cook until spinach leaves are wilted, tossing occasionally.
  3. Squeeze lemon juice over spinach, then sprinkle with paprika.
Steakhouse Dinner at Home

No need to spend $40 or more on a factory farmed steakhouse dinner in a restaurant, when you can create your own with ethically & sustainably raised food for way less money at home!


Leftover Do-Over: Gnocchi Gratin

Last week, I posted a recipe for kabocha gnocchi and detailed how I ended up with an obscene amount of the tender pasta. To make use of the leftovers I didn’t freeze, I scoured my fridge for ingredients to make something different with the gnocchi. Inspired by a recipe from Bon Appetit magazine, I concocted this gnocchi gratin with rosemary, bleu cheese and a pretzel-crumb topping. Plain gnocchi would work for this recipe, too, but the squash gnocchi really added an extra depth of flavor. And, bleu cheese phobics, give this a try! The bleu cheese is mellowed by the cream. You could also use gorgonzolla, or probably even sharp cheddar.

My camera battery was dead when I made this, so please pardon the lack of pictures!

Gnocchi Gratin

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups leftover cooked gnocchi (I used homemade kabocha squash gnocchi)
  • 1/2 small onion (Jett’s Produce)
  • 1 clove garlic (Apple Ridge Farm)
  • 1 c. whole milk or cream (I used raw milk from Keepsake Farm)
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary (from my garden)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 oz. bleu cheese (or other flavorful cheese)(I used bleu from Keepsake Farm)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/3 c. pretzels (Snyders of Hanover)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Dice onion and mince garlic.
  3. Melt 1T. butter over medium heat in small saucepan and add onion and garlic, cooking and stirring until onion is translucent.
  4. Add milk or cream, rosemary and black pepper; stir.
  5. Bring milk mixture to boil, then remove from heat and let sit 10-15 minutes.
  6. Crumble bleu cheese and mix half of it with milk mixture until smooth.
  7. Gently toss gnocchi with milk and cheese mixture, then transfer into 8×8″ deep-sided casserole dish.
  8. Sprinkle remaining bleu cheese on top of gnocchi.
  9. Crush pretzels and sprinkle over gnocchi.
  10. Dot with butter and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and crumbs are golden.
  11. Serve with sautéed greens, like kale or Swiss chard.

Fear-Inducing Foods

There are some foods that tend to induce fear in the masses. These foods tend not to be the really scary food products, like those that have been genetically modified or are full of chemical ingredients to make them “fat free” or whatever the latest trend is. Instead, they are some of the best foods to eat, and people virtually run screaming the other direction when faced with them!

While there are several foods with bad reps out there, I found myself facing a few of them in the kitchen a few days ago. Our CSA share included both Brussels  sprouts and beets! Aah! What was I going to do to turn these vegetables into something that my husband and I would enjoy? When we put down our deposit on the CSA share, we vowed that we would eat each and every vegetable that came our way, so I was committed to making a tasty dish.

After reading up on the vegetables at hand, I realized that I was dealing with some of the most valuable nutritious gold I could get. Brussels sprouts help your skin look great, encourage detox, help prevent birth defects, cancer and inflammation, plus contain lots of protein for energy. Beets are helpful in cancer treatment, increase the metabolism, help digestion, and decrease cholesterol. I am pretty sure both would be worth eating even if they tasted terrible.

The first time I cooked them up, I was a bit nervous and added a minimal amount bacon to help the flavor. This may seem odd after I just listed all the health aspects of the dish, but you are still getting those nutrients! I also added a few crumbles of bleu cheese, another ingredient that deterred me until a few months ago when we bought some absolutely phenomenal raw milk bleu cheese from Keepsake Farm. As it turned out, the bacon and cheese were unnecessary because we determined we really do enjoy the taste of the veggies (just roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper), but absolutely wonderful on the palette.

So, be brave, and try this recipe!

Roasted Beets & Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Bleu Cheese

Ingredients

Ingredients

The oh-so-scary ingredients

• 2 red beets (Heritage Farms CSA)
• 1/2 lb or so Brussels sprouts (Heritage Farms CSA)
• 1-2 slices bacon (this is uncured from Valley View Farm, frozen for easy slicing)
• bleu cheese, to taste (I used about a 1″x1″ chunk from Keepsake Farm)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Cook the bacon until just crisp, reserving drippings.
  3. Meanwhile, peel and cut beets into 1-1.5″ pieces. This will stain your hands, so wash them right away afterwards!
  4. Remove the tough outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts and cut off the thick stem. Rinse, drain, then cut each one in half.
  5. Combine chopped vegetables, bacon and drippings in baking pan, tossing to coat vegetables in bacon drippings.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  7. While hot, crumble bleu cheese over vegetables and mix.
  8. Be amazed at how NOT scary Brussels sprouts and beets are! Try a Brussels sprout and a beet on the same forkful—They balance each other out amazingly well.

[Note: Special thanks to reader Bruce M., who filled me in on the fact that the vegetable is called “Brussels Sprouts,” not “Brussel Sprouts.” Always happy to learn something new!]


Roly Poly Bleu Zucchini—It’s What’s For Dinner!

If you haven’t purchased or grown roly poly zucchini before, find your nearest farmers market and go buy one now! Not only are they adorable, but they are perfect for stuffing or using as bowls for soup or stew. My father grew these in his garden when I was young, and I will never forget the chicken stew (called Chicken a la Kane, like all his other dishes, with no reproducible recipe) he served in them for dinner one night. It was absolutely delicious, and the edible squash bowl was better than any bread bowl I ever had. So, when two golden beauties showed up in our CSA share, I was ecstatic!

These round squash beg to be stuffed, but I was out of bread crumbs like I normally use for stuffed zucchini and didn’t have time to make more before yoga class. So, I had to do some fridge digging for a starchy alternative. A nice fresh ear of corn caught my eye, and boy am I glad I used it! These were a welcome departure from the usual stuffed squash—Lighter, refreshing and full of summer flavor.

Roly Poly Bleu Zucchini

Ingredients:

Roly Poly Bleu Zucchini Ingredients

All local, full of vitamins & nutrients, inexpensive & delicious!

Easton Salsa Company 2011 Farmers Market Hot Sauce

Last minute addition!

• 2 roly poly zucchini (from Heritage Farms CSA, would work with long ones, too)
• 1 onion (from Heritage Farms CSA)
• 1 ear of corn (from Traugers)
• 3 plum tomatoes (from my own garden)
• a couple of dashes hot sauce (I used Easton Salsa Company 2011 Farmers Market sauce)
• bleu cheese, to taste (I used a 1.5″x1.5″ chunk of raw milk bleu from Klein Farms)
• handful of fresh basil leaves (from my own garden)
• a few sprigs of thyme (from my own garden)
• 1 egg (from Valley View Farm)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut off the stem end of the zucchinis, about 1/2″ down. Scoop out the inside, leaving about a 1/4″ shell. Save the pulp in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the inside of the zucchini shells with some salt and set upside down on a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  3. Chop the zucchini pulp and return to the bowl (mine turned out a bit watery, so you might want to squeeze out a bit of the liquid).
  4. Carefully remove corn kernels from cob (Click here to see a great post/video about how to do this without making a mess!) and add to the zucchini pulp.
  5. Cut two slices from the plum tomatoes and set aside. Dice the remaining plum tomatoes and add to zucchini and corn mixture.
  6. Dice onion and sauté for 2 minutes in large skillet. Add vegetable mixture and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  7. While the veggies are cooking, finely chop the basil & thyme and crumble the bleu cheese.
  8. Once the liquid has evaporated from the skillet, stir in the cheese and herbs.

    Veggie, cheese and herb filling

    Veggie, cheese and herb filling

  9. Transfer veggie mixture back to bowl and add the egg, stirring well. (If you do this in the skillet, you might end up with a fried egg.)
  10. Pat out the zucchini shells with a paper towel and place on a baking sheet.
  11. Spoon the filling into the shells and top with the saved tomato slices.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes.
  13. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

    Roly Poly Bleu Zucchini

    Mine had a little juice left in it, but it was still tasty and I got to sop it up with bread. If you don't want the liquid on your plate, squeeze out the zucchini pulp a bit.


What’s for Dinner?

Can you figure out what I made for a weekend dinner based on these local ingredients? Check back for the recipe on Friday and see if you were right!

Zucchini Ingredients

roly poly zucchini, corn on the cob, onion, plum tomato, egg, bleu cheese, basil, thyme


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