Showing posts with label blue cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blue cheese. Show all posts

Friday, February 6, 2015

Crispy Macaroni

by Sheila Connolly

A well-known chef, Gordon Hamersley, has joined our regional paper as a regular columnist, and this recipe was part of his kick-off. I wish I could say that know his restaurant, but alas, I don’t venture into Boston often just for a meal (especially since my daughter—my partner in food crime—left town for Chicago). But based on this first article, I think the chef would fit right in with our MLK gang: He starts off with a story about what inspired his recipe, and how he experimented with it before going public.

We here at MLK are careful to credit the originators of our recipes (if we didn’t make them up ourselves!), although of course we usually end up tweaking them. This recipe intrigued and challenged me—it made me want to try it. It’s not difficult, but it does take two days to complete. And when I read the part about the gelatin, my first response was, “you’ve got to be kidding? Macaroni and cheese and gelatin?” So read on and see how things turned out.

Gordon Hamersley’s Crispy Macaroni and Blue Cheese

Oil (for the pan)

Serves 6

Gelatin comes in packets of 2½ teaspoons. You need about 2 packets here. Allow enough time for the mixture to set, at least 6 hours. Plastic wrap helps the mixture release more easily from the pan.

Day One:

Vegetable oil (for the pan)

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
1  tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 packets (2-1/2 tsp each)
   unflavored powdered gelatin
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tblsp chopped fresh chives
1 Tblsp chopped fresh thyme
8 oz. blue cheese, cut into cubes
Salt and pepper to taste

Oil a 9-inch square pan. Line it with plastic wrap, letting the excess hang over the edges (this makes the dish easy to remove from the pan).

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and add plenty of salt. Add the macaroni and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the pasta is tender but not mushy. Drain, shaking it several times to make sure all the water is out of the elbows. Transfer to a bowl.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until tender and golden. Add the chicken stock and sprinkle the gelatin into the liquids. Turn the heat to low and whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Add the cream to the skillet and bring to a boil.

Pour the cream mixture over the macaroni in the bowl. Add the chives and thyme. Stir well so the cream gets inside the elbows. Add the blue cheese and pepper and stir again. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread to make an even layer. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Day Two:

1       tablespoon unsalted butter
1       cup panko crumbs
¼      cup flour, in a shallow bowl
2       eggs, lightly beaten in a shallow bowl

In a small skillet over medium heat, melt the butter until it starts to bubble. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes, or until it is deep golden brown. Transfer to a shallow bowl and let it cool.

With a knife, mark the macaroni and cheese into in the pan into 6 squares Using an offset spatula, lift them out of the pan. [Warning! This is tricky!]

Put the panko into a pie pan or shallow bowl. Place the flour (in a bowl), eggs (in a bowl), and panko (in whatever it’s in) in a line on the counter. Dust each macaroni piece first with flour, then dip into the egg, and finally press the panko onto the surface. Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. Oil a large rimmed baking sheet.

Place the macaroni squares on the baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of a piece is hot to the touch when withdrawn. Using a wide metal spatula, carefully lift the crispy macaroni onto plates.

I did tell you this was an experiment, didn’t I? And I have to say I was not blown away by the results: the whole thing was too labor-intensive, at least the part about putting the cakes together (you try dipping slippery squares in three different coatings without them falling apart!), and I ended up with macaroni scattered all over the kitchen. Maybe it works if you have a line of experienced sous-chefs assembling the things, but not if you’re a busy home cook pressed for time and with limited counter space.

But the flavor was good (says my test panel, i.e., my husband). So here’s what I’d recommend:  Make the recipe, minus the gelatin. Put it in a greased casserole dish, and sprinkle with the panko (toasted or not—it did taste good browned). Bake in a 350-degree oven for half an hour, and dish it out with a spoon. Tastes the same, and it’s much simpler!

Oh, and in case I haven't mentioned it often enough lately (or you've been living in a cave without Internet), I have a new book out this week: An Early Wake, the third of the County Cork Mysteries.

Available everywhere (I hope!), in print and e-format (and maybe even as an audiobook soon!):

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Mom's Roquefort Dressing #recipe

My mother made the best Roquefort dressing in the world. I thought the recipe was lost, but when I visited my sister in Washington DC in May, I mentioned it, and she said she had it. The original recipe. She made me a card. It’s in my mom’s handwriting. I followed the original instructions, and it is still great. It's my husband’s new favorite dressing. It keeps for a long time, too.

Be sure to use the best Roquefort, and if you like your blue cheeses pungent, make sure you choose a pungent cheese.

Don’t even consider using a goat and sheep’s milk Roquefort for this dressing. It won’t have the same punch!


No two ways about it, salads (unless wedges of lettuce) just don't turn out that pretty to photograph
when using a creamy dressing.



½ cup cider vinegar
½ cup Wesson oil
8 ounces sour cream
4-5 ounces Roquefort or blue cheese
1-3 shakes Tabasco
12-15 peppercorns or pepper to taste


Put all the ingredients into a blender. Whir. Serve over a crisp salad of your choice.

*  Use a cow’s milk roquefort for the best “kick.”

PS This salad would taste great with cook and crumbled bacon or chopped red onions.


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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Blue Cheese Potato Cakes

by Sheila Connolly

I thought I was done with Irish recipes for a bit, but I keep finding good ones—as I keep saying, Irish cooking had gotten a lot better in the past decade or two. This one you might call a new classic: it uses potatoes (which the Irish have been doing well for a couple of centuries) and blue cheese (there are a lot of dairy farms in Ireland—my great-grandfathers in Co. Cork raised cattle), but it adds a nice mix of herbs and garlic to punch up the flavor.


1 1/2 - 1 3/4 pounds baking (you want a mealy potato, not a waxy one) potatoes,

   peeled and cut into 2" pieces
   (note: this recipe makes 12+ cakes,
   So feel free to reduce it)

2 Tblsp unsalted butter
2 Tblsp fresh chives, minced
1 Tblsp garlic, minced
1/4 tsp nutmeg (if you like)
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tblsp fresh dill, minced
2 Tlbsp fresh parsley, minced

1 cup (4 oz. by weight) blue cheese, crumbled
1 egg yolk

1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 cup milk
1-1 1/2 cups bread crumbs or panko
oil for cooking

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for 12-15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and mash.

In a small skillet, melt the butter over low heat.  Cook the chives and garlic for 1-2 minutes, until soft. Stir into the mashed potatoes. Stir in the nutmeg, salt, pepper, dill and parsley.  Cool completely.

 Stir in the cheese and egg yolk (leave the cheese lumpy).

Shape the mixture into 12 cakes.  Refrigerate on a sheet of waxed paper or foil for 10 minutes.

Dredge the cakes in flour, then coat with the egg mixture, followed by the bread crumbs or panko.

Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Add the cakes and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until browned. (You can cook them to this point then reheat them for serving.)

Serve with a dollop of sour cream if you want


Friday, March 22, 2013

Spaghetti with Blue Cheese

by Sheila Connolly

In case you haven't noticed, I love to cook (and eat), and there are occasions when I really enjoy making something complicated or time-consuming, both real luxuries in our busy lives.

But there are also times when inspiration deserts me, and I want something easy and fast.  And I don't want something from the local fast-food place.  Don't get me wrong—I enjoy a pizza now and then, or the occasional stop at Burger King, but I really do like to know what ingredients I'm putting in my mouth, and to limit the number of chemicals I can't pronounce.

Enter this dish.  I won't try to tell you that this is low calorie or low fat, although you could use margarine (is it called non-dairy spread these days?) or change the sour cream for the low-fat variety (but I don't think swapping yogurt in would work).  But it tastes good, if you're a fan of blue cheese.  This is a modified version of a recipe I found in a pasta cookbook that I think I received many years ago as a thank-you for contributing to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The publication date is 1996, which puts it in those halcyon days before we learned of the evils of cholesterol—and it shows. I've referred to the cookbook now and then over the years in the quest for the perfect Mac and Cheese recipe (still haven't found it, but at least there are several alternatives in this book).

Spaghetti with Sour Cream and Blue Cheese

½ cup butter
8-10 green onions, chopped
4 oz. blue cheese (Roquefort or Gorgonzola)
8 oz. sour cream
Salt and pepper
1 lb. spaghetti

Crumble the blue cheese. Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Add the green onions and cook slowly, stirring, until they are soft. Sprinkle the crumbled blue cheese over the onion mixture and stir over medium heat until the cheese is melted.  Remove from the heat, and stir in the sour cream.

Add the pepper, then taste before adding the salt—how much you need will depend on how salty your cheese is.

Boil the spaghetti in salted water (add a little vegetable oil to the water to keep the pieces from clumping).  Drain well, then stir the noodles into the sauce.  Don't add it all at once—you can decide what spaghetti-to-sauce ratio you prefer. And remember, the pasta will soak up the sauce as it cools.

You can serve this with a simple green salad.

Add garlic when you're sautéing the green onions, if you want a stronger flavor.  You can also try different pastas.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oscar Worthy Guacamole with Blue Cheese

This post is a bit eclectic. I think it might be because I’m in editing mode and my thoughts are not coming out fluidly. Bear with me.

Though I have nowhere near Sheila’s great NYT coup (2 weeks in a row and counting – congrats, Sheila) I did have good numbers for TO BRIE OR NOT TO BRIE overall, and my editor is thrilled. In the first week, the book was #10 on the Barnes and Noble Mystery Mass Market bestseller list, #31 on the BandN Overall Fiction Mass Market bestseller list, and #24 on the Bookscan Mystery Mass Market bestseller list. The second week, each of those numbers dropped by only 1. Whee. Thank you to everyone who purchased the book. Thank you to those who might have written a lovely review. If you're so inclined, good reviews are truly appreciated!

Last week, I asked for help with a slogan for the new COOKBOOK NOOK MYSTERIES that will come out in July. I was overwhelmed with the response. Again, thank you, everyone. You really came up with good ideas. I have combined a couple to make the final choice. Because there were so many entries, I decided to give away to goodie bags of swag. The winners: Chèli and Wendy!  The final slogan is below.

By the way, I’m writing the second in this series. [I just turned in the final edits for the first: FINAL SENTENCE.] In the second, INHERIT THE WIND, The Cookbook Nook is hosting a grilled cheese festival. Yum! While searching online, I found this fun grilled cheese jigsaw puzzle that you can put puzzles together digitally. Enjoy!


THE OSCARS (I told you this was eclectic...)

Did you watch? We did. We enjoyed so many aspects. I always like the singing and dancing. I love the tribute to those artists and contributors that have passed away in the last year. I wasn't a fan of the opening monologue. In fact, I didn't like the host at all. Shoot. Why can't we have Billy Crystal all the time?

We had a couple of friends over and had a pool where each person chose his/her winners. 20 categories. (We didn’t do all of the categories. Who knows which animated short deserved to win...really.)

When I invite friends over, I love to try new appetizer recipes. This time, I chose a guacamole from a cookbook. I found it in the Food and Wine Best of the Best 2012.  It’s inspired by a version of guacamole from this cookbook: Truly Mexican.

Ala Food  and Wine Best of the Best 2012
The best recipes from the 25 Best Cookbooks of the year
Inspired by a version from
Truly Mexican by Santibañez, Goode & Wiseman

1 avocado, large
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
2 jalapeño chiles, diced fine
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
3 ounces Point Reyes Blue cheese, crumbled

Mash avocado.  Chop the onion and mince the chiles. Add to the avocado. Add the salt, the lemon juice, and half of the crumbled blue cheese.  [This is one of the richest blue cheeses I’ve ever tasted. Yum!] Whip together.

Set in a serving bowl. Top with more blue cheese.

*The recipe from Truly Mexican included ¼ cup chopped smoked almonds. They used lime juice instead of Meyer lemon juice. And they added cilantro. They used a total of 3 tablespoons of the cheese. I about doubled that.

And now, back to my new slogan…the envelope please:

Savor the Mystery

I hope future fans like it. It speaks to me.

* * * * * * *

Daryl Wood Gerber also writes as Avery Aames, 
author of the Agatha Award-winning,
nationally bestselling CHEESE SHOP MYSTERY SERIES 

The 1st in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is coming July 2013!!
You can pre-order the book HERE.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out
You can order the book HERE. 

You can learn more about me, Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list
 so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! Also, you probably know by now about my alter ego, Avery Aames. Chat with Avery on Facebook and Twitter.