This is one of the more interesting flavor combinations I’ve ever tried. Caramelized pears and blue cheese makes perfect logical sense to me, but as a cream based soup?? (It works way better than you’d think.)  

I’m not quite sure if I’m feeling it at the moment, but honestly, worst comes to worst I try this again in a while. (Plus, we’re still in pear season at the farmer’s market for a good long while, this will probably be even better come fall.)

Parts of the original recipe are a bit vague/contradicting, so I’ve clarified where I can and honestly just guessed where I can’t. Kevin also recommends crispy prosciutto as a garnish for this, and I’d agree with that – however, this was made for vegetarians on this initial round, so I’ll try that in the future. 

Caramelized Pear and Blue Cheese Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 T butter
  • 2 T dark brown sugar
  • 6 pears, peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces (I used most of a small bag of Asian pears from the farmer’s market)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped
  • .5 t thyme (ideally fresh and chopped, but ground works just fine if you don’t have any)
  • 3 c vegetable stock
  • .5 lbs potato, peeled and diced (I used some small red potatoes)
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese (I used a gorgonzola per recipe recommendations)
  • .5 c milk (half and half and heavy whipping cream are also options)
  • sea salt and fresh pepper to taste
  • (optional: diced crispy proscuitto or bacon or pancetta if making it not vegetarian!)

Melt your butter over medium high heat in a large pot. As soon as it’s melted, add the brown sugar, and cook until the butter and sugar starts to bubble (see pic 1). Add in your pear pieces, and cook until lightly browned and tender (this took about 5 to 7 minutes, should look like pic 2). 

Then, add your onion, and cook until tender, about another three to five minutes. Add in the thyme and garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute) , then add in the broth, milk, and potato. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, until the potato is tender (about ten to fifteen minutes, I went for ten because one of the people I was cooking for had to leave soon). 

If you have a stick blender, take it and puree the soup until you’ve got a nice silky soup. If you don’t, put it in the blender in batches, and puree until smooth.  Turn off your heat, return the soup to the pot, and then take your blue cheese crumbles and stir them in in small batches until melted, tasting after each batch to make sure that the cheese doesn’t overwhelm the sweetness of the caramelized pears too much. Once you’ve got it at the perfect balance for your tastes, add in the sea salt and pepper, give it a last stir, and serve! (The recipe mentions stirring in the milk again here, I chose not to, and it still came out well.) (If you would want to add in the pancetta/prosciutto/bacon, this is where you’d do it.)

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As of right now, this was one of the last new recipes that I ever cooked in my old place. My kitchen is now reduced to a few cups, mugs, what is left of my pantry that I’m taking with me, and whatever I have left in my fridge. It’s a real weird feeling right now, but I’m ready for what’s to come. 

I’ve been wanting to make this tart since Deb first put it up, and since it’s pretty easy and cheap to make, I decided to go for it. I could’ve made the tart shell, but as I was at the tail end of packing everything when I made this, I just decided to buy a pie shell and go from there, and didn’t really have the time or patience to make a pretty concentric overlapping circle with the potato slices. Still turned out damn good. 

Blue Cheese and Potato Tart
lasts about a week as a main

Ingredients

  • 1 savory tart shell (or, if you’re lazy like me, one pre-made pie crust), ready to fill
  • 1 lb small red potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • .25 lb (about .75 c) blue cheese of choice, crumbled (I took my hunk of Hook’s Blue Paradise, and crumbled it using a knife)
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1 T chopped herbs of choice (I used dried rosemary and thyme per Deb’s suggestion)

Take your potatoes, slice them thin, and then put them in a pot covered by about two inches of water, bringing the pot to a boil and then reducing to a simmer, uncovered, until the slices are tender, about ten minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 while they simmer.

Take your potato slices and attempt to arrange them in overlapping concentric circles around the pan. However, if you have been attempting to arrange a move down to Chicago in a little over two weeks and have been packing for most of the preceding week, take the potato slices and dump them in in a slightly artsy looking fashion. Take your crumbled blue cheese and toss it over the potatoes in a similarly artsy looking fashion. Don’t worry, it’ll look like you meant it. And probably rustic. 

Whisk together the yolk and heavy cream until combined, and then pour it over your potatoes and cheese. Sprinkle the top of the tart with sea salt, and your herbs of choice.  

Put the pie shell on a baking sheet (or if you’re me, a pizza pan), and bake at 350 for between 45 to 50 mins, until the tart is a good golden brown like in the final picture and bubbling a bit. Cool, and nom your fantastic tart (you can serve it warm or cold).

So, big life news here: I’m about to move down to Chicago in… a little bit over two weeks. so I’m mostly going to be focused on cooking down my fridge, and sticking to mainstay recipes rather than doing new stuff. So, this blog might go dark for a little bit while I move.

That doesn’t mean I can’t dig out an old recipe that I somehow forgot to post (derp). This was a recipe I submitted a few montsh ago to a grilled cheese contest, never heard back, so I’m gonna write this up and hope for the best for the future. Because, I’m gonna be real – this is one of the most amazing grilled cheeses I’ve had, ever.

Red Black and Blue Grilled Cheese
Makes 1 sandwich

Ingredients

  • sourdough bread, two slices (I used a sliced loaf of Stella’s sourdough bread, fantastic)
  • deli rare roast beef (I used about 2 slices, do to your taste)
  • small handful of strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • sprinkle of sugar
  • blue cheese (I used several slices off of a chunk of Hook’s Blue Paradise, crumbles or slices work fine here, do to your taste)
  • butter

First, preheat your oven to 375, take your sliced strawberries, put them in a small ramekin, sprinkle with sugar, and then roast the strawberries for about 8 minutes, until they’re soft. Remove from the oven, and let them cool a bit. 

Meanwhile, take your sourdough slices, and layer between them, in order: your deli rare roast beef on bottom, your blue cheese in the middle, and the roasted strawberries and their juices on top (so that it looks similar to the photo up there). 

Take a small pan, and melt a small pat of butter over medium heat, while buttering the outsides of the sourdough slices. Once the butter is melted, add the sandwich, and grill for about five minutes on each side, until the bread is a nice golden brown and the blue cheese melts. 

And then, enjoy the gloriousness of this grilled cheese. You could also probably add a drizzle of balsamic to make it even more amazing. 

In terms of impulse decisions, this is one of my better ones. I had everything for this in my fridge except for potatoes when Deb first posted the recipe, and new potatoes showed up at the farmer’s market literally last weekend, so I decided to go for it. 

And man, this is amazing. The vinaigrette is lovely, bacon/potato/eggs is a well known good combo, and it turns out that adding blue cheese into the mix only improves things. In short, yaaaaaaaaas. Would probably be prettier in a non bento-sized container, but man, it still works. Do yourself a favor and do the thing.

Potatoes With Soft Eggs and Bacon Vinaigrette
Lasts 5 meals as a side

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs fingerling or other small potatoes (used new potatoes)
  • whatever amount of eggs you prefer (recipe recommends 4, I made a whole big batch the other night to use in combination with breakfast)
  • .5 lb thick cut bacon (get it from your farmer’s market if you can)
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • .5 t smooth Dijon mustard
  • crumbled blue cheese to taste

Take your potatoes, put them in a pot with cold water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Simmer your potatoes for about 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain them, and once they’re cool enough to handle, halve them. 

Meanwhile, chop up your bacon and cook it in a heavy skillet over medium heat, until it’s about ¾ths as done as you want it to be. When that happens, whisk in your red wine vinaigrette and dijon, and let simmer for ten seconds (see pic 3). As soon as that ten seconds passes, pour the bacon vinaigrette over the potatoes, add your blue cheese, and toss to coat. 

I recommend making the soft boiled eggs ahead. 

Bring a pot of water plus a good splash of white vinegar to a boil, add your eggs, boil for six minutes, and put into ice water.  Peel your eggs (if they’re cracked, it’s okay, that’ll make it easier) and store them. 

Right before serving, take a soft boiled egg, squeeze it gently so it opens in half and spills the yolk over your serving of potatoes and bacon, and then split the halves further to drizzle the last bit of yolk out, and toss the whites on the potatoes. And then, enjoy!

It’s asparagus season at the farmer’s market, one of my favorite times of the year – it basically means I can pick up something like 2 lbs of real good asparagus for cheap, and use ALL THE ASPARAGUS. I decided to do something different than my two mainstay asparagus recipes this time, and while I was figuring out what I wanted to do, I came across this recipe, and realized I already had the blue cheese and balsamic caramel in my fridge. As such, the decision was pretty quickly made what to do with this. 

This is a flavor combination I’ve never tried before and might not have thought of, but trust me when I say that if it tastes even a quarter as good as it smelled when I was putting it together, you’ll be in for a real treat. 

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Caramel and Blue Cheese
Depends on amt asparagus used; 2 lbs lasted appx six lunches as a side

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe balsamic caramel (I had some leftover from making the steaks a while ago)
  • desired amount of asparagus (I had 2 lbs on hand)
  • olive oil
  • sea salt
  • .5 c crumbled blue cheese (I just sliced mine off a block I had and it crumbled pretty easy)

Preheat your oven to 400. Lay some foil down on a large baking tray, and spread your asparagus out in a single layer (or as close to it as you can get), tossing with olive oil and sea salt. Roast your asparagus between 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how much you have (the above result was 2 lbs after 25 minutes). 

Take your roasted asparagus, drizzle with the balsamic caramel, and sprinkle with the blue cheese, and then enjoy!

So, it’s supposed to be summer out here.  It’s been hovering pretty consistently in the 50s and 60s the last few days and been rainy.  And, while I like this fallish weather, it IS supposed to be summer, already.  I want my sun.  And so does my fire escape garden.  

As such, it’s time to combat the cold and damp with a good warm soup.  And that’s where this recipe comes in tonight.  It’s one I’ve been meaning to try for a while, and smelled pretty damn good cooking, besides.

Spicy Tomato and Blue Cheese Soup 
Lasts 3 meals + feeding at least four people with multiple servings at weekly gaming night

Ingredients 

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (do not drain; original recipe recommends San Marzanos, but honestly, go with whatever you can get)
  • 1.5 c chicken stock
  • ¾ c heavy whipping cream
  • 2 T sriracha
  • 1 T oregano 
  • 4 oz (½ c) blue cheese (the original recipe recommends crumbled Roth Kase buttermilk blue, and it was the cheapest for the amount, though whole instead of crumbled – the blender will chop it up if it’s a major concern)

Heat your olive oil, and while you do that, chop up your onions and slice your garlic.  Add your onion and a pinch of salt to the pot, stir to coat the onion with salt and oil, and then cover and cook for two minutes.  Then, add your sliced garlic, and cover and cook for two more minutes.

Add your can of undrained tomatoes to the pot, along with the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer (gentle bubbling boil).  Once simmering, add the cream, sriracha, and oregano, and bring back to a simmer.  Once simmering gently again, cover and cook for 45 minutes.

Let the soup cool for appx 10 minutes, and then add your blue cheese and blend in batches (trust me, you do not want to deal with hot soup bursting out of your blender, it’s painful) until smooth.