Color Me Blue …


Blue cheese is one of those ingredients that you either love or hate. The odd color, texture and strong pungent flavor is its hallmark for some and curse to others.

Just about every major cheese producing country makes a blue veined cheese. England has Stilton, Italy has Gorgonzola, the French give us Roquefort, Spain produces Cabrales, Denmark, Danablu, Germany offers Cambozola and here in the old U.S one of the first was, and still is, Maytag Blue.

If you were wondering, Maytag Blue cheese does indeed trace it’s roots back to the famous Maytag Appliance Company. Started in 1941 by Frederick L. Maytag II and Robert Maytag, that just happen to be the grandsons of the Maytag Appliance founder, Frederick Louis Maytag. Lest you think the entrapanuer spirit stopped there it was Frederick’s great grandson that saved San Francisco’s famous Anchor Steam Beer from bankruptcy by buying and steering the company in 1965 back to its former glory – talk about a string of hits!

When I was developing menus for my restaurants back in the 80’s and 90’s I made it my goal to source as many local ingredients that I could and if I couldn’t find in my backyard, state or region I looked to the rest of the country. One of the first American cheeses that I was proud to serve (especially back then) was and still is Maytag Blue. To my taste it’s texturally a cross between the drier style of English Stilton and the creamier French Roquefort.

Now just like when they started in 1941 each wheel is made by hand, and still cave aged almost twice as long as most other blues.

So a year or so ago I find myself on my way to a show in Iowa and lo and behold I pass right by a road sign for Maytag Blue! Just happening upon one of my favorite cheeses literally right off the highway was a culinary coup!

maytagbluecheese

Clicking my way through the blue cheese recipes on our culinary archive brought up all sorts of combinations and recipes from appetizers to desserts. I chose to offer you all a classic award winning blue cheese dressing that can simply dress a salad or offer a cool counterpoint as a dip for Buffalo wings as well as a delightful blue cheese tart. You can enjoy this American classic the way I do, wedged with a few toasted almonds and nice glass of Port ;-)

Blue Cheese Dressing

bluecheesedressing

 

16 ServingsPrep: 5 min. + chilling

Ingredients
1-1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup cider vinegar
4 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
Directions
In a bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Stir in the blue
cheese. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 2 cups.

Blue Cheese Walnut Tart

bluetart

12 ServingsPrep: 30 min. Bake: 15 min.

Ingredients
1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/3 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Directions
Press pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of an ungreased 9-in.
fluted tart pan with removable bottom; trim edges. Bake at 425°
for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire
rack.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, blue cheese and garlic until
blended. Add the cream, egg, cayenne and pepper; beat well. Spread
mixture into crust. Sprinkle with red peppers, walnuts and parsley.
Cover and freeze for up to 3 months, or bake, uncovered, at 375°
for 15-20 minutes or until center is set.

To use frozen tart: Remove from the freezer 30 minutes before baking
(do not thaw). Uncover; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until center is set.

Yield: 12 servings.

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