Gorgonzola Herb Butter & Rosemary Parmesan Butter

Gorgonzola Herb Butter 9

Let me be completely honest with you. This start of term has been rough. It always is. Exchanging endless, lazy summer days and strolls in the mountains for dark, hectic early mornings and long, long, days on your feet trying to pound English and German into teenage brains, just isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Every September, on the clock, procrastination gets the better of me. There just are no limits to what you can accomplish when you are supposed to be doing something else. I can’t get out of bed. These blankets have accepted me as one of their own and if I leave them I might lose their trust.

It takes me about a month to get things under control again. But during the up-hill month of September, things like changing into actual clothes before dashing to the grocery store don’t seem quite as urgent as they may any other month of the year.

That is, of course, the day you run into every single person you know. And you’re all “I’m usually beautiful and glamorous… but today is my day off”, and all they do is stare at your bunny slippers and hair, which chooses this precise moment to display its unique ability to defy the laws of gravity. I’m betting Newton had some bad-ass anti-frizz shampoo, or he wouldn’t have postulated such a debatable theory.

But to the point. As I announced two weeks ago, we’ll be trying our hand on butter today. These recipes are perfect for September procrastinators and start of term franticness (That is an actual word. I checked.). They’re quick, useful, delicious, and the perfect comfort food for those first crisp fall nights. Slather these butters on toast, savoury scones, English muffins or American biscuits. Place a pad on red meat or chicken, or melt it into a boring pasta dish. Trust me, this stuff is golden.

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Gorgonzola Herb Butter and Rosemary Parmesan Butter

Servings: about 1 cups each

Prep time: 10 minutes

You will need:

For the Gorgonzola Herb Butter:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted, softened butter
  • 1/2 cup softened Gorgonzola
  • 3 tablespoons fresh, or 2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh, or 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 pine nuts
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Rosemary Parmesan Butter:

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary flowers, if you can get them, otherwise 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
  • quality salt of choice, to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon

Let the festivities begin.

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For the Gorgonzola Herb Butter, place the thyme, rosemary, parsley, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, pine nuts, salt and pepper in a mortar and grind with a pestle until roughly combined and pine nuts are broken up into little bits and pieces.

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Place the butter and Gorgonzola cheese in a bowl and mix with a fork until creamy and well combined.

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Add the herb-pine nut mixture and incorporate.

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For the Rosemary Parmesan Butter, combine the softened butter with the Parmesan cheese until well incorporated, then mix in your salt.

Rosemary Parmesan Butter 3

I used about 1/2 a teaspoon, as the Parmesan is already plenty salty, but the level of saltiness is entirely up to you. Do use good quality salt here, though, as the taste shines out quite clearly. I used a fancy red Hawaiian salt I had on hand, but any other good sea or mineral salt.

Rosemary Parmesan Butter 2.JPG5732

Fold in the rosemary flowers carefully. If not using flowers, forget the “carefully” and just beat the daylights outta that butter.

Rosemary Parmesan Butter 4

These little butters freeze nicely if need be. I placed mine in an ice cube tray and stored them in the freezer for quick meals or snacks.

They’re best, in my humble opinion, simply slathered on hot toast.

Herb and Cheese Butter 2

Enjoy!

Clara

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Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche

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So you know how, when puberty hits girls, it often translates into random body parts beginning to grow uncontrollably and haphazardly? For some girls it’s the boobs. For others it’s the hips. For me, it was the nose. For some inexplicable reason, my US size 3 feet stopped growing by the time I was 12, and my body channeled its (considerable, yet sadly misled) growth efforts into producing a nose Cleopatra would have been proud of. Maybe I should get myself a lioness and start bathing in donkey milk. Myself, that is, not the lioness. That would be silly. Who ever heard of bathing a lioness in donkey milk? You bathe them in camel milk. Everybody knows that.

But I digress. The fact remains that, while my head did catch up a bit with my nose, the latter is still featured proud and brave within the ensemble of my face. Don’t get me wrong. I love my nose. We’ve been through tough times, my nose and I. The stale, unwashed odour of the man sitting next to me in the underground.  Walking into a public lavatory where someone has obviously just taken a considerable dump, wanting to shout at the next person entering: “It wasn’t me!!”… all these things have brought us together.

But I digress. As I was saying, while the fact remains that my head did eventually catch up to my nose’s bid for freedom, my brain apparently did not. So while I was happily mixing my ingredients for this quiche, my nose was calling out warnings, waving her tiny pink arms and cursing in Elvish, Entish and the Tongues of Men. Still I ploughed forward, pouring the odd-smelling cream into my lovely, caramelized, bacon-ized custard, ending up with a curdled, lumpy mess. My nose gave me an I-told-you-so kind of sniff and retired for the night.

How the mighty have fallen.

Thus it came about that I made this quiche twice, the second time without the cream.

It turns out it tastes better without.

Lesson of the day: Never cook with curdled cream. Also, go see a doctor if your nose sprouts arms.

Now, I am aware that this isn’t the first quiche we’ve posted. The lovely Annie came up with this Spinach-Bacon-Goat Cheese beauty a few weeks back. But you can never have enough quiche. Or bacon. Or Gorgonzola, for that matter.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 18

 

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 5

Servings: 6 to 8

Prep time: 1 to 1 1/2 hours

You will need:

For the filling:

  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 100gr bacon
  • 1 tablespoon (15gr) butter
  • 1 tablespoon (15gr) brown sugar
  • 2 large pears, peeled and cubed
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 150gr Gorgonzola, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (5gr) thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste


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For the crust:

  • 2 cups (500gr) flour
  • 1/3 cups (100ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cups or less (50-75ml) water

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 1 Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 2

Lets start off with the crust. I use this for everything. Sweet pies. Savory pies. Quiches. Anything that requires a crust.

The procedure is pretty  straightforward. Sift your flour into a large bowl. Create a well in the middle and fill it with olive oil. Mix with a fork. Now add water, a little bit at a time, until you are left with a homogeneous dough.

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At this point, you will be faced with a choice: You can flour a large surface, roll out the dough into the desired shape, carefully lift it off the work surface, have it break half way to your baking dish, start over, despair, and end up in prison for manslaughter by means of dough bullets.

I chose the lazy girl approach. For this, simply grab a small amount of dough, pat it in your hand until flat(ish), then press into your baking dish. Repeat until the entire surface of the dish is covered. The result sure ain’t as pretty as the manslaughter approach, I can tell you that. However, it works, it tastes the same, and you don’t get flour into crevices you didn’t even know existed in your kitchen.

The last step in both cases is to poke holes all over the crust with a fork, so as to prevent it from puffing up in the oven.

To see how this looks, check out the picture further down.

Now let’s turn to the part we all really want to talk about: the filling.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 3

For this, cook the onion and bacon in the same pan until the onion is softened and the bacon begins to brown ever so slightly. Melt in the butter, then add the brown sugar and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Add the pears, turn down the heat and allow them to caramelize for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool slightly.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 4-horz

In a separate bowl, beat the softened Gorgonzola into the eggs, along with the thyme.

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 8Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 9

Then add the pear mixture, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Finally, pour the filling into your prepared quiche crust.

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Bake on medium-low for 45 minutes.

Serve slightly cooled.

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Which means leaving it on the kitchen counter, and returning to find this:

Caramelized Pear and Gorgonzola Quiche 16My family are vultures. I hope you enjoy it as much as they did 🙂

 

Salmon with Gorgonzola

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La recepta que avui us proposo té dos motius per ser aquí: en primer lloc, perquè quan vem començar aquest blog algú em va dir que això del formatge estava molt bé, però que era un món una mica limitat perquè hi havia aliments pràcticament impossibles de combinar amb formatge, com ara el peix. Pobre innocent, encara no havia vist això, no li tindrem en compte.

wild rice

El segon motiu és que aquesta és l’única recepta que posa d’acord els consumidors de salmó de casa meva. Sí, això pot semblar una tonteria, però no ho és! Us ho explicaré: a casa som 4 germans, per tant hi vivim un total de 6 persones, i és com impossible coordinar els gustos de tots. Comprar un simple braç de gitano un diumenge per postres, per exemple, pot ser una odissea; a la meva germana li agrada de crema o de trufa però no de nata, al meu germà li agrada de trufa o de nata però no de crema,  i a mi no m’agrada ni de trufa ni de crema, només de nata. Com aquesta, tenim les lluites paella vs. fideuà, maionesa vs. allioli, tallarines vs. espaguetis, o el clàssic dels clàssics: truita de patates amb ceba o sense… i, és clar, el punt de confrontació que avui ens ocupa: el salmó.

salmon

Potser no ho sabeu, però el meu germà i jo som uns grans fans del salmó, probablement dels més incondicionals i entregats que pugueu trobar a nivell mundial. Fins aquí tot semblaria indicar que vivim en plena harmonia fraternal salmonil, però en realitat ens trobem separats per un abisme: la cocció. A mi doneu-me tant de salmó com vulgueu, però doneu-me’l cuit, del fumat no en vull saber absolutament res. Ecs. En canvi el meu germà és capaç d’esgotar tot el salmó fumat del planeta, especialment si li doneu unes torradetes i mantega per anar fent, però no suporta el salmó cuit. O, més ben dit, no el suportava fins que va descobrir la meravellosa combinació que us presento a continuació.

gorgonzola

Salmon with Gorgonzola 

Servings: 4-6 (it depends on the size of your salmon fillets)

Prep time: about 30 min

You will need:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • Gorgonzola
  • Salt, pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Some dill

This is possibly the easiest recipe ever. Basically, all you have to do is make a salmon-Gorgonzola-sandwich. Which is like a Gorgonzola sandwich, but using salmon instead of bread (you could use bread, but then the recipe would no longer be “salmon with Gorgonzola”. It would be “bread with Gorgonzola”, which is of course still delicious but less sophisticated, so let us up our level by using salmon).

Preheat your oven to 200ºC. Drizzle a little olive oil on an oven proof dish, just enough to prevent the salmon from sticking. Now place one salmon fillet on the dish, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on it. Now gracefully sprinkle your Gorgonzola on the salmon fillet with a little flick of your wrist. Remember, the little finger must stick out, or this recipe will not turn out quite as good. Fact. You can use as much Gorgonzola as you want, it depends on your love for Gorgonzola, your wish for a healthy/not-so-healthy meal, and the strength of your willpower. I covered my salmon with some pieces, then thougt there could be more, then remembered I wanted a relatively light recipe. I managed to stop burying my salmon under cheese at the stage of the picture below, in an attempt to pursue a healthy diet. There was, however, some remaining Gorgonzola and… well, you know, I’m weak and I just happened to have those delicious little Italian toast-cracker-thingies in the pantry, and ended up finishing off the leftover Gorgonzola on toast, anyway. Diet be damned.

salmon with gorgonzola prep

Cover the Gorgonzola layer with the other salmon filet, and top it off with another sprinkle of salt and pepper, some dill, and another drizzle of olive oil.

That’s it. Now place it in the oven and cook to taste. Salmon can be enjoyed anywhere from almost raw to crunchy/well cooked. It’s entirely up to you.

You can serve this with pretty much anything you like on the side. My choice for today was a mixture of wild and basmati rice, because I think they pair nicely.

Enjoy!

salmon with gorgonzola

Gorgonzola Soup, or Confessions of a Gorgonzola Addict

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Let me sing you the song of my people.

My people are intense and flavourful. My people are creamy and smooth. White and blueish and greenish, in that dodgy mouldy way. They have mysterious customs and are known by many a name; but around here we address them only by one –

Gorgonzola.

No, seriously. If Gorgonzola were a man, I’d marry him. If it were a woman I’d marry it. Hell, I think I might just go ahead and marry it anyway. If I told you how many recipes of mine contain Gorgonzola, you’d be pressing that panic button under your desk PDQ.

Oh, the many joys of Gorgonzola… I shall not – cannot possibly – list them all here, so I will let the crowning jewel of my Gorgonzola recipe collection speak for itself.

Now, this recipe masquerades as a cream of vegetable wannabe, what with the onion and all that, but do not be fooled. This is not a light summer dish. This is so, so much more. This is roasted onions and molten Gorgonzola and crispy bacon, and you will hear your arteries sigh resignedly while your soul sings with bliss. It might even dance a little jig, if you add enough bacon. Because, you know, everything is better with bacon.

And Gorgonzola.

Gorgonzola Soup

(This recipe originally came from Culinary Concotions by Peabody‘s blog, which is awesome on so many different levels.)

Servings: aprox. 5 – 6

Prep time: a little over an hour

You will need:

  • Olive oil
  • 2 small potatoes, or 1 medium, peeled & diced
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 3 cups (aprox. 700ml) chicken broth
  • 1 cup cream (aprox. 250ml)
  • 120-150gr Gorgonzola cheese
  • bacon to taste, I recommend 200gr, cooked

Heat some olive oil (I just eyeball it, but I’d say you need about 2 or 3 tablespoons) and add the chopped onions and potatoes.

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 1

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent. It should look somewhat like this:

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 2

At this point, you want to add your chicken broth, wait for it to boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cover your pot and simmer gently (I repeat, gently. You do not want to boil the living daylights out of this little baby) for about 30 minutes. Use a fork to check whether your potatoes are nice and soft. Simmer a little longer if necessary.

Gorgonzola Soup Prep 3

Proceed to take the pot off the heat source and carefully puree with a hand blender. I say carefully, because it’s hot, and you don’t want the soup splashing on your hands. Or on your face, for that matter. It will hurt. I speak from experience.

Now, once you’ve stirred around a bit to catch any stray bits of potato that have eluded the mortal knives of the blender, and your soup is nice and smooth, return the pot to low heat and stir in the cream. At this point you seriously want to avoid any boiling, because the soup now contains cream, and cream is a joyful creature prone to boiling over. If you’ve ever tried scraping burnt cream off your stove, you know the nightmares I speak of.

So, to preserve your sanity, keep the heat low and stir. All. The. Time.

And now the games begin.

Add tablespoons full of Gorgonzola to the soup and stir continuously until they have melted into the onion and potato base. Taste as you go, because some brands of Gorgonzola are milder than other, and you don’t want to overdo it.

Divide the soup among the bowls and top with a light sprinkling of crumbled bacon. Or, you know, dump a truckload on it.

Gorgonzola Soup

Enjoy!