May 27, 2011

Blue Cheese Scallion Biscuits

 There must have been a time when I did not like blue cheese, but if there was I cannot remember it. The ripely pungent, extremely boldly flavored moldy cheese doesn't seem like it would appeal to young children and I admit that it is something of an acquired taste. Yet I only know that the first time I remember eating blue cheese--smeared on crostini with roasted garlic--I couldn't get enough.

Blue cheese is good in salads, in mac n' cheese, on crackers--well, when isn't blue cheese a good idea? Now I know that it is also fantastic in these biscuits from Smitten Kitchen. The salty, savory flavor of blue cheese really shines in these craggy drop biscuits, but is not over powering. I served these biscuits with a subtly spiced roasted red pepper soup, but they would be a great accent to any dish that could use a hint of blue cheese. These are so quick and easy you can throw them in the oven right before you serve dinner. You will not regret it.

What a second, did I just say BISCUITS? Savory, cheesy biscuits?! So fluffy, so flaky, so rich and toasty!  Honestly, who doesn't love biscuits?!  I love them a bit too much, so I must very intentionally limit my biscuit making or things would very easily get out of hand. (And by things, I mean my girth.) Luckily, I had some friends over for dinner who love biscuits maybe even more than I do. They took the remaining biscuits safely out of my reach. (My scale and I thank you, D & K.)

One year ago: homemade tortilla chips, guacamole
Two years ago: chocolate cream cheese cupcakes, easy d.i.y. sushi
Other blue cheese recipes: roasted pear salad with blue cheese and walnutsstuffed burgers

Blue Cheese Scallion Biscuits
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 of a stick) cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or your hands to blend in the butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in blue cheese and scallions. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined. 
  3. Drop dough in 12 equal portions about 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheet. Bake in the middle of the oven until golden, 16 to 20 minutes.
Makes 12 biscuits

May 5, 2011

Garbanzo, Herb and Spinach Salad

Day off + reading food magazines + sunny weather (finally!) + impromptu barbecue = garbanzo, herb and spinach salad. You know, sometimes these things just come together. I'm glad these confluent factors led to this dish!

This salad is easy, slightly exotic, and combines really powerful flavors in an absolutely perfect balance. The garlic, basil, parsley, Parmesan and lemon juice combine fantastically complementary notes, and the toothsome garbanzo beans add texture, protein and heft. This salad has flavors reminiscent of a good pesto, but at a much lower cost. (Especially if you pick up a whole basil plant at Trader Joe's for only $2.99 instead of buying the cut herb at the store.) This salad could be easily adapted to include whatever else you happen to have in your fridge.

I found this recipe in Molly Weizenberg's (aka OrangetteBon Appetit column. I wanted to make it more of a salad salad, so I added a bed of spinach tossed with an easy olive oil and lemon juice salad dressing. The result was perfect for pairing with barbecue, or serving at a picnic, or eating whenever and wherever on a lovely spring or summer day.

P.S. It was possibly even better the next day.

Garbanzo, Herb and Spinach Salad
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 gloves of garlic, pressed or finely minced
  • 2/3 cup packed freshly grated Parmesan and/or Romano cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound or more baby spinach
  • Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing, to taste
  1. Combine chickpeas, basil, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a medium bowl. Add cheese and toss gently to blend all ingredients thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss spinach with dressing. Top spinach with garbanzo mixture to serve, pass remaining dressing if anyone wants more!