Blue Cheese Dressing and a Giveaway

October 9, 2009

Dressing Collage

You know the moment.  You are in a restaurant.  You’ve placed your order.  Your order comes with a salad and the waitperson asks you what kind  of dressing you want.  What do you answer?

For me, it’s honey mustard.  For my mom, it’s blue cheese.  As a child, I could never understand this.  Why would you want something so stinky on your salad?  As I got older, I grew to appreciate blue cheese and even came to like crumbles of it in my salad.  But I could never get past the gloppy texture of the actual dressing.

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Annie Sommerville has a perfect recipe for blue cheese dressing in her classic book Everyday Greens and like so many things, blue cheese dressing is a totally different animal when you make it yourself.  The first time I made this recipe years ago I couldn’t believe the flavor or the texture.  I also couldn’t believe how good it tasted over summer’s heirloom tomatoes and spicy arugula which is how Sommerville recommends you serve it.  Last weekend I found myself with some wonderful tomatoes but just regular ordinary lettuce and an avocado that needed to be used.  It was perfect that way too.

If you read other food blogs, you may have heard about the swag bag that some of us got at the BlogHer conference a few weeks ago.  There was the bag that everyone got which contained cans of soup and a box of cereal (I’m not kidding) among other ho hum things, and then there was the after party bag that contained the good stuff.  I left some of it in the hotel room (I have no need for a meat tenderizer) but I brought the rest home with me.  I keep looking at the beautiful Japanese knife and the kitchen shears and paring knife – all still in their packages – and wondering what to do with them.  Should I open them?  Should I give them away?

Of course the answer is give them away.  I have wonderful knives and I have shears and two paring knives.  I was lucky enough to go to BlogHer (and now am in New York) and I truly feel like I should share the bounty.  I’d like to send someone the knife, the shears and paring knife combo, and the $25 gift card to Chefscatalog.com where all this wonderful stuff came from.  As long it is legal to ship knives internationally, I will send it anywhere.  Just leave me a comment and tell me what kitchen tool you can’t live without.  You have until Tuesday, October 13th at 7pm PDT to enter.  I’ll pick a winner using a highly scientific method.

(UPDATE:  The contest is now closed!)

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One Year Ago:  Mediterranean Five Lentil and Chard Soup with Walnut Gremolata

Creamy Blue Cheese Dressing
Adapted from Everyday Greens
Makes about 3/4 cup

1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. heavy cream
1 ounce tangy blue cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp. Champagne vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley

Puree the buttermilk, cream, the cheese, vinegar, oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper in a blender until smooth, about 1 minute.  Transfer to a small bowl and stir in the parsley.



67 Comments »

  1. There are some ingredients that are just so good on their own, I almost can’t bear to use them in a recipe – and blue cheese is one of them! Though I’m more into the creamy, gooey varieties – perhaps an nice crumby one won’t be too great a sacrifice! Thanks for the ever-inspiring visuals.

    Comment by Koek! — October 9, 2009 @ 9:38 am

  2. I will tell you what gets the most use in our kitchen – a tomato knife. It’s not even an expensive tomato knife. The daughter of a lady I used to work with was selling kitchen utensils as a fundraiser for school. I picked out the knife and a few other items just to be nice- the whole order cost about $20! In addition to tomatoes, it’s great for cutting soft fruits. I can’t keep it in the drawer. It seems like I’m always having to wash it because we are always using it!

    Comment by The Cooking Bride — October 9, 2009 @ 9:39 am

  3. Hope you have a good time in New York! This salad and the blue cheese dressing look awesome.

    Comment by Emily — October 9, 2009 @ 11:03 am

  4. I couldn’t live without my kitchen aid mixer but I’m not sure that’s considered a tool…apart from that, I’d have to say I couldn’t live without my whisks then.

    I love blue cheese dressing btw so thanks for sharing the recipe!

    Comment by dawn — October 9, 2009 @ 12:02 pm

  5. Spatula!

    Thanks for the chance to win :)

    Comment by Rebecca — October 9, 2009 @ 2:05 pm

  6. I come across this question occasionally and, depending on the time of year or my current mood, I usually have differing answers. Right now my favorite tool is a little ceramic pot from a studio back in Wisconsin that I fill with kosher salt for cooking. It’s so easy to reach over and grab the tiny spoon to add a pinch for seasoning, or dig in there with my hand to grab a lot for boiling pasta water. A kitchen epiphany!

    Cheers,

    *Heather*

    Comment by heather — October 9, 2009 @ 2:22 pm

  7. My favorite kitchen tool is a whisk.
    By the way, I love blue cheese too and this recipe looks great!

    Comment by Kathy — October 9, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

  8. How fun! I think my most-used kitchen tool is a garlic chopper. We love our garlic! I’m going to bookmark this blue cheese recipe. It looks fabulous w/those tomatoes and I’ve never made blue cheese!

    Comment by fresh365 — October 9, 2009 @ 2:31 pm

  9. My locking tongs. My knives and I get along fine, and our pots and pans are lovely. But my tongs are indispensable. They are what I miss the most when I’m cooking away from home.

    Comment by Alison — October 9, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

  10. My most prized kitchen tool would is my food processor. Yummy looking salad!

    Comment by Kristen — October 9, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

  11. I’m going to give this one another shot, since graham seemed to favor in me with your last giveaway ;) I often cook and my parents or grandma’s house cause i live in a mini studio. In their kitchens, I LOVE using a zester. I think lemon can find its way into almost anything, and a zester works more efficiently than a standard grater!

    Comment by Sprouted Kitchen — October 9, 2009 @ 4:02 pm

  12. My KitchenAid is a workhorse, my little wooden juicer has juiced many a lemon, I have my grandmother’s cheese grater and Wusthoff knives, but, I would have to say that my favorite kitchen tool is a book. I love Martha Stewart and Ina Garten is wonderful and I have and use all of her books, but my dogeared mainstay is a 36 year old Better Homes and Garden New Cook Book, which isn’t new any longer, whose pages are falling out, and whose tabs are no more. It is always nearby as it has weights and measures, emergency substitutions, even can sizes and their equivalent measurements on the inside cover and remains my “go to” reference tool in my kitchen.

    Comment by Penny — October 9, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  13. Eeek! So excited for this giveaway. My favorite kitchen tool is a classic– my spatula. It was a gift from my mother from Williams Sonoma and I use it constantly.

    Comment by Rebecca — October 9, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  14. I have to say I couldn’t live without cookie sheets. They get used all the time, for roasting veggies to baking cookies! Thanks for the recipe and the giveaway!

    Comment by tyler — October 9, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  15. Great creamy blue cheese dressing…so tasty.
    The kitchen tool I cannot do without? That would have to be a very good chopping knife. I have a very small kitchen and not much space for kitchen knives, so one very good one is all I need.

    Comment by susan — October 9, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  16. Well..I had to think hard on this one becasue I have so many favorites..but one thing I could not live with out is my wine opener:) I know..some may be saying, “kitchen tool?” I consider it one..and one I could not live without…how else could you get those corks out of the bottles?
    LOVE your blog…I have tried so many of your recipes!!

    Comment by Nancy — October 9, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

  17. Hello there! I love your blog recipes! Thanks for the prize! I always use my wooden spoons for cooking and mixing, but for the heavy load, my kitchenaid will be my best tool! thanks… Gina F

    Comment by Gina — October 9, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  18. kitchenaid mixer
    microplane zester
    Rachel Ray knife

    thanks for a great giveaway!

    Comment by Veggie Belly — October 9, 2009 @ 7:26 pm

  19. there’s nothing better than a good set of knives!

    Comment by Ellen — October 9, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

  20. honestly, I love rubber spatulas. As plain jane as it might sound, they are just so helpful when you’re trying to scrape the last bit of batter or sauce, etc out of the bowl or jar! Oh, I was really tempted to say my dishwasher (because I would not do 1/4 the amount of cooking or baking that I do if I did not have one to help me clean up afterward)but I decided that’s not exactly a kitchen tool!

    Comment by Emily Rose — October 9, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  21. I couldn’t live without my kitchen shears!

    Comment by Brianne — October 9, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  22. Mmmmm… blue cheese dressing…

    The bf’s fish filet knife… cheap, but so stinkin’ sharp!

    Comment by Kim — October 9, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

  23. I was going to say the kitchenaid, but it seems to be super popular so…i’ll say my rubber spatula…use it all the time.

    Comment by Jen — October 9, 2009 @ 11:18 pm

  24. My mouth is seriously about to water here. Oooh it just looks so good!

    I definitely can’t live without this Cutco knife I have. It’s SO freakin’ sharp! I love it :)

    Comment by Lisette — October 10, 2009 @ 12:05 am

  25. My can’t live without/guilty pleasure kitchen implement is my immersion blender. It makes smoothies, creamy soups, re-emulsifies nut purees, salad dressing, and everything else I’ve ever wanted…

    Comment by Meg — October 10, 2009 @ 2:18 am

  26. One of my most-used kitchen tools is my garlic press- one that doesn’t require the cloves to be peeled first. Fresh garlic adds flavor to so many dishes that I can’t believe I used to use the pre-chopped jarred variety! I love your blog and recipes!

    Comment by Stephanie — October 10, 2009 @ 2:42 am

  27. Although I have yet to comment on your blog, I use your recipes all the time! I’m excited to try this one.

    My favorite kitchen tool is the microplane grater that I received for Christmas last year. I can use it for ginger, cheeses, zesting citrus–just about anything! Have a wonderful time in New York!

    Comment by Emily — October 10, 2009 @ 7:13 am

  28. Dana, your blog is wonderful. Thank you for sharing recipes and your life with us! It is a joy to read.
    Looks like all the obvious joys of kitchenware have been mentioned so…I LOVE my nutmeg grinder. It is a magical reminder of a great trip to the Caribbean and gathering nutmeg at a botanical garden. I am transported back there every time I use it.

    Comment by Ann Strickland — October 10, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

  29. I cannot live without my immersion blender. It’s great for making everything from soups to desserts. What a great giveaway!

    Comment by RF — October 10, 2009 @ 10:12 pm

  30. Hmmm. It depends on what I am doing. If I am cooking, I would have to say my tongs. I love them, and after 10 years, they are still going strong.

    If I am baking, I would have to say my spoonula (is that what they call them?). It’s the standard rubber spatula, but with a bit of a spoon to it. It gets out every last bit of batter!

    Comment by Jules — October 10, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

  31. I love my tongs even though a good chinese girl would use chopsticks!

    Comment by Lesley — October 11, 2009 @ 12:03 am

  32. Salad Spinner! Goes great with blue cheese!

    Comment by Lisa — October 11, 2009 @ 1:03 am

  33. Your pictures, stories and recipes are so inspiring – I’ve made several of your recipes and have loved them! I’d have to say a good old fashioned wooden spoon is the best tool, but I too love my immersion blender. Every time I use it I think – what a cool handy tool and much easier to clean than a blender!

    Comment by Julie — October 11, 2009 @ 2:54 am

  34. Oh it looks SO yummy! I can’t live without my oven. I’ve tried to use the toaster oven on several occasions and I just burn things. Also the microwave makes things taste funny to me…

    Comment by Ladytink_534 — October 11, 2009 @ 10:53 am

  35. Just ONE favorite kitchen tool?! I sure reach for my Microplane alot, and have a cut on my thumb to prove it. I tend to put lemon zest on EVERYTHING, and I love to see those little perfect shreds falling from the blade…

    Comment by The Leftoverist — October 11, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  36. My kitchenaid and my little sharp paring knife for cutting apples straight and clean.

    Comment by rachel — October 11, 2009 @ 3:30 pm

  37. I never liked Blue Cheese as a kid either…too stinky! And at 32, I still haven’t learned to eat it in any way, shape or form. Nope. Still too stinky and just wierd for me. :)

    My favorite kitchen tool?? My first thought was my KitchenAid mixer, but that’s more of an appliance. So,I’d probably say my wooden spoons are my favorite tools. I use them for everything. And I have a bunch of them too…one can never have too many spoons!

    Comment by Carla Wells — October 11, 2009 @ 7:10 pm

  38. I love the recipe. And blue cheese on its own, of course, but like you it took a while for me to like it.

    I love a good knife in the kitchen, as well as my microplane grater. Those two gadgets get the most use out of everything else in my kitchen.

    Comment by Eralda — October 11, 2009 @ 8:41 pm

  39. I have my moods with blue cheese. It really depends. But there are some really great blue cheese. I can’t live without my chef’s knife.

    Comment by veron — October 11, 2009 @ 10:18 pm

  40. I have an old paring knife that has been sharpened to probably half it’s original size over the years. I love the way it fits in my hand and use it all the time. I love blue cheese, too, on salads, fruit, baked potatoes, steaks, even on toast for breakfast. Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

    Comment by Dani — October 11, 2009 @ 10:36 pm

  41. I would love to win the tools! AND I loooove blue cheese… the good homemade kind. Yum!

    Comment by ASHLEA — October 12, 2009 @ 5:01 am

  42. Hello there, this is my first comment to your blog although I’ve been reading it before. First, the dressing looks delicious. I’ve always LOVED blue cheese dressing (even with McDonalds salads!) so I can’t wait to make my own.
    Second, the kitchen tool I couldn’t live without is probably the set of Victor Inox knives I got when I moved to my new home. They are fantastic, really sharp and I use them ALL the time. I like your winner picking method by the way :)

    Comment by Bianca — October 12, 2009 @ 8:28 am

  43. That salad looks yummy no matter what you dress it with!

    I find knives, spoons, a good cast-iron skillet – these are basics that ensure kitchen efficacy, not indispensible tools based upon preference.

    I am a baker more than a cook, so my nesting glass bowls get a workout regularly. I could survive with a few basic bowls but I use the different sizes for a million things, even an impromtu double boiler. And when you have a tiny apartment kitchen like I do, the space saved by nesting is great!

    Comment by Jess — October 12, 2009 @ 8:34 pm

  44. The one kitchen tool I could not live without would have to be my apple slicer. We are always eating apples around here and it is so easy to clice and core one with those! Thanks for the chance to win.

    Comment by Tammy — October 12, 2009 @ 9:03 pm

  45. Don’t pick me! I have all that good stuff already, and I LOVE the knife, it’s awesome.

    Besides knives, I cannot live without kitchen tongs. Such a simple thing, and I use them for everything.

    Comment by Allison Arevalo — October 12, 2009 @ 9:11 pm

  46. I am not a blue cheese fan, but Josh loves it. It is his favorite. I am pretty picky when it comes to dressings, but I guess I am picky with most of my food choices:)

    Comment by Maria — October 12, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

  47. I do love a good blue cheese dressing, but I’ve never made my own! As for the kitchen tool that I couldn’t live without…it would have to be my chef’n silicone spatula. I use it to scrape out bowls and I love it to death. I think it’s because I’m so thrifty that I get such pleasure out of scraping out bowls.

    Comment by kickpleat — October 12, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

  48. Not entering the giveaway (because Duh, I already have the stuff!) but wanted to say that blue cheese dressing is also awesome on beets. Just a little tip from my childhood salad bar lovin ways.

    Comment by Kate @ Savour Fare — October 12, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

  49. I don’t have a fancy kitchen or many tools, not because I wouldn’t love them, but there are other priorities (ages 8 and 11 now). When I heard Greg Atkinson on the radio talking about drying salad in a pillowcase, and how one of his favorite gifts to give is a pair of kitchen tongs, it made me feel better about my circumstances. One doesn’t need a lot. That said, I treasure my old, well-seasoned cast iron skillet. It means Sunday morning pancakes whether we are at home or camping, and someday the kids will probably fight over it.

    Comment by Julie — October 12, 2009 @ 9:40 pm

  50. glad you had fun at blogher! sounds like it was a good weekend. :)

    um, the kitchen tool we couldn’t live without? a garlic press. no doubt.

    Comment by reluctant veggie — October 12, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

  51. Good question!! Can’t live without my… red mixing bowls!! :)

    Comment by Michelle — October 12, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

  52. My favorite kitchen tool is my Black and Decker electric mini-chopper. I have had it for years and it’s still going strong. I use it for onions, chocolate, nuts; you name it. It’s small and oh so easy to clean.

    Comment by April — October 12, 2009 @ 10:08 pm

  53. As far as kitchen tools go, it’s probably the mini grater I found that actually fits in a drawer and doesn’t take up much space in the dishwasher. Love that for anything that’s too small to bother getting the food processor all dirty!

    Comment by Kristie McNealy — October 12, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

  54. I can’t live w/o a can opener!

    Lovely blog :)

    Comment by Jaime — October 12, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  55. Thanks so much for the fabulous giveaway – I would be SO thrilled to win! I absolutely could not live without my stainless steel cheese grater!

    Comment by Aimee W. — October 12, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

  56. I can’t live without my $5 stoneware Pfaltzgraff casserole dish I bought at their outlet store probably 12 years ago. My girlfriend and I decided on a whim to take a trip across the border ( We’re Canadians! ) with three children under the age of two! We now live in different parts of the country but I think of her every time I use this dish, and I use it all the time! Miss you Nance!

    Comment by Heather — October 12, 2009 @ 11:11 pm

  57. I don’t want to enter since I got the same swag bag as you but I agree – salad dressings are a whole new world when made from scratch. I hated all dressings as a kid. I’ve gradually come around but still prefer homemade vinaigrette or buttermilk ranch. Yum!

    Comment by maris — October 13, 2009 @ 1:12 am

  58. I could not live without my kitchen shears! I use them for everything from raw meat, to veggies, to cutting dough! I have 2 pairs!

    Comment by Jennifer C. — October 13, 2009 @ 2:48 am

  59. The most important kitchen tool to me would have to be a good knife! It’s what I use the most often in my kitchen; with the shears coming in a close second – if not battling for first place with the knife!

    Comment by Siobhain Armani — October 13, 2009 @ 3:57 am

  60. I love honey mustard dressing too. I’ve never really liked blue cheese on it’s own but blue cheese dressing is always yummy. How nice of you to give all of that away! =) As for the kitchen tool I can’t live without… as odd as it might sound, might be a steak knife. I never eat steak obviously but the knives are always sharp and they’re cheap so I put them in the dishwasher after using them. I always use them if I want to just cut up a piece of fruit or slice a tomato and don’t want to wash a knife!

    Comment by Ashley — October 13, 2009 @ 4:11 am

  61. How easy to turn chicken, shrimp and steak with a great pair of tongs.

    Comment by Maree Sperle — October 13, 2009 @ 4:24 am

  62. Hi Dana,

    This dressing looks wonderful……….thanks for sharing.

    Kitchen tool that I can’t live withouth……jalapeno seeder. There are several out there, I have tried them all. This particular one is similiar to a potato peeler, makes for a quick clean to grill or stuff jalapenos!

    Love your site!

    Comment by Teresa — October 13, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  63. One of my favorite tools is a pastry cutter. It’s great for making delicate biscuits, pie pastry, and fruit crisp toppings!

    Comment by Joanne Janssen — October 13, 2009 @ 4:00 pm

  64. I love my onion chopper…makes great hash browns too

    Comment by Lacey — October 13, 2009 @ 5:01 pm

  65. Absolutely, definitely, positively, indispensable to me is not exactly a tool (is that cheating?): It’s truffle salt. Even a simple dinner of eggs and toast is divine with a little bit sprinkled on top. As for tools I can’t live without… the winner would have to be my salad spinner. Wet salad greens are sad looking and salad dressing slides right off them. This provides a true shortcut for a necessary but otherwise terribly tedious job.

    Comment by Nuna C — October 13, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

  66. my water kettle! it is used all the time. from tea to coffee to par boiling to cleaning up. and it’s just seconds to boiling water.
    this dressing looks great btw – gonna make it tonight on a salad with apples and walnuts. yum.

    Comment by k. walters — October 14, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  67. Hello:
    I like your site.
    I couldn’t find a way to leave you my email address so I could receive your blog.
    Please add me to your list to receive your blog.
    I am in San Francisco.
    Got your Blog from STACY SNACKS BLOG.
    Thanks
    Chef and Caterer Frank
    TASTYFOOD@MSN.COM

    Comment by Frank — October 20, 2009 @ 8:47 pm



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