Winter Salads – Maytag Blue Cheese Salad

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This salad is SO good, it will make you forget all about sugarplums…

Yield:  4 servings

Ingredients

1 egg

6 ounces Maytag Blue cheese

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

Salt and black pepper

1 1/2 cups olive oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

Dash Worcestershire sauce

Dash pepper sauce

6 cups hearts of Romaine lettuce or Iceberg lettuce wedges

1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts or pine nuts

6 ounces crispy bacon

2 Roma tomatoes, finely diced

2 scallions, chopped

Directions

In a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, combine the egg, 4 ounces of the blue cheese, mustard, honey and garlic. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until all the oil is incorporated and the mixture is thick. With the machine running, add the buttermilk. Season the dressing with the Worcestershire sauce, pepper sauce, salt, and pepper.

In a mixing bowl, toss the hearts of Romaine with as much dressing as desired as well as the bacon, tomatoes and toasted nuts.

Place the Romaine or wedges in the center of each of four plates. If you are using Iceberg lettuce wedges, pour dressing over them and sprinkle with bacon, tomatoes and nuts.

Sprinkle each salad with the remaining blue cheese and chopped scallions.

British Week – Shepherds’ Pie

This is one of my very favorite English entrees, second only to fish and chips.

My elementary school lunchroom would serve it once a week. It’s perfect comfort food!


For the potatoes:
1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
1 teaspoon each, kosher salt and honey
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas

Directions
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch saute pan and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the lamb, salt, and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the honey, tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.

Add the corn and peas to the lamb mixture and spread evenly into an 11 by 7-inch glass baking dish. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place on a parchment lined half sheet pan on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 15 minutes before serving.