And a kickin’ blue cheese yogurt dressing
This was a salad-scape I threw together on Friday for lunch. I had some steak from a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich I bought that was way too big for me, so I was looking for things to go with the extra meat I pilfered from the leftover sandwich. Blue cheese, definitely, and mushrooms and onions … oh and some toasted nuts for crunch. A spicy blue cheese dressing, yes. But then it needed a little something sweet and juicy to counterpoint all the intense meat and cheese flavors. I had some of the pear and pomegranate seeds left from the pear crostini — that was just the thing.
Make the dressing first.
Kickin Blue Cheese Yogurt Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup plain lowfat yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons blue cheese crumbles
Mix all ingredients together and let sit to blend the flavors while you prepare the salad.
Blues n Beef Salad with Pear & Pomegranate Seeds
- Mixed greens
- Steak or Roast beef, thinly sliced and warm
- Sliced mushrooms
- Sliced red onions
- Toasted walnuts
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Hunks of ripe red pear
- Pomegranate seeds
Fill the bowl 3/4 full of greens. Top with the rest of the ingredients as you like. Drizzle with the dressing and enjoy.
and three cheeses: Gouda, Blue, and Cream Cheese
I love the word “crostini” … it sounds so fancy. Like you are at a posh dinner party where everyone is wearing tuxedos or dinner gowns with long white gloves, and sipping champagne. It’s sophisticated.
I have been working on this crostini for days, playing the name over and over in my head, thinking forward to the time when I will have my house in order enough to have a REAL party. Last night I made this crostini for the 2nd time, trying to perfect this recipe, and my daughter asked me what I was making. When I said “crostini”, she asked “what’s that?” … and basically my answer was “it’s a fancy little toast.”
You see, when you add some lovely fruit and funky cheeses and vinegar and toasted walnuts, well, then you have transported toast way beyond your simple breakfast or garlic toast. It is simply sublime. It’s party-worthy. It’s get-all-dressed-up-and-get-the-good-dishes-and-real-napkins-out worthy.
Rosemary Pear Crostini with Walnuts, Pomegranate Seeds, & Three Cheeses
I didn’t include amounts on most of the ingredients, because it depends on how many you want to make. I was making them as a snack for myself, so I didn’t need very much, but if you’re making them for a party, well, then, you’re going to need more toast, and pear, and cheese and stuff …
- 3 oz. light cream cheese
- 2 Tablespoons loose blue cheese crumbles
- 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- Thinly sliced crusty french bread or baguette, toasted
- Habanero pepper jelly (or if you don’t like hot peppers, try another jam or jelly)
- Vinaigrette salad dressing (I used my maple cranberry vinaigrette from this post, but I think just about any vinaigrette would work)
- If you like: Paper-thin sliced prosciutto (I tried it both with and without prosciutto and honestly, I like it both ways)
- Fresh pear slices
- Slices of gouda cheese
- Toasted walnuts
- Pomegranate seeds
- First, mix the cream cheese, blue cheese crumbles, and rosemary in a small bowl. Set aside while you prepare the other things.
- Toast the bread and then spread it with a very thin layer of pepper jelly, then brush the little toasts with a low-fat vinaigrette salad dressing — or if you prefer, just a balsamic (or your favorite flavor of) vinegar.
- Spread a layer of the cream cheese mixture over the jelly. It will be a little messy, but it’s ok.
- Set the little toasts on a baking sheet.
- If you are using proscuitto, add a thin slice of that.
- Now arrange pear slices on top to cover the little toasts, then some slices of gouda cheese.
- Bake or broil the toasts until the cheese is melted and a little bubbly.
- Immediately top with the walnuts and pomegranate seeds, pressing them into the melted cheese to help the little things to stick to the top of the crostini.
- Serve immediately, garnished with sprigs of fresh rosemary and extra pomegranate seeds and a nice glass of wine.
By the way, my daughter calls the pomegranate seeds her “beauty seeds” … and they are terrifically good for you, so I am sure they make you beautiful inside and out … and besides they look beautiful, so make sure to eat plenty of them with your crostini.
This month I am doing a series of connections through food. I signed up for this challenge to blog every day in October about how food helps us connect, but I made no plan how I was going to go about it. I have found so many connections through food that I just trusted this would happen. Like it did when I started this blog. Or actually, even before I started it.
So today’s connection was just a little freaky.
I had seen a great post from Cookie & Kate on Strawberry Spinach Salad with Sweet and Spicy Walnuts, and shared it on facebook and we had exchanged a few comments about the walnuts and what other great combinations you could make with them.
So this walnut salad idea was forming in my head … and I looked back at her recipe and realized it only takes a few minutes to make these nuts … I could do this for lunch! HA!
I went into the kitchen, made these lovely nuts, threw together the salad of my daydreams, made some cheesy basil/garlic toast to compliment the sweet salad, took some pics, and went back to work. As I was munching on my salad and cheesy garlic toast, I popped into my personal page on facebook to see what my friends were up to.
And my friend Russ had just posted this picture: (BTW, in case you are wondering, yes, he gave me permission to post the picture.)
“Open faced chicken panini and salad. 7 points Ciabatta 1/2 roll, sliced grilled chicken, tomato, low fat feta and mozzarella, drops of Tuscan herb olive oil, toasted. Mixed greens with low fat Italian dressing topped with a few sugar roasted walnuts.”
I looked at what he was eating, I looked at what I was eating (at the very same moment in time) and it just seemed like one of those freaky Zen moments when you both are doing exactly the same thing at exactly the same time in completely different places. I know his lunch is not EXACTLY like mine, but my gosh look it’s the same greens! and my cheesy garlic toast was on a toasted bun almost exactly like his. (Sorry I have no photo of the garlic toast … I only pic’d the salad.)
If it weren’t for Russ, I wouldn’t even be food blogging! I got started with taking pictures of my food because Russ pushed me to. A long time ago, I went to college with Russ and we have since re-connected on Facebook. He recently started a new initiative to eat healthier, and as part of that, he started posting pictures of the food he is eating every day. Russ is a genius with food presentation and since I’m a total foodie, every time I saw a Russ food pic, I commented. And since I was constantly sharing descriptions of the food I was eating, Russ started asking for pictures. And so I started taking pictures.
Until eventually (with a little encouragement from a few other friends) I got up the courage to start a food blog … that’s how Sumptuous Spoonfuls was born. My friends helped me pick out a name for it. It went through several mutations before I finally settled on Sumptuous Spoonfuls. One of my other friends had suggested Scrumptious Spoonfuls (or Sporkfuls! for fun), but then I think it was Russ who said Sumptuous would work too. And I like how it sounds together.
Oh yes, back to the salad! I had been dreaming of a beautiful pear, blue cheese, and toasted spicy sweet nuts. The only question was what dressing to use with it? I considered a yogurt dressing, but since I was in a rush, I went with something I already had made: my Kickin Berry Vinaigrette. A creamy blue cheese might be nice with this too.
There is another story too about the Spicy Nuts part, but I think I will need to save that for another day.
Pear Salad with Blue Cheese and Sweet & Spicy Walnuts
- Mixed (organic!) salad greens
- Chopped red onion
- One red ripe pear, sliced, seeded, and cut into chunks
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Sweet & spicy toasted walnuts (recipe at Cookie & Kate)
- Kicking Berry Vinaigrette dressing (or other dressing of your choice–recipe is at the end of my Berry Salad post)
- Fill your salad bowl mostly full with greens.
- Top with onion, blue cheese and pear chunks.
- Toss a few toasted sweet & spicy nuts on top.
- Drizzle the lovely dressing over.
- Serve with a savory toasted cheesy garlicky bread thing to offset the sweetness of the salad. With or without meat.