I'm back! As promised, with a recipe. AND it's not just any recipe. Instead, I give you a true "blue" Cheryl Original. At first glance, you spy the title and think "big deal, it's a dressing recipe". Let me tell you, it has taken me years to come up with this recipe and I was tweaking it even as recently as a few months ago. Finally, I am proud to say, it's perfect. No more tweaking necessary. We have achieved Blue Cheese perfection. A word of caution, this post is unnecessarily verbose today. I guess I have missed my virtual foodie family and feel the need to make up for my absence. Skip to the pics if you want to avoid my tales of woe concerning salad dressing.
When I was growing up (you know it's going to be a long one when it starts out like that), we never purchased super market Blue Cheese Dressing in a bottle. It had a very artificial taste and texture; what I imagine chewing on a couple of waded up bandaids might taste like. So, mom purchased blue cheese crumbles in a container. I don't remember the particular brand, but it had a dressing recipe on the lid, or the back of the container, or somewhere on the packaging. It was a pretty good one, so mom cut it out and saved it to her special recipe file. I'm talking paper file, not computer file, and you knew it had to be good to pass the rigorous taste requirements in order to join the other cream of the crop dishes that filled that folder.
One day I was making this dressing and pulled out that special recipe. I think the grocery store had started carrying a different brand of crumbles, because the recipe on this other package was obviously inferior to the one mom had so carefully cut out. After I made it and began cleaning up, gremlins invaded the kitchen and threw out the recipe in an act of impish mischievousness. That's the only explanation, because I would never have thrown away that Holy Grail of a recipe, yet, it was gone. Sure we knew what was in it, but we weren't sure of the amounts. It wasn't very complicated, but for some reason it befuddled us and we could not replicate it no matter how hard we tried.
Blue Cheese Dressing has always been the Valadez Family's favorite way to accessorize a salad. I remember living on base in Ft. Campbell, KY when I was in the 6th grade. One night every weekend, either Friday or Saturday, the family would pile into the car and head down the road to Charlie's Steakhouse for some of the best food I'd ever eaten during that time in my young life. I always ordered fried oysters. I had a very sophisticated palate and expensive tastes, even then...lol! If dinner was slow coming out of the kitchen, Dad would grumble and blame my innocent plate of shellfish, saying "they probably had to drive to the pier and catch those damn oysters".
The start of every meal at Charlie's meant you could choose a salad or lettuce wedge with whatever adornment your hungry little heart desired. I always opted for the lettuce wedge with Charlie's Famous Blue Cheese Dressing. I didn't want a variety of veggies competing for the attention of my taste buds when all I was shooting for was a conduit to get the dressing from my plate, to my mouth. The green transport on which it arrived didn't matter. Sure I could have asked for a bowl and a spoon, and forgone the lettuce completely, but mom and dad might have balked.
When the salad course arrived at the table, my giant wedge would be afloat in a sea of oily pink blue cheese dressing. To this day, we have no idea why it was oily or pink. Must have been a combination of the elixir of the gods and fairy dust, because it tasted like heaven. Sure, we went back to the Valadez Kitchen Lab and tried recreate it, but no amount of ketchup, cocktail sauce, or other red condiment seemed to do the trick. Once again, we were befuddled.
Well, here I am thirty-some odd years later, still obsessing over the perfect blue cheese dressing, but I'm pretty certain that journey has come to an end. I'm happy with this recipe. It makes up quite a large batch, but you can eat it on salads the rest of the week. It contains several ingredients, but each one adds it's own flavor and is completely necessary. The final tweak was the addition of a splash of white wine vinegar. It pulled it all together and added that little bit of tang that dances lightly on the tongue. I'm even considering replacing the buttermilk with cream cheese to create a hot blue cheese dip similar to a dish served at a certain pub here in Albuquerque. Oh dear, could this be another obsession?
|Lots of players in this performance, but it takes a full cast of characters to put on a perfect show.|
|I use a full 8oz. container of crumbles, but feel free to cut back if it is too much for your tastes. Many brands come in containers that are only 5ozs.|
|Who invited bacon to this party?! Oh well, since you're here, I guess you can help serve.|
|I like to cook bacon on a wire rack in a sheet pan in a 425* oven 25-30 mins (or until it's crispy). Don't preheat, let the oven come up to temperature with the bacon, just like you would do if cooking it in a pan.|
|Our chosen dressing to mouth conduit tonight...the lettuce wedge.|
|Here is Ms. Wedge all "dressed" up and ready for a night on the town.|
Note: The garlic powder, onion powder, worcestershire, and tabasco measurements are not exact. Prepare it to your tastes adding more as you prefer.
8ozs crumbled blue cheese
1 cup mayonaise
1 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
dash or 2 of worcestershire sauce
3 or 4 dashes of tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, stir together blue cheese crumbles, mayonnaise, sour cream, and buttermilk until well blended. Using the back of the spoon, mash some of the crumbles to disperse the blue cheese flavor throughout the dressing. Stir in vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, worcestershire sauce, and tabasco sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Its even better the next day.