Monday, November 18, 2013

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

In order to make my life easier, lately I've been focusing on buying basic ingredients and making from them whatever I can.  Salad dressings aren't really a huge imposition to buy, as they're not very expensive, but there are several advantages to making your own.  For one thing, unless you're buying the gourmet or organic brands, there's probably a laundry list of things you can't pronounce.  I'm pretty good with pronunciation, but that doesn't mean I have any clue what they are.  Also the flavor of bottled dressings is NOTHING compared to homemade!  Combined with the ability to make as much or as little as you need and the fact that it's all relatively quick and easy, you kind of have a no brainer.

If you have a fairly stocked kitchen (i.e., you're not brand new on the cooking scene) then you probably have just about everything you need to make blue cheese dressing.  I keep gorgonzola, goat cheese, feta, blue cheese and the like in my freezer, saving them from whenever they were on sale last.  Aside from that, buttermilk might be the only ingredient missing from your arsenal.  But alas, I have a solution for that as well.

If you have milk and vinegar (or lemon juice), you have everything you need to make buttermilk!  To make 1 C, put 1 tablespoon of vinegar/lemon juice into a measuring cup.  Then add milk until it reaches exactly 1 cup.  I've used whole milk both of the times I made mine, but I don't know that you have to.

Let the milk sit for 5 minutes.

And voila!  You have substitution buttermilk.

You can really be as liberal as you want with the cheese.  About 1/4-1/2 C is what you want to aim for.  Also if you have gorgonzola instead of blue cheese, feel free to use that.  Some recipes across the web actually call for it.  I made a batch tonight and used a little of both.

If you don't want chunky dressing, mash up your cheese with a fork.  Add 1/3 C sour cream.

Add 1/3 C buttermilk.

And 1/4 C mayo.

Mix in 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar.  Judging by this picture (I made this initial batch about a month ago) I used red wine vinegar?  I don't know why I did, but it ended up being okay, so I suppose you could use red if pressed.

Add 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce (I LOVE the stuff, so I add a little extra).

And then 1/4 tsp freshly crushed black pepper.

I happened to have some parsley, so I finely diced about 2 tablespoons of it, and it was a lovely addition!  I highly recommend adding it.

Now add 1/2 tsp each of1 minced garlic and onion flake, a dash of salt, a pinch of sugar, and even a smidge of red pepper flake if you're feeling adventurous.

Jumbo makes the most excellent sous chef.

And there you have it.  I'll be honest with you, blue cheese makes me want to curl up a little and die inside.  I hate the stuff.  But I have continually eaten this recipe of my own accord.  I read where someone else referred to store bought blue cheese as rubbery, and upon having this creamy version I completely agree!

Substitution Buttermilk
-1 tbsp distilled vinegar or lemon juice
-1 cup of milk (minus 1 tbsp)

1.  Pour vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Fill with milk up to 1 Cup.

2.  Let sit for five minutes.  Use in your recipe of choice!

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing
-1/4-1/2 blue cheese or gorgonzola crumbles
-1/3 C buttermilk
-1/3 C sour cream
-1/4 C mayo
-1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
-1/4 tsp worcestershire sauce
-1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
-1/2 tsp minced garlic
-1/2 tsp onion flake
-pinch of salt and sugar (to taste)
-2 Tbsp finely diced parsley (optional)

1.  Combine ingredients.  Mash cheese crumbles with fork if a smoother consistency is desired.

2.  Refrigerate for 2-12 hours.  The longer it sits, the better the flavors will blend.  Enjoy!