Hankerings’ Blue Cheese Dressing

Is it “blue” or “bleu” cheese?

From my experience, if I sit down at a mom & pop place off main street – I’m more likely to see “bleu” cheese on the menu. Buffalo Wild Wings is blue cheese. But Hooters is bleu cheese. Who’s right?

Instead of relying on my unreliable anecdotes, I asked the Internet. Grammarphobia writes that bleu is a “Frenchified” version of the word blue that became commonplace on menus in the 1940’s. Essentially, in an attempt to make blue cheese dressing sound fancy, they went with a French translation of the word.

For the sake of calling it what it is, I have and will continue to sit on the “blue” cheese side of the fence.

Blue cheese dressing will always have a tendency to get gloopy if you aren’t careful to thin it out. You don’t want to taste the mayonnaise, and more importantly, you don’t want that dreaded too-thick texture. Creamy dressing should coat lightly, but be heavily flavored. There should be a pervasive blue cheese flavor, with a lot of garlic, of course.

The base for all my dairy-based dressings start with my musts – milk, vinegar, vegetable oil, mayonnaise and sour cream.

Then come the flavor enhancers. Some combination of garlic, lemon juice and Dijon mustard will usually make their way into every creamy dressing I make. You need them. With blue cheese dressing, you only really need to add Worcestershire to give it that savory punch, but I can’t help myself and other things inevitably end up in there.

Here’s an ultra-yummy dressing that goes great with the classics – buffalo wings & wedge salads – but if you haven’t tried it before, it’s a delicious complement to simple ripe red tomatoes. I could eat an entire bowl smothered in the stuff.

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 1 1 / 2 pints.

  • 1 / 2 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 1 / 3 cup whole milk
  • 1 / 4 cup white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 oz. Amish blue, or another sharp blue cheese, plus 2 oz. additional
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a food processor and whir until the garlic is completely incorporated and no chunks remain. Stir in the remaining blue cheese and store in a mason jar.
  2. Set in the fridge for as long as possible so the flavors can mingle with each other. The dressing will last 7 to 10 days in the fridge.

 

 

 

Hankerings’ Caesar Dressing

How do you like your Caesar salad? Are you an extra crouton guy or gal? Dressing on the side? When the waiter comes around, are you insistent on their cranking the pepper mill for an awkwardly long period of time, like me?

I like my topping-to-lettuce proportion to be high – ideally there is barely enough romaine to qualify this as a salad. I’m talking anchovies all over, four-inch-long shavings of parm reg, and a loaf’s worth of croutons on the plate – all coated with a heavy dousing of dressing, a squeeze of lemon and a showering of crushed black peppercorns.

Romaine is the supporting cast in my ideal Caesar salad. It’s there to play host to that medley of saltiness, garlic, briny fish flavor, pepper kick and citric acid.

I want my dressing to incorporate all those yummy add-ons. This dressing does a good job of that.

And because I have vested interest in ensuring your dressing turns out just right, I want to impress upon the importance of using Hellmann’s Mayonnaise. Not just in this salad dressing, but all recipes that require mayo.

If I was running for office, their mayonnaise would be in my policy platform. I’ve never been so disappointed with any substitute ingredient in my life – I’m looking at you, Whole Foods’ 365 organic mayonnaise! There’s something about Hellmann’s that helps you forget that you’re eating room-temperature whipped egg yolks and oil. All you know is you’re eating something rich and delicious.

It would be even better if you made your own mayonnaise. I always trust Alton Brown to reveal the best techniques when it comes to specialty cooking processes, and this recipe makes you feel capable of cooking something you might think is too burdensome or overly-complex.

You need and deserve the good stuff – and from experience, it’s a wise move to buy the biggest container you can find. There’s few foods that need to be bought in bulk, and this is one of them.

If you’re a Cesar salad fanatic like me, there’s a lot you will love in this dressing.

All hail King Ceasar! …salad dressing. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 1 pint dressing.

  • 1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
  • 1 / 3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parm reg
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 lemon, juiced & zested
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely cracked black pepper

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Whir all the ingredients except the black pepper in a food processor until completely pureed. Stir in the cracked black pepper and put into a glass mason jar. The dressing will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Hankerings’ (Not-So-Secret) Ranch Dressing Recipe

If someone were to ask me, “what’s the best salad dressing you ever had?” – I’d actually have an answer for them.

I was sitting at a local bar in New Jersey’s Long Beach Island called the Black Whale, where I was told that I “had to order the house salad.”

For reasons I’m sure you can understand, I had my doubts that this salad would be any good.

The house salad ended up being a house salad. But the house-made ranch dressing they served with it blew my mind.  It came in a glass bottle that the bartenders kept within arm’s reach in the ice machine.

I should’ve known then – when they gave me enough ranch dressing to last a family of four six months – that there was a reason they bring an entire carafe of dressing for a small plate of leaves. Within a matter of minutes, the salad heap was dwindling, but I was still pouring.

I couldn’t have enough of this dressing.

I asked the waitress to see if the chef could do me a huge solid and share the recipe with me.

She came back without a recipe, letting me know the secret was a whole lot of garlic – but not just one type of garlic. There’s fresh and roasted garlic.

So after some drawn-out, nitpicky trial and error, I have created a dressing that tastes nearly identical to what I had at the Black Whale. And I’m very happy about it.

As a self-proclaimed neutral with a capital “N” on salads, it doesn’t mean I can’t still love the dressing we pour over them.

I’ll be posting several more salad dressing recipes in the coming weeks – be sure to check back & see what new concoctions I’ve managed to whip up. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

Makes 1 1 / 2 pints.

  • 1 / 2 cup Hellman’s mayonnaise
  • 1 / 3 cup whole milk
  • 1 / 4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 garlic bulb + 2 cloves garlic
  • Olive oil

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to *400.
  2. Cut the garlic bulb in half, rub with olive oil, and place in foil on a sheet pan or the oven rack. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, until the garlic flesh is browned but not burnt.
  3. Once cooled, squeeze out the garlic cloves from half the bulb, discarding the skins. Since you already put in all the work, save the remaining half of the roasted garlic.
  4. Put the roasted garlic and all the remaining ingredients in a food processor, whirring until all the herbs & garlic cloves are completely emulsified.
  5. Set in the fridge for as long as possible so the flavors can mingle with each other. The dressing will last 7 to 10 days in the fridge.