Thursday, February 15, 2007

Not Dessert

Sorry about the heart, a day late and all. And for you Valentine haters, extra sorry.
This came out so good I really have to share it. (You don't have to make it in a heart shape!)
You might think this is "Coeur à la Crème" but it's not a sugared confection. My version was made from blue cheese, crème fraîche and beets. Hey, you like that combo in salads, don't you?
Now, this is not (repeat after me) a recipe blog, but here's how it goes:
I used one of those cute porcelain heart-shaped molds with tiny perforations in the bottom that allow excess moisture to drain out. My mold was the small kind, about 4 or 5 inches across, for two snackers.
What you do is take a guess at how much blue cheese would fill the mold about 3/4 full. Set it aside.
Then, this is the killer app part: Heat some crème fraîche over low heat and gently simmer a few fresh sage leaves and bay leaves. If you don't have fresh bay leaves, use some other fresh herb you like; you want to extract the fragrant oils from the leaves. (And if you do have fresh bay leaves, score their surfaces lightly with a knife.) I overcooked mine to the point that the crème fraîche turned into ghee, but the aroma was superb.
Take out the leaves and stir the flavored crème into the blue cheese. Stir until very smooth. I needed to stir in a spoonful or two of sour cream as well at this point because my mixture was too skimpy for the mold; it was a lucky move, probably, because the result was so-o-o tender.
Dampen a length of cheesecloth (a single layer is fine); wring out and line the mold. Pack the cheese into the mold, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate over a dish to catch drips, overnight.
Next day. Did you remember to cook the beets yesterday? Oh.
Take two or three tiny cooked, peeled beets, toss into the blender with salt, pepper, a small drizzle of olive oil, and probably more water than you'd think (you can do this in stages if you're uncertain). Blend until you get a smooth, spoonable goop. I might make mine thinner next time, but a little thick is good insurance against dribbling on your carpet.
Decorate your plate; you can slather the beet goop over or under the cheese.
Spread dablets on baguette slices.
It's... sweet!


Passionate Eater said...

I have a cracker in my hand and keep trying to scrape the monitor to get a taste of your "not dessert" dip. Oh my gosh, your description sounds soooooo good. And also, as for the Tastespotting image, "I" put it on there, so it ain't nothing special!

Dagny said...

Everything was good until you said beets. My mom tells me that I loved all the baby food flavors except for the beets. Those I would spit out. Still do. Now I'm trying to think of something to substitute for the beets. I'm thinking pears.

cookiecrumb said...

PE: I usually don't like to brag this much, but I came up with something guuud!

Dagny: Over the past few weeks I've discovered three beet haters. Must be something to it.
In this case I was looking for something red (Valentine's Day, duh), but pears would have just the right flavor and texture.

Catherine said...

I could really go for some of this right now. Love the beets idea - bravo.

Glenna said...

Oh wow! I love this!

Greg said...

Blue cheese,beets and creme fraiche!Good lord just make my mouth water why don't ya.