Thursday, March 6, 2008

Maytag Blue Cheese

Many years ago I had a little taste of heaven in the form of cheese. I had to find out about Maytag Blue Cheese. It started in 1941 by Fred Maytag at Maytag dairy farms in the heartland of America using milk from a prize winning herd of Holster cattle belonging to his father E.H.Maytag, son of the founder of the famous appliance firm. (It is still in the family being run by Fred’s children.) Fred had herd of a new process of making blue cheese at Iowa State University. This is the process that they still use today. It is very time consuming, as they have to make the cheese in small batches. The cheese is carefully monitored during the long process of being aged in specially designed caves until it reaches peak flavors. Tangy, rich, creamy, are some ways to describe this white cheese with dark blue veins and a somewhat crumbly texture. It is readily available in gourmet markets and specialty cheese shops. You can use it like any other blue cheese. Figs are a perfect match for this piquant delight. Chicken breasts stuffed along with apricots is effortless elegance. The pear Tart needs to be planned ahead as it needs to be done in stages, but is fairly uncomplicated and worth the time. Be creative and have fun exploring the wonders of cheese.

Roasted Figs And Maytag Blue Cheese

20 fresh black figs
1 cup Maytag bleu cheese
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped
1 head of garlic
2 vanilla beans split
8 ounces white balsamic vinegar
1/4-cup sugar

Preheat oven to 375. Wrap garlic with skin on and drizzled with olive oil in Foil. Roast for one hour. Combine the balsamic, vanilla bean and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat and whisk constantly until reduced to a thick glaze. Cool. Slice figs in half and set aside. Blend the bleu cheese, pecans and garlic and place in a pastry bag. Pipe the bleu cheese blend onto the fig halves. (Or spoon on) Heat the figs in hot 375 oven for about 5 minutes and drizzle the balsamic glaze over and serve immediately.

Apricot and Maytag Blue Stuffed Chicken

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup Maytag bleu cheese, crumbled
4 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 375. Mix apricots, parsley, garlic and cheese in a small bowl. Loosen the skin of chicken breasts and stuff cheese mixture underneath. Press the skin down. Place breasts in a greased baking dish. Bake about 40 minutes or until done

Pear Tart with Maytag Blue Crust
2 cups red wine
1-cup sugar
1-cup water
1 orange, halved
1lemon, halved
1-inch ginger, peeled
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
4 pears, peeled and cored
In a large soup pot place all ingredients except pears and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add pears. Poach until tender about 20 minutes. Remove from stove and coo completely. Refrigerate over night.
Pastry Cream-
1/3-cup sugar
1-cup cups milk
2 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup Butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a medium saucepan mix half the sugar to the milk and bring to a boil stirring constantly. In a medium bowl whisk together the rest of the sugar and cornstarch and yolks. Once the milk is boiling pour 1/4 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture whisking constantly. Pour the egg mixture into the rest of the milk mixture and return to the heat whisking until the cream thickens and comes to a complete boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter and vanilla whisking until the butter completely melts. Pour into a bowl and cover with plastic until it comes to room temperature.
3/4 cup all flour
1/4-teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese
Up to 4 Tablespoons ice water
1/4 cup raspberry jelly, melted
Place butter cut into tiny pieces (I use a grater) and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are the size of rice. Add cheese. Sprinkle 1-tablespoon water over part of the flour mixture and stir very gently with a fork, Push moistened dough to the side of the bowl. Repeat using 1 tablespoons of water at a time until all the dough is moistened. Roll dough into a ball wrap in plastic and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Roll out to be 10 inches round. Place in a 9-inch tart pan sprayed with bakers joy. Bake in a preheated 350 oven until golden about 15 minutes. When cool spread the vanilla cream over the crust. Slice the pears and place them decoratively over the cream. Brush with raspberry jelly and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.

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