Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Montana Recipe Discovered

In Missoula, Montana about eleven years ago, we had this wonderful cream sauce that was drizzled across our steaks. Other than the base was cream and it had tiny pieces of dried tomatoes in it, I had no clue how the chef made it, until now. The answer was in one of the recipes I had copied from a cookbook at the library and stuffed in my three ring binder to try sometime. The recipe I found wasn't a sauce for steak but for noodles but I liked the Montana chef's creative touch.

Just after I had decided to try the recipe, I spoke to our oldest daughter on the phone. As I attempted to pronounce the cheese from memory I royally slaughtered the name but she breezed through the word like she had been saying it all her life. "Do you mean, Gorgonzola?", she told me making me feel like a hick from the sticks. Which I'll admit I am. A hick with Cadillac taste buds. Yet at the same time, I was pleased that our daughter has had the opportunity to experience a much more refined culture than is available in our area.

Admittedly, a large number of my new recipes are Italian but I've never tried Gorgonzola cheese. Which isn't too surprising since not too long ago I thought smoked cheddar was gourmet. In part because in our rural area little variety was available for a long time. With the influx of population the stores have expanded their selection and we have been trying different kinds of cheese.

The Italian style must have lured me to copy this recipe last year but when my resent research on the internet said that Gorgonzola was a type of blue cheese, I almost tossed out the recipe. But then my mind reverted back to a time in Atlanta, Georgia where we were seated at a small Japanese restaurant. Serving us was a small older Japanese women dressed in traditional clothing. She spoke only two words in broken English but she repeated them over and over, "Be adventuresome." We followed her advice and with the aid of Satoro,( a friend of ours from Japan), to read the menu, we tried a variety of dishes. The food was wonderful.

So I decided once more to go out on a limb so to speak and "Be Adventuresome". The recipe had said that Gorgonzola cheese was creamy and buttery so to help convince myself to move forward, I mentally added - mild - and hoped it was true.

The recipe also called for pancetta, a shallot, and oil packed sun dried tomatoes, all of which I didn't have and wasn't willing to buy for it would have pushed the meal past my cost limits for repeaters (meals made often). So, instead of a shallot, I used an onion from the garden; and instead of pancetta, I used bacon; and instead of the oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, I used a home-canned dried tomatoes and spices packed in oil mixture from my food storage room.

(Sliced thick tomatoes in the dehydrator)

(I'd dried tomatoes part-way in my food dryer and then bottled them in olive oil with chopped garlic and chopped fresh basil. It was last years new canning experiment. ) Plus I altered the recipe by using bouillon and water instead of canned chicken broth from the store - which I never buy. Especially since I learned on Good Eats that you couldn't get make store canned broth thicken to make gravy. Now to me there is simply something wrong with broth if it won't make gravy. Every since then, I've made my own with bouillon and water or frozen broth from a baked chicken or used home bottled chicken in its broth.

Further altering the dish was the dark gray streak down the left side of my Zerox copied recipe. It obscures the amounts of each ingredient that the recipe calls for. Without a clue to which cookbook it was copied from, I have come up with my own version of the recipe.

(This week, I bottled and processed a new batch of dried tomatoes with basis and garlic. I have a feeling I will be using a lot more of it. )

Since it isn't made with Sun-Dried Tomato because I used the dehydrator, I think it deserves a new title. I shall call it Spiced Dried Tomato Gorgonzola Sauce and give you my version.

Spiced Dried Tomato Gorgonzola Sauce

1. Pour a little of the spiced olive oil from the jar of dried tomatoes into the sauce pan and saute a half a diced onion in it.

2. Then after cooking the onion until softened, add about three-fourths a cup of chopped cooked bacon. (I cook my bacon ahead of time and freeze it. For instructions go to my blog - Convenience Bacon 6/01/09.) Stir the onion and bacon together until the bacon is warm.

3. Then pour in a cup of heavy cream (mine is of course goat cream courtesy of our does) and a cup of milk ( Again, mine is whole goat milk.)

4. The original recipe calls for chicken broth but I used milk and added a sprinkle of bouillon instead. Theirs in lower in calories but I bet mine is richer in taste.

5. Then as that mixture heats up, I chopped the dehydrator dried tomatoes and added them along with approximately a half a teaspoon of black pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer while you add 5 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese.

6. When the cheese has melted you are to put it in the blender and process but the first time I did not because Kirk likes his sauces with chunks. Next time, I'm going to do half the amount in the blender and half not, then stir together.

7. Pour over noodles. Our preference is to use noodles of spaghetti thickness but use the kind you like best.

Your pantry is likely a bit different than mine so, "Be Adventuresome".
My Cadillac taste buds are grateful that I was.

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