A Salad for Summer -- but isn't it ALWAYS summer here?

Before we go any further -- yes, I've been gone from FrantasticTravels for a long time and other than apologizing and telling you the long story of what's been going on, the only thing I can tell you is -- I am here today and hope this story and recipe make you happy or help or take up a few minutes of you time with something that isn't drudgery today.

Endive Salad

Endive Salad

Endive Salad

Endive -- how is it pronounced? Endiiiiiive? Endeeeeeve? The dictionary says either way so I'll go with Endiiiiiive which is what my mom called it. It's a bitter leaf lettuce, but if you can find it fresh with very white leaves and a little green at the top any bitterness will be mild and with a recipe like this you won't even notice. It will be a great addition to your salad repertoire. It was a last minute addition to a little dinner get-together with a few traveling colleagues this week and took no time to prep and put on the plate.

It seems to me this leaf needs to be paired with something sweet to counteract any bitterness it may have so ... when I got home and opened the fridge to begin pulling out the part of dinner I'd already prepped, an idea came together; Endive, Blue Cheese Spread, Strawberries and Walnuts. What could be bad? It's light (well, except for the blue cheese, but you don't have to pile it on like there is a shortage of cows to produce milk these days and it's easy to pick up and eat if you serve at the coffee table. It's different, unexpected, not something people would expect to find on the table in Honduras.

Endive Salad

Ingredients

  •  1 head Endive – cleaned and leaves separated
  • 6 Strawberries – sliced or diced
  • 1 Spring Onion – thinly sliced
  • 10 Toasted (optional) Walnuts – chopped (If you can tolerate the sugar, candied walnuts would be fabulous!)
  • 1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Spread
  • 6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1.5 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Clean the endive by cutting the “core” of the stalk and pulling the leaves off. As you pull the leaves off you will come to another “core” and will need to cut it to easily pull more leaves off. This is why you have to eat this salad relatively quickly. A metal knife will speed up oxidation of the leaves although you can squeeze a little lemon or lime on the ends if you need it to sit while waiting to serve. If you have a ceramic knife, use it for this prep. It will save you the brown ends of the leaves.

Spread the blue cheese on the leaves to the thickness you desire depending on how much you like blue cheese and how many calories of this butter and blue cheese spread you're willing to consume. Recipe follows.

Once the blue cheese is on the leaves, sprinkle the berries, walnuts and finally, the green onion slices on top.

Drizzle olive oil and vinegar and sprinkle with salt – smoked or spicy salt would work well if used sparingly – and freshly ground black pepper.

You've got your salad prepped, but where did you find the blue cheese spread? And here's the story -- Last weekend was a lazy one. I don't do this often, but other than two trips to the supermarket I stayed home like a hermit.

When I got to the market and saw the package of what looked to be very fresh endive, I scooped it up and put it in my cart. I had no idea what I would do with it, but it's the first time I've seen it here and am looking for new items to add to my NO sugar, almost NO carb diet and thought this would be a good product to experiment with one night.

I wound my way over to the dairy section and found these small containers of cheese spread made by President's -- you know, the brie cheese maker. Ok, so it's not exactly to-die-for brie and a packaged spread is not my usual purchase, but I wanted to give it a try. I picked up a package of Crème de Brie, Crème de Cheddar and Crème de Blue Spread. Yep living alone in a foreign country where I am not able to drive leads to some strange purchases.

Processed Cheese Spread -- I'M SORRY!!

Processed Cheese Spread -- I'M SORRY!!

I had whipped up a pot of what I am calling Weeknight Boeuf Bourguignon in my new Instant Pot -- more about that in another post and thought this French-sounding lettuce with a French sounding cheese might work well. This wasn't a dinner to serve my favorite Honduran Corn Tortillas at.

Now, before you panic and think I've lost my marbles with this packaged food product, I whipped up some home made blue cheese spread to give you the recipe. My mom used to make a dinner party hors d' oeuvre with home made blue cheese spread on thin sticks of fresh Swiss cheese. So although there was no real recipe, I knew the flavor and texture I was looking for. It's not a calorie nightmare unless you spread it very thickly on whatever you are using as a cheese vehicle which in my case, was the almost negligible in calories Endive lettuce.

Blue Cheese Spread

  • 3.5 ounces Blue Cheese -- you can use Gorgonzola if you prefer -- I really like the smooth, creamy Dulce Gorgonzola
  • 1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

Put it all into a food processor and whir around until it is smooth and creamy. Add a drizzle more of cream if the spread is not smooth enough to spread, but do so sparingly.

And Voilâ! You are done. You will have plenty to store the rest for other blue cheese recipes.

I had a package of Castello Blue Cheese Slices which are awesome on toast or crackers or ... well, carbs which are off my grocery list now ... so using it in this dish was perfect.

Castello Blue Cheese Slices

Castello Blue Cheese Slices

Processed Blue Cheese Spread

Processed Blue Cheese Spread

The finished product is delicious and can be used many ways. It would be great in ravioli or tortellini or even as a sauce for pasta if used lightly. It could be overpowering if used in too great a quantity.

Finished Blue Cheese Spread

Finished Blue Cheese Spread

Today is going to be another lazy day, but tomorrow it's time to get in the car and go see something -- anything. I've been to all of the Spanish Colonial towns in Western Honduras during the past 3.5 years, but there's got to be someplace to visit on a Sunday afternoon and I need to get away from the Langosta Voladora that are invading the hills again. The hills are alive with giant grasshoppers and although these two seemed somewhat friendly, they have sharp, spiny legs and are ... well, ugly and they are banging into my office windows all days long and will fly right into you if you're not careful. At home they are eating the plants on my balcony. How rude!

Oh Hai!

Oh Hai!

Langosta Voladora Sunning Himself

Hello, World!