blue cheese + chive biscuits

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Are you still recovering from a day full of over-indulgence coupled with way to much Black Friday shopping and topped off with a few lingering house guests? Yeah me too. And while the best part of this post-Thanksgiving weekend is undoubtedly the leftovers, it somehow feels a bit too easy to just pop open a few Tupperware containers and call it dinner. Instead I try to offer a little something freshly made along with those leftover holiday favorites. But let’s be honest, the best part about Thanksgiving leftovers has to be the sandwiches and while any type of bread will do, Blue Cheese and Chive Biscuits are my favorite. They can turn a simple turkey and leftover cranberry sauce sandwich into something truly outstanding.

I make these biscuits fairly frequently (if you’ve ever been to our house for smoked ribs then you’ve definitely had them) because they’re delicious right out of the oven, they’re fantastic toasted alongside eggs for breakfast and they take simple leftover Thanksgiving turkey (or Easter ham) and turn it into something you could proudly serve guests.

I know hosting for the holidays is a big undertaking… but next time consider doing it for the leftovers!

Blue Cheese + Chive Drop Biscuits
These biscuits are wonderful anytime… along side your morning eggs, as an accompaniment to your summertime bbq or as the vehicle for an amazing turkey sandwich. But the fact that they can be made ahead and frozen really makes them stellar.

t-day sandwich4

2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 oz. buttermilk blue cheese, crumbled
1 large bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
1 cup light buttermilk

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in blue cheese and chives. Add buttermilk and stir until just combined.
  2. Drop dough in 10-12 equal mounds on the cookie sheet. Bake until golden, about 16 to 20 minutes.

*To make and freeze: Follow the instructions above, drop them onto the baking sheet and slide the baking sheet into the freezer. Once the biscuits are firm, place them in a freezer bag or airtight container until you’re ready to bake them. They can be baked straight from the freezer, just add a few minutes to the baking time.

cucumber à la julia child

Around this time each summer two things happen in my garden. The squirrels destroy my corn stalks (evil no-good rodents) and my tomato and cucumber plants explode with fruit. An over abundance of tomatoes is never a problem, I use them in salsa and salads of all kinds and for my Sweet Summer Sauce, but cucumbers are a bit more tricky. I’ve attempted to make pickles, only to end up with a soggy vinegary mess. I’ve given some away, but believe it or not a lot of people don’t like cucumbers (I know, can you imagine?!?) and I’ve eaten them simply sliced and in salads, but there are only so many cucumber salads that even this girl can eat! So I set out on a mission to find another use for all these cukes.

My initial thought was that I could try to bake with them like you would grated zucchini, they really are almost the same vegetable after all. In fact I’m sure they would be the perfect zucchini substitute in these Pineapple-Zucchini Muffins and with back-to-school only a few weeks away I think that’s exactly what I’ll do (don’t tell my son). But muffins weren’t what I felt like making amidst this August heat, so I continued to wade through my cookbook cabinet in search of inspiration. And there it was, in the NY Times food section that I had saved from last August. August 15, 2012 had been Julia Child’s 100th birthday and the food world had celebrated it in great fashion. Julia Child— the cooking and culinary legend and inspiration to generations of home cooks. She was “absolutly fabulous”. And here I stood, just days away from Julia’s 101st birthday and in need of cucumber inspiration. “Hmm, what would Julia make?” I thought to myself. That’s when I heard a warbly voice say “Potages aux Concombres!” Okay I didn’t actually hear Julia’s voice from the great beyond, but I did discover an old recipe of hers for cold cucumber soup which sounded perfect but for one exception; to thicken the soup she had used farina— that’s where she lost me. I would rather use a thickener that would add flavor to the soup as well as substance (sorry Julia). A bit more research and I found a vichyssoise recipe that seemed to have some of the elements Julia’s recipe had been missing, namely potato and buttermilk. It was at that moment, in my little New Jersey kitchen that a Julia Child/Cooking Light cold cucumber and potato soup was born.

Bon appétit and happy birthday Julia!

Cold Cucumber & Potato Soup
This soup may not be for everyone, including my children and husband. But that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious and wouldn’t be the perfect first course on a hot summer day.

cucumber soup3

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 leek, halved and sliced thin
2 stalks celery, sliced thin
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
6 1/2 cups cucumber (about 4), peeled, seeded and chopped
3 cups baking potato, peeled and cubed (about 2)
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup light buttermilk
1/4 cup heavy cream (as an homage to Julia)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
snipped fresh chives, for garnish
Greek yogurt, for garnish

  1. In a large dutch oven over a medium-low flame heat the oil. Add the onion, leek, celery and garlic and cook 6-8 minutes or until onion is transparent, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add to the pot the chopped cucumber, potato, and broth; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is very tender, stirring occasionally.
  3. Using an immersion blender (or food processor) blend the cucumber/potato mixture until it is perfectly smooth. Allow to cool on the stovetop for at least one hour.
  4. Once cool add the buttermilk, heavy cream, salt, and pepper and stir well. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. Garnish with snipped fresh chives and a dollop of Greek yogurt.