It took me a long time to learn to love blue cheese and I’m pretty sure I know exactly why. Blue cheese definitely wasn’t something my Mom ever had in the house when I was a kid. My first up close and personal experience with it happened when I worked at the restaurant, and one of our house-made dressings was Roquefort. Several times a week I’d have to make gallons of the stuff and it involved crumbling blocks of Roquefort with my hands. Did you know there are different types of blue cheese? Roquefort is one of the more potent types, and by potent I mean stinky. No matter how well I washed my hands after making the dressing, or how much sweatpea lotion from Bath & Body Works I slathered on afterwards, I could still smell the cheese for the rest of the day. And I’m pretty sure that’s why I didn’t want anything to do with blue cheese for a long time, even after I stopped working there. And probably also why sweatpea lotion doesn’t hold the same charm for me that it once did. But that’s a little off topic I suppose…
Anyway, last year Crazy #1 had a classmate who was allergic to blue cheese. Apparently this was posted in big block letters on a sign on the door to the classroom. Now if you’ve ever known a kid with autism, like #1, you know that they tend to carefully observe things the rest of us just kind of glance over. And sometimes they get a little obsessive about these things. That’s exactly what happened with blue cheese and #1.
“Mom, what’s blue cheese?”
“Is it really blue? How do they make it?”
“Why don’t you like it?”
“Does that mean I can’t like it?”
There were tons more questions, but it was that last one that encouraged me to give blue cheese another try. I mean after all, I didn’t want the poor kid to miss out on anything. In doing research to answer all of the never-ending questions, I realized that maybe I needed to try a different kind of blue cheese. A milder one, like Gorgonzola. And I’m happy to report that stuff is pretty much da bomb. Especially when it gets mashed up with potatoes, roasted garlic, and caramelized shallots, which is exactly what I did last Sunday.
Start by roasting the garlic, since it takes the longest. Normally I’d say one whole head of garlic would be enough but these were organic and really tiny as you can see. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the garlic by cutting off the top, exposing the cloves inside.
Add a teaspoon of salt. I know that says 1/2 a teaspoon, but it was the first measuring instrument I grabbed and so I just filled it up twice. Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Then boil the potatoes uncovered until they are fork tender, about 20 minutes.
I’m using my Pampered Chef “meat smusher thingie” that I love dearly and have mentioned before. But you can use a potato masher, or an electric mixer, or even one of those fancy stick blenders to mash your potatoes. I like to do it by hand and I don’t mind a few lumps. I think that’s how you know they’re homemade. And besides, if my crazies have nothing else in common, at least one day when I’m long gone they can sit around and talk about how Mom used to make those lumpy mashed potatoes. Right?
I know they’re not the prettiest the potatoes in the world. But what they lack in aesthetics they make up for in flavor. And just so you know, they reheat well. I know because I reheated leftovers for lunch three times so far this week!
- 3 pounds yukon gold potatoes
- 1 whole head garlic
- 2 whole shallots, peeled and sliced into rings
- ½ – ¾ cup of half and half
- 1 whole stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- 5 oz. Gorgonzola cheese crumbles
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the garlic exposing the cloves inside. Place on a sheet of tinfoil and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap tightly in tinfoil and roast at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
- While the garlic is roasting, peel the potatoes and cut them in half. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Season water with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and boil potatoes uncovered until fork tender, about 20 minutes.
- While the potatoes are boiling heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Separate the shallot rings and add to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- When the potatoes are fork tender drain them and return to the hot pot. Add butter and half and half. Start with ½ a cup and add up to ¾ cup if necessary.
- Add gorgonzola cheese and mash potatoes until desired consistency is reached.
- When garlic is cool enough to handle, unwrap and squeeze out the roasted cloves. Add to the potatoes in the pot along with the caramelized shallots. Mix well.
- Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Reheat in the microwave.