I was chosen to participate in Castello’s Summer of Blue #BluesdayTuesday campaign. Beginning with this month, May, Castello Blue Cheese will be featuring creative blue cheese recipes on Tuesdays, also known as #BluesdayTuesday, until September. Castello has a wide range of wonderful cheeses. Check out Castello’s website for more information and don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes. You can win a season’s worth of blue cheese for your summer entertaining. See the link at the bottom of this post to enter the sweepstakes.
I was sent samples of Castello’s crumbled Danish Blue to use in my recipes for this campaign. That was very exciting in itself, since I am a big fan of blue cheese and love to put it on my salad. However, I wanted this delicious tasting cheese to be a star in a menu I would use for entertaining my guests.
If you are not that familiar with blue cheese, start simply and pair it with different foods to see how they complement each other. Try it alongside sweeter ingredients like figs or pears for a great appetizer. Add blue cheese to spicy recipes to tone down the heat and, then, add it to some of your main dish recipes. Once you start experimenting with blue cheese, you’ll become a fan also.
Now that May is here and the weather has warmed, I look forward to entertaining outdoors. It is also the time I think about grilling. I find it very creative to plan a menu for entertaining and, in thinking about what to serve, I always think it is best to go with seasonal foods because they are going to be flavorful and fresh. This entrée is excellent to serve when you have company because the chicken rolls can be prepared early in the day and refrigerated. I always try to plan a menu where most of the preparation can be done early in the day, leaving me free to spend time with my guests.
Below is my suggested menu for an outdoor dinner party for 4. This menu is easily doubled for additional guests.
Eggplant Compote, (recipe link)
Grilled Chicken Rolls with Danish Blue Cheese Stuffing, recipe below
Lettuce and Green Bean Salad, (recipe link)
Grilled Vegetables, (recipe link)
Almond Panna Cotta with Blueberry Sauce, (recipe link)
Grilled Chicken Rolls with Danish Blue Stuffing
A technique I like to use for cooking fish and chicken on the grill is to coat them in Panko crumbs and grill them on heavy-duty foil over indirect heat. This technique keeps food moist and delicious. The chicken only uses one side of the grill, which leaves the direct side to use for grilling vegetables.
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
Danish Blue Stuffing
- 4 oz Castello Crumbled Danish Blue Cheese
- 4 large fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 slices Pancetta, about 4 oz
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 medium boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz each)
- 3/4 cup Panko crumbs
For the sauce:
In a small bowl combine lemon zest, lemon juice and melted butter. Divide the sauce in half and set one bowl aside. Refrigerate the other bowl until serving time.
For the chicken rolls:
Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small skillet and saute the pancetta and garlic until the pancetta is crispy. Drain on a paper towel. Set aside.
Butterfly each chicken breast and place each piece between 2 layers of plastic wrap.
Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound the chicken into rectangles of an even thickness.
Divide the cooked pancetta evenly on each chicken breast.
Add 1 oz of Castello blue cheese to each breast and top with a basil leaf.
Fold in the sides of each chicken breast and roll up.
Dip chicken into one of the dishes with the reserved lemon sauce and then roll in the Panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken.
Secure the rolls with skewers and place on a tray lined with heavy duty foil. Refrigerate the chicken rolls until it is time to grill. Discard the lemon sauce used for the coating.
Preheat the grill on high.
Turn off one side of the grill and place chicken with the foil on that side of the grill.
Grill for 10 minutes, turn the chicken rolls over with grill tongs and cook for 10 more minutes or until the chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant read meat thermometer.
Move the chicken rolls to a serving platter. Let grilled chicken rest 5 minutes.
Reheat the reserved lemon sauce in the microwave while the chicken rests. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken rolls and garnish with basil leaves. Serve.
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Castello Aged Havarti is a creamy, finely textured cheese made from traditional methods dating back over 130 years, when Hanne Nielsen first made Havarti cheese. Castello Aged Havarti is allowed to mature for at least 12 months to encourage a unique and rich flavor. Castello Aged Havarti is the perfect cheese for your cheese board. The taste and flavor standout. As a snack, it is delicious with nuts, fruit and wine.
We are in the midst of the holiday season and I love this time of year with all the fun things there are to do. You only need a few really good ingredients to create festive and delicious holiday food. Go for a mix of shapes and colors and your guests will love how beautiful everything looks.
While overindulgence is often the hallmark of holiday celebrations, your guests will appreciate party food that is nourishing and healthful as well as appealing. I like to arrange an appetizer tray with a mix of foods that can meet different dietary choices: vegetarian, gluten-free, low-calorie, etc.
Whether you want to host a few friends or have a big, open-to-all affair, the best way to make sure your guests enjoy themselves is to enjoy the party yourself—a relaxed, unruffled host makes guests feel welcome and at ease. With this in mind, do a little preparation ahead of time.
At a recent get-together at my home, I arranged appetizer trays filled with Castello Aged Havarti Cheese cubes at room temperature, homemade crackers, Prosciutto di Parma wrapped pears, mixed green olives, Mission figs/roasted red peppers/Castello cheese kabobs and homemade cranberry sauce for topping Castello cheese squares. What remained after the party were just a few crackers – everything else – gone. I had many compliments on the food and my friends loved the Castello cheese and asked where they could buy it.
Here are my recipes for you to recreate for your next party. I guarantee they will be a big hit.
Sweet Potato Crackers
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup of sweet potato puree (from 1 cooked sweet potato)
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Roast the sweet potato in a 400 degree F oven for about 45-50 minutes; then let it cool, remove the skin and purée using a hand blender until smooth. You will need 1 cup of sweet potato purée for this recipe; use any leftover potato for another use. Set the purée aside.
Place the flour, baking powder, rosemary, paprika and salt in the bowl of a processor. Pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and pulse until is the size of small peas. Add the sweet potato puree and honey. Pulse until a dough forms.
Roll the dough into a ball and divide it into 4 pieces. For easier rolling, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for a 1/2 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut parchment paper to fit two jelly roll pans or cookie sheets. Use the paper to roll out the dough.
Roll the dough 1/4″ thick and cut into 2″ squares, using a pizza, pastry wheel, a bench knife or a plain knife. Prick each cracker with a fork.
Lift the parchment onto the baking sheet. Separate the crackers a bit, leaving about 1/4″ between them, so they crisp evenly. If you’re not using parchment, transfer the crackers to the baking sheet, leaving about 1/4″ between them.
Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. You will need to bake a second batch after the first finishes baking.
Bake the crackers for 12 to 16 minutes, until their edges are starting to brown. Switch pans after 10 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven and slide the parchment onto the kitchen counter. Repeat baking with the second batch of crackers.
Store cooled crackers in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic.
Castello Aged Havarti Cheese/Mission Figs/Roasted Red Pepper Kabobs
- 7 oz block of Castello Aged Havarti Cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Mission figs, cut in half
- Roasted Red Peppers, jarred, drained and cut into one inch cubes
Drain the peppers on paper towels. On each toothpick skewer one piece of cheese, one fig half and one piece of red pepper. Repeat until all the cheese cubes are used.
Arrange the kabobs on an attractive serving platter.
Prosciutto di Parma Wrapped Pears
- 2 pears, each cut into 8 wedges and cored
- 8 thin slices (4 oz.) prosciutto di parma, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- Pinch of kosher salt
Wrap each pear wedge with a half slice of prosciutto and set on a serving plate. Combine the oil, vinegar and salt. Drizzle over the pears.
Gluten-Free Almond Poppy Seed Crackers
- 1 3/4 cups Almond Meal Flour (Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur are brands I use)
- 2 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- Cracked pepper
- Dried Italian seasoning
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cut parchment paper to fit two jelly roll pans or cookie sheets. Use the paper to roll out the dough.
Mix together the almond meal flour, olive oil and beaten egg whites. This will make a crumbly mix that shapes quickly into a ball.
Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each into a rough square.
Roll out one piece of dough at a time, keeping the piece you’re not working with covered to prevent drying.
Roll out on the parchment cut for the pan.
Roll the dough 1/4″ thick and cut into 2″ squares with a pizza, pastry wheel, a bench knife or a plain knife. Prick each cracker with a fork.
If you’ve rolled out the dough on parchment, simply lift the parchment onto the baking sheet. Separate the crackers a bit, leaving about 1/4″ between them, so they crisp evenly.
If you’re not using parchment, transfer the crackers to a baking sheet, leaving about 1/4″ between them.
Repeat with the remaining piece of dough.
Bake the crackers for 12 to 16 minutes, until their edges begin to brown. Switch pans after 10 minutes.
Remove them from the oven, cool right on the pan and then move to an airtight container to keep crisp and fresh.
Port Wine Cranberry Sauced Havarti
This appetizer is great with the Almond Crackers.
Makes about 1 3/4 cups
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups port wine
- 2 packages fresh cranberries
- 4 long strips orange zest
- 7 oz block of Castello Aged Havarti Cheese, room temperature
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and port wine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the wine has reduced slightly, about 4 minutes.
Add the cranberries and the orange zest. Simmer until the cranberries soften and the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Remove from the heat; remove and discard the zest.
Set aside to cool for a few several minutes. Place the cheese in an attractive serving dish and spoon the warm sauce over the cheese.