This week has been pretty frustrating in our house. Problem #1: Mike’s new employer “forgot” to pay him on Friday. That got straightened out over the weekend, but not after some tense moments on Friday. Problem #2: Our lawn mower, just 4 months old, died. We took it in to be serviced by Sears, and after 2 weeks had heard nothing. My husband called on Saturday and got absolutely no help from the rep he spoke with who promised we’d hear within 24 hours from the service department directly. Since we never received a call, I called again today and found out that I was talking to a rep in the Phillipines who not only had no idea what had happened, but couldn’t speak intelligently to the problem. All he said was that we would have to pay $151 to repair a 4 month old $400 lawn mower. Um – it’s not covered by warranty? I then called the local Sears where we purchased it and raised a fuss, nicely, but firmly, and said I wasn’t going to pay for the repairs unless they at least itemized the charges. The manager said he’d look into it. Four hours later I received a call from someone at the store who offered to replace the mower. Mike is picking it up on his way home from work. And….Problem #3: Our otherwise wonderful Tankless Water Heater died on Friday. I contacted the company that installed it. They no longer install them and sent me to an authorized rep for repairs, who happened to be out of town for the weekend. I found someone else who diagnosed the problem Saturday, but, the manufacturer is in California and parts couldn’t be ordered until this morning. Finally got the answers about 2pm this afternoon. The parts will be overnighted, but we have to pay for all repairs as we’re 5 years and 11 months after install and the warranty is only for 5 years. Parts will be here tomorrow and the water heater repaired tomorrow afternoon, if they arrive early enough, or Wednesday for sure.
So, my therapy when I’m stressed is to cook. We are having a Halloween party this coming Saturday. Mike and I were married on Halloween. This coming Halloween will be our 34th wedding anniversary. We celebrate Halloween the way most folks celebrate Christmas. We decorate the house based on a theme, dress the parts and hand out treats. We always give a toy and a full size candy bar. But this year, we’re starting the festivities early with an adult party, lots of good food, good drink, and best of all good company.
We entertain a lot. I love to cook and I like to cook for crowds. I love to try new recipes and use my friends and family as guinea pigs to try them out.
Today I started with the prep work–the things that can be made in advance. I made Blue Cheese Dressing to go with the Spicy wings I’ll make later in the week. I haven’t made my own in a long time, so I tried a new recipe, which I then tweaked. I used a basic Yogurt based recipe which I found on the Food Network.
INGREDIENTS: Note: Since we’re having a crowd, I doubled the recipe and made just shy of 1 quart of dressing.
- 12 to 14 oz plain Greek yogurt. I used 2%
- 1/4 C Mayo
- 1/2 C Milk (I used 2%, though you could use whole or even 1/2 & 1/2)
- 1/2 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 3 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar (I used the juice of 1 lemon)
- 1/2 Tsp. Frank’s Hot Sauce (The original recipe called for 1/2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper, but I was out of it)
- 1 1/2 C grated or chunked blue cheese
- Salt & Fresh ground Black Pepper to taste
My additions to the recipe:
- 1/2 Tsp. Garlic powder
- 1/4 Tsp. Granulated sugar
- 1/4 C Sour Cream
In a large bowl or plastic container, mix the yogurt, mayo, milk, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Whisk it all together well or put the lid on the container and shake it until it’s all blended together. If you’re using the garlic powder, sugar and sour cream, add it also and whisk or shake again. Then add the grated cheese, about 1/2 C at a time, mixing well, so that the cheese distributes evenly throughout the dressing. Use more or less blue cheese, to your desired thickness.
I made the dressing following the directions. As I said, the only change I made was the hot sauce rather than cayenne, but I felt like the flavor was flat and uninteresting and a little uncomfortably tart. That’s when I added the garlic powder (not garlic salt), sugar and a dollop of sour cream.
Next time I make this, I will do a couple of things differently. Instead of milk and lemon juice, I will used buttermilk, and if I don’t have buttermilk, I will add 3 Tbsp. vinegar to the milk and let it sit and thicken for about 15 minutes before I mix it in. I will also take about 1/2 C of the cheese and mash it with the yogurt, milk, mayo mixture to create a creamier thick base. Then I will add the remaining cheese and ingredients and shake it up.
This is good the same day, but will be better tomorrow or the next day as the flavors meld together. It will keep about 2 to 3 weeks in a tightly closed container in the fridge. Serve it over salad, or as we plan to, with spicy wings and celery. Yummy.