(BPT) - From juicy produce to savory grilled meats, summer is the best time for tantalizing taste buds with delicious foods. This year, why not enhance traditional favorites with a few unique twists? These simple updates to classic summer dishes will have everyone raving.
If you love to grill, give your cheeseburgers an upgrade. Skip bland processed cheese slices and choose a more flavorful cheese like gorgonzola, which boasts a savory, earthy taste that complements grilled beef perfectly. Look for Salemville Amish Gorgonzola at your local grocer - an award-winning cheese made in small batches by a Wisconsin Amish community. Milk comes from local farmers whose herds are hand-milked twice each day to create a rich cheese free of preservatives and other chemicals.
When it comes to creating delicious desserts for summertime gatherings, there's no shortage of options. If you truly want to wow your guests, though, it's time to think outside the cake box. For example, instead of store-bought popsicles, make your own healthier versions from fresh fruit and juice. Enhance your famous cheesecake recipe with gorgonzola, or use blue cheese in flan for a surprisingly tasty twist. Take your favorite cookie one step further by making cookie pops - simply insert lollipop sticks into cookies, dip them in melted chocolate and add festive sprinkles as desired.
Sweet-savory grilled fruit
The season's bounty of fruit is made even better when it's grilled for a few minutes to bring out the extra-sweet flavors. For example, cut pears or peaches in half and grill until they're warm. Another great way to add grilled fruit to your meal is with fruit kabobs - try pineapple, bananas, oranges, plums, apricots and more, grilling them for several minutes on skewers. Serve with a small wedge of Salemville Reserve - an extra-aged Amish blue cheese - for a unique treat that perfectly blends sweet and savory flavors.
Deluxe vegetable plates
Whether you grow your own or frequent the local farmers market, fresh vegetables are prevalent throughout the country during the summer months. That's why vegetable plates are ideal for picnics and barbecues - simply cut up your favorite vegetables for a colorful display. Upgrade this summer favorite by adding a dip no one can resist. Skip store-bought varieties and make your own by mixing cottage cheese and crumbled blue cheese. Vegetables are guaranteed to be devoured.
Do you have your own favorite way to enhance summer dishes with blue cheese? Enter the How Do You Blue recipe contest by visiting www.salemville.com, and use hashtag: #HowDoYouBlue. Here are a few recipes that will inspire at your next summer gathering:
Cottage Blue Dip & Dressing
1-1/2 cups cream-style small curd cottage cheese
1/3 cup Salemville Amish Blue cheese, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoon cream
Paprika for coloring
Directions: Beat cottage cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve chilled with vegetables or crackers. Note: For a thinner dip or salad dressing, add more cream.
Fig Creme Brulee
1 large black mission fig
1 teaspoon blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon raw sugar
Cut fig in half. Using melon ball scoop or round spoon, remove seeds. Fill with blue cheese. Sprinkle with sugar. Caramelize sugar with torch until it has turned golden brown. Cook's note: If you do not have a torch, put in the oven under the broiler until golden brown.