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Dinner Tonight! | Learning to Cook

A Tangy Topper

May 24, 2000|MARION CUNNINGHAM

Every home cook has a couple of favorite concoctions, either in the refrigerator or cupboard, waiting to be used in case of an unexpected guest or just to improve a rather skimpy lunch or supper.

In the long-ago days, relishes, pickles and olives added a little sparkle to dull fare, and the Pennsylvania Dutch were masterful at covering their tables with what were called "sweets and sours."

The following recipe, Blue Cheese Crumble, has won recipe contests and is a most popular hors d'oeuvre. It can play different roles depending on your need. It is delicious on grilled steaks or hamburgers and as a topping for salads. Or serve it with sliced Granny Smith apples and your favorite cracker as the fruit-and-cheese course to enhance a meal. It will keep up to a week, covered, in the refrigerator.

This recipe comes from Seattle cook Sharon Kramis.

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Cunningham's newest book is "Learning to Cook With Marion Cunningham" (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999).

Blue Cheese Crumble

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour chilling

You can use chopped green onions instead of red onion, if you prefer.

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/2 cup parsley

8 ounces (1/2 pound) crumbled blue cheese or a solid block of blue cheese

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground pepper (start by adding 1/2 and add to taste)

* Slice garlic cloves in half lengthwise, then slice each half lengthwise into little strips. Hold strips together and cut them into small pieces crosswise. Set aside. Cut onion into little pieces in same way you cut up garlic cloves. Set aside. Remove parsley from stems and measure 1/2 cup of parsley.

* Sprinkle crumbled cheese in an even layer into a shallow 8- or 9-inch square dish. (To grate solid block of blue cheese, use larger holes of grater so bits are about half size of a corn kernel.) Mix garlic and olive oil together and sprinkle over cheese.

* Combine vinegar, lemon juice and pepper in small bowl. Stir in red onion and parsley and spread over cheese.

* Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

About 2 cups. Each 1/4 cup: 186 calories; 398 mg sodium; 21 mg cholesterol; 17 grams fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams protein; 0.12 gram fiber.

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