Please give it up for my ultra-talented chef/baker/photographer/renaissance woman friend Dana from Minimalist Baker, who has graciously agreed to guest post for me while Ben and I are in Charleston!
Time consuming, exhausting, messy, expensive. Don’t you just hate cooking sometimes?
Yeah, me, too. That’s why I created my blog, Minimalist Baker, where each recipe requires 7 ingredients or less, 30 minutes or less, or 1 bowl to prepare. Can I get an amen for simple? Amen.
If you’ve ever stopped by our space you know we’re all about a minimalist approach to food. That’s how I cook in real life to save me time, money and stress, and I think it can do the same for you.
If you’re wondering who we are, my name’s Dana and I handle all of the recipe development and photography for Minimalist Baker. And my husband John handles all the back-end, technical, design-y stuff that’s way over my head. In other words, we make a good team.
To be guest posting on Kristin’s blog is somewhat of a dream, as Iowa Girl Eats was one of the first food blogs I fell in love with and one of the big reasons I started food blogging in the first place. When Kristin asked me to share a recipe with you all this week I was ecstatic, and immediately started dreaming a special dish – one that was quick, flavorful, delicious and of course, simple.
I believe I’ve done just that. Whipped Bleu Cheese Balsamic Bites – Toasty whole wheat baguettes topped with a simple whipped bleu cheese dip, caramelized onions and asparagus spears, and drizzled with a rich balsamic reduction. Your guests will be in appetizer heaven.
From start to finish these beauties take just 30 minutes. And the ingredients are very simple, allowing the star flavors to really shine through. Each luxurious bite melts in your mouth with a distinct airiness from the bleu cheese dip and a crisp finish from the baguette. The flavors are spectacular, melding together create the perfect savory, sweet bite.
If you’re not an asparagus or onion fan, other veggies would be great here as well such as roasted grape tomatoes, squash, peppers, or even red grapes. They’re also perfect for a crowd, but you could even serve up just a few at a time as the bleu cheese dip will keep for at least a week.
With spring just around the corner, these bites would make the perfect appetizer to serve at patio parties or small gatherings with friends. They’d even be appropriate for more formal dinner parties with their fancy appearance. I have big plans for them as the weather warms up and we’re out socializing a bit more, and I hope you do as well.
Whipped Bleu Cheese Balsamic Bites
From Minimalist Baker
4oz (1/2 cup) bleu cheese crumbles
4oz 1/3 fat cream cheese
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
pinch black pepper
~ 1/4 cup 2% or whole milk
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
8-10 sprigs asparagus and/or 1/2 red onion
12-14 slices wheat baguette
- Preheat oven to low broil and position rack on second from top position. Slice baguette into 1/2 inch pieces and arrange on baking sheet. Plan for 1-2 per person. Set aside.
- Prepare bleu cheese dip by placing bleu cheese, cream cheese, vinegar, olive oil, and pepper in a food processor and mixing until well combined. Drizzle in milk 1 Tbsp at a time while mixing until desired consistency is achieved. It should be thick like frosting. Scoop into a large plastic bag and set aside.
- Saute asparagus and/or red onion in a large saucepan over medium heat until tender. Season with salt and black pepper. To properly caramelize the onions, make sure to keep the lid on to lock in moisture and get them really soft. Set aside.
- Prepare balsamic reduction by placing balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally and being careful not to boil. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by about half and a wooden spoon scraped across the bottom leaves a visible line – it should appear somewhat “syrupy.” Pour into a small ramekin for serving.
- Pop baguette in the oven and watch closely, toasting until light golden brown. Then remove from the oven, pipe on whipped bleu cheese, and top with sautéed asparagus and/or caramelized onion. Drizzle with balsamic reduction and serve immediately.
Estimated nutrition per bite: 142 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 124 mg sodium, 9 g carbohydrates, 1.7 g fiber, 1.8 g sugar, 6 g protein
Inspired by The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook
10 minutes prep time
20 minutes cook time
30 minutes total