Bleu Cheese and the farewell blues

ready for the masses!

ready for the masses!

As I’ve stated before, I’ve worked in a restaurant in La Quinta for many years now. In the restaurant prior to this one, I watched 27 managers come and go. “Wow, she must have been there for decades!!” Actually, a year and a half, to be exact. To be fair, it is the size of three or four restaurants put together, and it had just opened, so it proved quite a mountain for any team to attempt to climb.

the girls

the girls

Well, as is often the case with the service industry, in my current location we’ve had a few people leave and a few new ones join us, but the general manager was a constant. Tracy was there for my entire three and a half years, and at least four before that (btw, this place is only about 10 years old)… so pretty much a permanent fixture in our everyday work environment, just like one of her crazy coffee mugs, sitting there on the bar waiting for its daily cappuccino. That is, until about two weeks ago.

one of many employee gifts

one of many employee gifts

decent turnout, party 1 of 2

decent turnout, party 1 of 2

Sadly, we finally said goodbye to this dear member of our restaurant “family.” Yes, like with any group that basically lives together we’ve had our disastrous incidents and explosive fights, but we’ve also shared many laughs, tear-stained shoulders (for triumphs AND tribulations), and countless adventures and cherished memories. It was an incredibly difficult goodbye for all of us. Tracy was like our mom, our best friend, our worst critic, and our biggest cheerleader. Although I’m sure we’ll do perfectly fine this season with our new management, there will always be a little twinge of sadness when I look over during the hustle and bustle of business and she isn’t there on the line yelling at one or more of us to get our acts together. The only good thing being that we’ll finally be able to use the air conditioner without any complaints of frozen managers. 😉

so she won't be cold!

so she won’t be cold!

To honor her as best we could, we threw multiple good-bye parties to give everyone in the front and back of the house a chance to bid their farewells, present final gifts and hugs, and of course to eat and drink like we were always so quick to do whenever the opportunity arose. The daytime party was a surprise, and one of our owners took Tracy over to get a mani/pedi across the street while we snuck into the restaurant with decorations and food. I had to pick up my daughter right at that moment so I sent my camera with Jeremiah so as not to miss her reaction or any great shots of her well-wishing attendees.

next time don't skimp on the cheese!

next time don’t skimp on the cheese!

cheddar melts "beddar"

cheddar melts “beddar”

When I came later, I brought those tasty potatoes that my last post hinted at in the photo gallery. They truly are delicious, and this time around, I also made a cheddar cheese version since I know some of our staff isn’t too fond of bleu cheese. I topped them with garlic chives from what’s left of my herb garden, and that provided just the right hint of garlic that I love in almost everything I eat. I also had to use small russet potatoes instead of red potatoes (although I prefer red) simply because it was what I had in the kitchen already. Both kinds were finished off in minutes, even though my late arrival made the amuse-bouche slightly cold. I can tell you that fresh out of the oven, I’d happily sit in front of the entire batch and eat them myself, so these are definitely a must-try. Plus, they look super fancy and complicated even though the substitution of the Simple Slicer (which I used instead of the Ultimate Mandoline for easier handling) and Small Ridged Baker (microwaves the bacon perfectly in minutes) make this recipe ridiculously easy.

peek-a-boo

peek-a-boo

**Here comes the rare but special treat!! If you place an order for any TWO Pampered Chef tools used in this recipe or found anywhere in this post (hint: they’re bold, with links directly to my website), I will send you a FREE

    bottle of our Peppercorn Medley (or comparable item of choice), which adds amazing flavor when freshly cracked over any dish! Just email, call, text, or comment to let me know and I’ll hook you up!**

    Bleu Cheese and Bacon Potato Crisps

    4-5 small red potatoes (about 1 1/2-2 in./4-5 cm in diameter)
    1/4 tsp (1 mL) coarsely ground black pepper
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) olive oil
    4 slices cooked turkey bacon
    2 oz (60 g) bleu cheese, crumbled
    6 grape tomatoes
    2 tbsp (30 mL) reduced-fat sour cream
    2 tbsp (30 mL) snipped fresh chives

    1. Preheat oven to 450 F (230 C). Spray cups of Deluxe Mini-Muffin Pan with nonstick cooking spray. Slice potatoes with Ultimate Mandoline fitted with adjustable slicing blade on thin setting. Discard ends of otatoes. Combine potato slices, black pepper and oil in Classic Batter Bowl; toss to coat with Small Mix ‘N Scraper. Finely chop bacon with Food Chopper.

    2. Press one potato slice into each cup of pan; sprinkle with half of the bacon and cheese. Repeat layer one time with additional potato slices, remaining bacon and remaining cheese. Top with remaining potato slices, gently pressing layers together. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are browned and crisp. Remove pan from oven; immediately remove crisps from pan to Stackable Cooling Rack.

    3. Meanwhile, slice tomatoes lengthwise into quarters with Utility Knife. Spoon sour cream into small resealable plastic bag; secure bag and trim corner. Pipe a dollop of sour cream onto each crisp. Top with tomato quarters and sprinkle with chives.

    Yield: 12 servings

    U.S. Nutrients per serving (2 appetizers): Calories 70, Total Fat 2.5g, Saturated Fat 1.5g, Cholesterol 10mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Protein 3g, Sodium 115mg, Fiber 1g

    Cook’s Tips

    Choose turkey bacon with 65% less fat than regular bacon and contains about 135 mg sodium per slice.

    To cook bacon, cut slices in half and cook in (8-in./20-cm) Saute Pan over medium-high heat 6-8 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

    Use the cleaning tool from the Garlic Press to help remove the crisps from the pan, if necessary.

    copyright 2011 The Pampered Chef, used under license

    just to show you the first round again

    just to show you the first round again

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