Grilled Buffalo Chicken Thighs with Blue Cheese Slaw

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Thighs with Blue Cheese Slaw

If you’re looking for an easy, delicious dinner, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are your best friend. They cook up in minutes, can be flavored a million different ways and are perfect for the grill. Here, we took inspiration from one of America’s favorite bar snacks: Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip.

Caramelized Red Onion and Pear Tarts with Goat Cheese and Spicy Honey Drizzle

Pear & Caramelized Red Onion Tarts with Goat Cheese and Spicy Honey Drizzle

These are what you want for a holiday party: buttery puff pastry pear tarts topped with balsamic-caramelized red onions and goat cheese crumbles. A drizzle of spicy chili-honey puts it over the top. 

Here’s how we fell in love with pear tarts. While we love throwing parties around the holidays, we inevitably get so busy that what we envisioned as a relaxed morning of prepping nibbles ends up being a scramble to get food on the table before our famished guests start experimentally sprinkling salt and pepper on the cats. That’s when a time-saver like puff pastry sheets becomes our best friend in the kitchen. In fact, the day before a party, we often defrost a box just on the off chance that we’ll need to make more vittles. It’s a matter of minutes to throw a few ingredients onto a pastry square and bake it.

We recently found a combination that requires a little more prep time, but is so worth it: roasted pears, caramelized red onions, goat cheese and chili-infused honey. It’s so satisfying that these tarts, maybe with a simple cheese board, are all you need to wow and satisfy your guests. The toppings can be made in advance and even assembled the day before, so all you need to do the day of the party is pop them in the oven. Easy peasy.

Also, don’t forget to check out our tips for buying and cooking pears below. The variety you buy matters!

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Crispy Buffalo Shrimp and Creamy Blue Cheese Grits

Crispy Buffalo Shrimp and Blue Cheese Grits

Shrimp and grits is a Southern standard which we in the Northeast are delighted to adopt. We tossed crispy shrimp with spicy, buttery buffalo sauce, and cooked up corn grits with plenty of salty, crumbly blue cheese. A match made in heaven! (Well, South Carolina and New York.)

We’ll admit it: we don’t get out of New York State very often. Our combined day jobs and blogging responsibilities have us tied down to the homestead most of the year, and, let’s face it, NY is so damned big, and we’re barely halfway up the Hudson, so it takes half a day’s drive to get anywhere that’s not here. We do jaunt across to Connecticut every couple of months to do a warehouse shop run and marvel at their exotic blue highway signs before coming straight back, but that’s about it. A couple of winters ago, we made a concerted effort to break free of our routine, and almost at random decided to drive down to Maryland. It was there that we fell in love with (a non-traditional version of) shrimp and grits.

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Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese and Chive Compound Butter

Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Chive Butter and Balsamic Red Onions

Grilled steak ramped up with a tangy, creamy blue cheese and chive compound butter. Watch out, steak night, the bar just got raised.

Okay folks, strap yourselves in tight because it’s going to be an exciting ride (picture me winking and making a clicking noise while pointing at you). This is a “seal the deal” kind of dinner. The kind of dinner I make for Matt when I really want him to say “Huh? Whatever. I wasn’t listening but ‘yes’ as long as you make this again.” It’s that good.

There’s something about the combination of rich beef and tangy blue cheese that just works (which is why the best burger combination is blue cheese and crispy bacon, in my opinion). Well, this recipe takes that classic pairing to the next level.

We grilled New York Strip steaks and topped them with the most delicious blue cheese and chive compound butter and served it with Balsamic Roasted Red Onions with Thyme. You’re licking your screen, aren’t you? I understand, here’s a tissue.

Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Chive Butter and Balsamic Red Onions

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Grilled Buffalo Shrimp and Avocado Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce

Grilled Buffalo Shrimp and Avocado Sandwiches with Blue Cheese Sauce

The fact that Matt grew up in a rural English village and I grew up in New York City means that, every so often, we have absolutely no idea what the other person is talking about.

For example, here’s an exchange that may (or may not) have occurred recently (it did not, but work with me here).

Emily: Less hit the bodega for a ’40 and stoop it till we mad toasted. You know you down, don’t front.

Matt: What’cha talking abaht, yer daft bint? Put yer knickers on and make me a cup of tea.

Then there was the time I convinced Matt that in New York City, it’s very common for dogs to wear prescription glasses. “Really?” he said, and then I laughed until I got a cramp.

Then he tried to convince me that in Scotland, there are huge, orange cows with hipster haircuts that look exactly like the mayor of London, Boris Johnson. No way, buddy. Like I’m going to believe that.

So you can imagine the fun I had trying to describe what ‘buffalo sauce’ is. I’m not sure how we’re still married.

Anyway, on to our sangwich. Let me start by saying that I would be quite happy if buffalo sauce & blue cheese dip were on pretty much everything I ate for the rest of the summer. These are the kind of bright, zingy flavors I just go crazy for.

Add to that perfectly grilled shrimp, creamy avocado and crisp lettuce and you’ve got yourself a seriously delicious sammich.

Shrimp without titles

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Roasted Figs Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Serrano Ham

Roasted Figs with Bleu Cheese and Serrano Ham

An easy and elegant appetizer of roasted figs stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in Serrano ham. Finished with fresh thyme, a drizzle of honey, and a few toasted almonds.

I know, I know, you’re thinking,”Emily, when did you become a member of the Royal Family cos, gurl, you fancy!” (I apologize for making you sound like a 1970’s sit-com character, but it was required for comedy purposes. You should see the wig I’m imagining on you).

Yes, it’s true that these beauties would be perfect alongside a glass of Champagne at an elegant cocktail party. But, truth be told, they’d be equally delightful with a (not terribly expensive) glass of rosé while sitting on the back deck. Guess which way we had them? (If you guessed “directly off the baking tray, standing in the kitchen with a dog and two cats staring at us”, you would be correct).

As fancy as they look, these are incredibly easy to make. On the preparing-for-a-party difficulty scale, they fall slightly above “pour potato chips into bowl” and well below “make homemade dip”. The hardest part is finding fresh figs, which isn’t very hard when they’re in season. If your figs are very ripe, you don’t even really need to roast them (but I find the combination of a warm, jammy fig, oozy sharp cheese, and salty ham to be irresistible).

If you’re making them for a party. you could prep them up to a day ahead and just roast them a few minutes before you want to serve them.

Roasted Figs with Bleu Cheese and Serrano Ham
Ripe figs are so lovely, aren’t they?
Roasted Figs with Bleu Cheese and Serrano Ham
Cheese, figs, ham. Easy peasy. CH-easy peasy. Figgy pig…I’d better stop now.

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