Posts Tagged ‘goat cheese’
Last week we had our first frost in Memphis. I even remembered to take my basil plant inside so that it wouldn’t die. Then yesterday I had to turn my A/C on for a couple hours because I cooked up a storm and didn’t anticipate the high of 77 degrees that day. Not that I am complaining about it being warm again, but fall here never ceases to confuse me. The temperatures drop from 70/60s to 30/40s without giving you any time to acclimate with moderate temperatures in between.
Regardless of the warm sunny atmosphere, I am powering through and continuing to make fall recipes because I just can’t get enough. It’s funny that I resisted Halloween for so long and now that it has passed I am pumped for the next two holidays, especially since Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. I guess not dressing up this year kind of put a damper on the excitement. Anyway, feast your eyes upon this delicious butternut squash recipe with a goat cheese sauce, which was my favorite part. So much so that I think I may use twice as much goat cheese in the future.
Two years ago: Baked Apple Cider Doughnut Minis
Sometimes I crave cheese balls outside of parties and gatherings, but to make an entire cheese ball for one person is just insane. Then it finally occurred to me – why not make a smaller version? And that’s exactly what I did. This little guy is smaller than my fist and only requires 4 ingredients. A mixture of goat cheese, cream cheese and cranberries all rolled up in chopped pistachios making for one very festive cheese ball. It was actually inspired by the farro salad I just made.
This mini cheese ball is actually enough for two servings so I am straying slightly for Single Serving Sunday. But I’d like to see anyone admit that they only eat one serving of a cheese ball. Admit it, you know you want to eat this as a side dish to your meal tonight. Or maybe the entree . You may need to double or quadruple the recipe for the times when you crave a cheese ball in the company of others. Otherwise you will be fighting everyone off!
One year ago: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
I don’t cook side dishes very often because when cooking for one it is hard enough to eat all the leftover entree let alone a side dish too. But every now and then I find a special side dish that ends up being more of an entree, as it steals the show of the meal. This farro salad is one such recipe. I served it with a small chicken breast that had only been seasoned with salt and pepper because I did not want to distract my taste buds away from the farro. The sweet cranberries and tangy goat cheese are joined together with the balsamic dressing and earthy herbs for a comforting effect. I could definitely see this being a great side dish for thanksgiving.
Never had or heard of farro? This was actually my first experience with farro. Texturally it reminded me of wheat berries and cooks like rice.
Meanwhile, several of my friends are on their way to Memphis at this very moment for a belated Ph.D. celebration. And yes all 5 are staying with me in my 1 bedroom 800 square foot apartment. It’s going to be one big weekend-long slumber party and I am so excited! Most of them have not been here in over 4 years so I have a lot more to show them now that I’ve become more acquainted with this city. Just in time for me to move and leave right?
One year ago: Chocolate S’mores Cupcakes
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Oh July, why did you scamper off so quickly? I cannot believe July is almost over, and that today marks yet another episode of The Secret Recipe Club. This month I got to dig around Flying on Jess Fuel. I found lots of tempting recipes such as Key West Grilled Chicken Skewers and a Rainier Cherry Pie – that pie excited me because I love Rainier cherries but couldn’t bring myself to buy them in order to bake it as they were ridiculously priced at the time. I decided to go for a side dish recipe since I don’t make side dishes very often compared to other things. Of course then she posted a recipe for Zucchini Bread Pancakes after I already made this gratin recipe. Guess I will had to add it to my menu later on!
Potato side dishes are quite fabulous. You can cut them up and cook until they are crispy fries, mash them and enjoy a creamy spoonful, slice them and layer with cheese for a gooey experience, or just eat them by themselves with a little butter. Of course the possibilities don’t end there! This recipe incorporates some yellow squash along with the potatoes to not only make it a little healthier, but also add great summer flavor. And the goat cheese worked wonders as usual. It was tempting to add double the amount called for in the recipe because I knew it could do no wrong, but resisted. This gratin also went very well with balsamic chicken I had prepared in the crock pot.
I finally got my hands on a purple sweet potato!!! One day at lunch I noticed that Qing was eating something that had a beautiful purple color and I immediately knew what it was. You see, months earlier I had been searching for purple sweet potatoes after finding out they existed at all. Unfortunately my search produced no results. That was until Qing informed me that her friend grows them in his backyard! The very next day she came in and handed me the biggest sweet potato I have ever laid my eyes on. In other words, I am going to be making more than one recipe out of that baby.
This purple beauty came into my life at the perfect time too, because I recently discovered that November is “Better Nutrition Month”. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are praised for being one of the best sources for beta-carotene (the precursor to Vitamin A). But what about purple sweet potatoes? Their purple color is caused by anthocyanins which have important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. But no matter the color, sweet potatoes contribute greatly towards your daily intake of Vitamin A and antioxidants. Totally nutritious and delicious! Now let’s make some gnocchi out of it, because it’s my favorite thing to make out of potatoes.
Obviously, I do not expect you to find your own personal purple sweet potato grower but you can most definitely make these gnocchi with a regular sweet potato. I am not aware of any taste difference, but my color preference is most definitely biased. However, when trying to decide what kind of sauce to make with these gnocchi I was perplexed. At first I thought of a pancetta butter sauce, but felt like that was just an easy way out after the butter sauce I served with another sweet potato gnocchi recipe I posted. But then I though of the guiltless alfredo that I love so much and decided to change it up a bit with goat cheese instead of using cream cheese. Now I want to smother everything in this goat cheese alfredo sauce. It’s so stinking good! And not overpowering, for those of you that might not enjoy a strong goat cheese flavor.
Ever since I first discovered the deliciousness that is gnocchi, I was under the impression that they were all created from potato. But recently I discovered they can also be created with ricotta – which sounds like it would be richer and more flavorful. Especially more so if using goat-milk ricotta! So I busted out my gnocchi board for the first time and got to work.
I haven’t made gnocchi in years, but remember the first time I ever made them – it was in my high school Italian class and I thought they were the most precious things ever. We didn’t do anything fancy to make them ridged, just cut them up into little pieces and boiled them, but their freshness was nothing like I had ever tasted before.
This time around I added the ridges, but unfortunately they were not very pronounced as I had hoped for visually. They still did their job holding onto the sauce, but I was expecting deeper, bigger ridges like you see on those you buy in the store. I am not sure why I expected that since I knew how small the ridges were on my gnocchi board. Sometimes my brain doesn’t make sense.
The original recipe said it served six. I do not see how that could’ve been possible without being served alongside some other dish. I barely got three servings out of this, and honestly it took a lot of will power not to make it a two-serving recipe. I could’ve eaten the entire pan in one sitting, it was that freaking amazing. Guess who will never be found buying pre-made shrink-wrapped gnocchi from the grocery store again?
And homemade gnocchi is pretty quick to make, especially compared to other homemade pastas which require the pasta rolling devices. You just roll these up into long logs, slice them up, roll on a gnocchi board (or the back of a fork or cheese grater), let sit in the fridge for a few minutes, then boil in water until they float. Add preferred sauce.
In this scenario I went for a butter sauce complimented by California walnuts and fresh thyme. Don’t forget a nice sprinkle of Parmesan before serving!
Steph’s Virtual Bridal Shower: Stuffed Flank Steak with Potato Cakes and Amaretto Chocolate Cheesecake
Kita, from Pass the Sushi, contacted me about contributing to Steph’s (from Steph’s Bite by Bite) surprise virtual bridal shower and I definitely knew I wanted to be a part of it. Even though some of us (myself included) are already donating desserts to her dessert bar for the big wedding day, this was a fun idea to do in addition since it is after all, a surprise! Who doesn’t love surprises?
Another thing that I really liked about this idea, is that even though I am very aware that Steph is fully capable of pleasing her soon-to-be-hubby’s belly, she will now have a big new list of great date-night meal ideas to play with. I don’t know if that was the original intention behind this masterful plan, but I think it makes sense.
I decided to go all the way and do a full meal. Naturally, I created a huge mess in my kitchen making everything for this, but I drank a glass of wine in the process so it make it not seem so bad. And had another glass after cleaning up after myself. And then maybe I invited Katie over and we finished the whole bottle while watching Project Runway and being amused by my cat playing with a rubber band. Maybe… yes. Yes, I am getting sidetracked.
I prepped the potato cakes first, then let them sit for a few minutes while I prepared the flank steak. Once the steak was in the oven, I cooked up the potato cakes. The timing was just perfect and I can’t believe how well it all went together. The juicy flavorful steak was served curled up on top of the crunchy potato cakes that were super moist and heavenly. It is a fancified (I may have just made that word up) meat and taters!
As for the cheesecake, it was the logical choice for the end of this meal. With the Italian-ish feel of the steak, having a dessert with Amaretto and mascarpone just seemed right. And it is made one day in advance so the kitchen mess gets spread out between two days. But the dessert really doesn’t make much of a mess. Except maybe a mess of your diet, because I decided it needed a drizzle of Nutella on top while I was at it. Go ahead and try to tell me I was wrong.
Happy surprise virtual bridal shower, Steph!
FLANK STEAK STUFFED WITH SUNDRIED TOMATOES, GOAT CHEESE AND BASIL
10 oz. (ish) flank steak
2 oz. goat cheese, brought to room temperature to soften
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Butterfly the flank steak, and then pound is to flatten it slightly. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, combine the softened goat cheese, sundried tomatoes, basil, a few grinds of pepper. Spread the mixture on top of the flank steak, and then roll it up to form a log. Secure the steak with kitchen twine or toothpicks.
- Heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the flank steak and brown it on all sides. Place the flank steak in the oven to finish cooking to your desired level of doneness (about 1o minutes for me). Place the steak under a foil tent to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
SPINACH POTATO CAKES
Makes one dozen
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup packed fresh spinach, stems removed
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large Idaho potato, boiled and mashed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup canola oil
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter, melt, then add the spinach and cook, stirring, until wilted. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Squeeze the spinach dry and finely chop; place in a large bowl. Add the egg and stir until well combined. Add the mashed potatoes, Parmesan, and lemon zest, and season with more salt and pepper; stir until well combined. Stir in the bread crumbs and flour until the mixture holds together. Pat into 2-inch by 1/2-inch-thick cakes.
- Pour Panko bread crumb into a shallow bowl. Coat each potato cake and press down slightly to adhere. Gently shake off any excess and transfer to a plate.
- Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the cakes and cook until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes per side.
AMARETTO CHOCOLATE MASCARPONE CHEESECAKE BARS
Makes 9 bars
1 stick unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces
1 cup + 2 Tbsp flour, divided
1/4 cup powdered sugar
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp Amaretto
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8″ x 8″ square pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang, and set aside.
- Cut the butter into 1 cup of the flour and powdered sugar until crumbly. Press evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until light brown.
- Meanwhile, beat cream cheese in large bowl until smooth. Add mascarpone and 2 Tbsp flour; beat until smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
- Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in Amaretto. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
- Divide the batter in half. Add cocoa powder to one of the batters and mix until fully incorporated.
- Pour chocolate filling into pie shell. Carefully spoon plain Amaretto batter on top. Scatter chocolate chips if using.
- Bake cheesecake until top is golden and cake is almost set (center 2 inches will still move slightly when pan is gently shaken), about 40-50 minutes. Cool cake on rack 1 hour before refrigerating uncovered overnight. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
- Before serving, lift out of the pan using the overhanging parchment paper before cutingt into 9 squares. Drizzle melted Nutella over the top is desired.
I know it says Breakfast, but I totally ate this for dinner last night. I lacked the patience to wait until the morning to make it because it just looked so good! After all, I have been saying that I need to cook more Breakfast-y things to share with you all, but no one ever said that it had to be eaten at a Breakfast hour.
The goat cheese adds a little tang making to jazz up these quesadillas, but not too much to overpower the rest of the ingredients. The hardest part was flipping the quesadilla over (some of the filling fell out but it recovered), and the recipe is easily doubled for a larger number of hungry bellies.
Writing this post makes me wish I had it again for Breakfast this morning – why did I only eat cereal? Guess I still need to work on cooking things for the Breakfast hour.
Makes 2 quesadillas
4 large flour tortillas (I used whole wheat)
4 eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
1 cup raw baby spinach
2 chicken, pork or soy sausage patties, cooked and roughly chopped
1 Tbsp butter, divided
1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Hot sauce to taste
- Scramble the eggs in a small skillet with half of the butter. Once scrambled, scoop eggs into a small bowl and set aside.
- Heat up a large skillet and drop the rest of the butter in. Lay a tortilla flat down then sprinkle with half of the eggs, sausage bits, goat cheese, spinach, mozzarella cheese and a drizzle of hot sauce. Lay other tortilla on top and press down. Cook quesadillas until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
- Slice into quarters and serve.
Source: Eat, Live, Run
I give to you the grand finale of basil week – cheesecake with goat cheese and peaches roasted in basil itself! After covering the three main meals of the day, I knew I had to figure out something with basil for dessert. But basil doesn’t strike me as something I would really want in a dessert. So here is how this recipe came to be:
I wonder if there is anything dessert-like with basil saved in my recipe folder – search for “basil”.
Hmm Annie’s Eats has a strawberry bruschetta that looks amazing. Goat cheese, basil and strawberries? I think I can work with that. What about a cheesecake with goat cheese? Then the strawberries and basil on top? Hmm, let’s search for goat cheese recipes.
Ooo this recipe from Whole Foods has roasted pears on top with rosemary to go with the goat cheese cheesecake. Maybe I could swap the rosemary for basil? Does basil go with pears? Or maybe peaches? Yea peaches are stupid amazingly good right now, I can totally do that. But where on earth will I ever find peach juice? Let’s improvise…
From there I followed the recipe from Whole Foods pretty close for the cheesecake itself (I made minis instead of a big full cake), then using the recipe as inspiration I did my own thing for the roasted peaches and sauce. And you know what? It rocks. The slight tang from the goat cheese works beautifully with the sweetness of the peaches. And the basil, although not the main focus, adds that little bit of extra.
GOAT CHEESE CHEESECAKE WITH BASIL ROASTED PEACHES
Makes 24 mini cheesecakes
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 (8- oz) packages reduced fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
3 (4-oz packages fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 ripe but firm peaches
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp grade A dark amber maple syrup, divided
3 Tbsp agave syrup, divided
2 basil leaves, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 Tbsp water
- For the crust, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place crumbs in a medium-sized mixing bowl and pour in butter. Stir until crumbs are thoroughly moistened.
- Press crumb mixture into the bottoms of 1-12 lined cupcake pans. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and firm, about 6-8 minutes.
- For the cheesecake, reduce oven heat to 325 degrees. Place cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. With an electric hand mixer, beat until just smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. In two or three additions, beat in sugar until mixture is creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating and scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Continue to beat until mixture is very smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared crusts. Bake until edges of cheesecake look set and the center is still soft and slightly jiggly, 20 to 25 minutes. Place pan on a rack to cool completely in the pan. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. For the roasted peaches, halve them and remove pits. Put butter, lemon juice, a tablespoon of maple syrup and 2 tablespoons agave in a medium baking dish. Bake for a minute or two, just until butter melts. Swirl to mix ingredients, then place peaches, cut side down, in dish along with basil leaves. Bake for 15 minutes, basting with cooking liquid, until tender. Transfer peaches to a plate to cool. Cut each half into 6 slices (24 total).
- Place remaining agave and maple syrup in a small bowl with water. Strain juices from baking dish into bowl and stir to combine.
- When cheesecake has thoroughly chilled, remove from pan. Stir cooled sauce and drizzle sauce on the top with a peach slice and a basil leaf.
Source: Adapted from Whole Foods
As I mentioned yesterday, I have a decent amount of basil needing a purpose. To begin my basil quest, I searched through my recipe folder and the most recently saved was this dish by Jenna from Eat, Live, Run. Good enough for me!
This is such a quick and satisfying recipe. Who knew just a few ingredients and a couple of steps could put something like this on your plate? The gnocchi cooks so fast, and then all you do is mix in the rest of the ingredients and poof! Instant happy belly. Definitely a basil success.
1 package pre-made gnocchi
5 oz goat cheese
1/2 cup cooking water leftover from boiling gnocchi
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
- Cook gnocchi in boiling salted water for a couple minutes until all the gnocchi float. Drain and save 1/2 cup water.
- Transfer the hot gnocchi to a large bowl, add goat cheese, cooking water, cherry tomatoes and basil. Mix well so cheese melts.
- Season with a little black pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Source: Eat, Live Run