THE goat cheese I'm referring to is chèvre; there are many other goat's milk cheeses (feta being the best known), but chèvre is what we here in Canada usually think of as goat cheese.
This mild, creamy cheese blends well with other ingredients, melts nicely and easily crumbles to sprinkle over salads and pizzas. It's usually sold in logs or disks, sometimes rolled in chopped herbs or cracked peppercorns. Once the package has been opened you should use it within a week.
Goat cheese contains more protein and far less fat and calories than many other soft cheeses, and is also more easily digested than cow's milk products.
Warm Goat Cheese & Pepper Jelly Spread
You can throw this together in a few minutes; serve with crisp flatbread, bagel chips or crackers.
8 oz plain goat cheese 4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 ?3 cup thinly sliced green onions (green part only) 1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup red pepper jelly
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl stir together the goat cheese, cream cheese, green onions, garlic and pepper until well combined. Turn mixture into a lightly greased shallow baking dish; spread red pepper jelly evenly over top. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. Turn on oven broiler and broil until top is lightly browned and bubbly (watch carefully so it doesn't burn). Serve warm. Makes six to eight servings.
Green Bean, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
Finely grated zest of ½ orange
1 shallot, very finely chopped
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
¾ lb fresh green beans
8 small beets
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
Mix all of the dressing ingredients except salt and pepper together in a small jar with a tight lid; screw on lid and shake dressing vigorously to combine. Taste dressing and season with salt and pepper as desired.
Wash the beets and cut the root ends off; wrap beets in a double thickness of foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for about one hour or until tender. Let cool, then remove skins under running water - they should slip off easily (wear gloves unless you happen to like having pink fingers!). Use a vegetable peeler to remove any stubborn bits of skin or blemishes. Cut beets in quarters or slices.
Cut the stem ends off the green beans and blanch them in boiling salted water for about two to three minutes or until just barely tender; drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.
Place beets and green beans in a bowl and toss with ¾ of the dressing (shake dressing again first). Arrange the beets and beans on four serving plates; sprinkle crumbled cheese over top and drizzle with remaining dressing. Makes four servings.
Asparagus, Tomato & Goat Cheese Quiche
8 spears of asparagus, tough ends removed, blanched in boiling water until barely tender
1 cup chopped seeded tomatoes
1 ?3 cup chopped green onions (green parts only)
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
6 large eggs, beaten
1¼ cups light cream (such as Creamo)
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated medium Cheddar
1 nine-inch unbaked pie crust (homemade use a Pillsbury refrigerated crust) Small quantity of melted butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush the unbaked pie crust with melted butter and place it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes until the butter sets (this helps prevent the crust from getting soggy).
Mix together the asparagus, tomatoes and green onion and then spread them in an even layer in the prepared crust. Sprinkle the goat cheese evenly over top. Beat the eggs and cream together with a mixer for about one minute; thoroughly stir in salt and pepper, then pour egg mixture gently over the vegetables and goat cheese.
Sprinkle the Cheddar over top. Bake for 35-45 minutes until top is golden brown and custard is set. Makes six to eight servings.