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Posts tagged ‘Goat cheese’

Goat Cheese Cakes

Here is a super little snack or appetizer or in this case we just had it with a bunch of dips and a glass of wine for a wonderfully tasty summer supper!

Goat cheese cakes

Here’s what’s in the goat cheese cakes:

  • Goat cheese
  • chopped basil
  • chopped garlic
  • chopped sun-dried tomato
  • chopped jalapeno olives
  • black pepper

Mix all of this very well together in a bowl.  Then take out large spoonfuls of the mixture and make them into little disks or “cakes”.   Then put them on a tray with some parchment paper and then put them in the freezer!

Keep them in the freezer for about 1/2 hour or until they get nice and firm.  This makes them SO much easier to work with.

Then you are going to bread them with the usual process.

  • flour
  • egg
  • breadcrumbs

Then it is time to pan fry them in just a little oil.

Then back to the tray with parchment and into the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes max, just to set them.

Then you are ready to eat!

The Chef told me that he had prepared a salad of “local greens”.  We laughed and laughed, because he just took them from the balcony garden!!  That’s pretty local!

Humus, onion jam, tomato compote

Then we paired them with some lovely tasty dips.

  • spicy humus
  • onion jam
  • tomato compote

I will give you the recipes for these another time!

And then some roasted garlic, assorted olives with crostini and fancy bread!

With a nice glass of wine……nothin beats it!!

Salad Week – Deconstructed Greek Salad

I thought what with Summer now upon us……well some places are getting Summer anyway….that it would be a good time to roll out “Salad Week”.

I love salads and the combinations are endless, so let’s see what we can come up with.

Today we have “Deconstructed Greek Salad”.

Now don’t be intimidated.   This might sound all “Chefy” but it couldn’t be simpler!

Impress your friends with this simple tasty salad.

Gather all the ingredients typically found in a Greek salad and cut them into even sized bits.

Here we have:

  • Green pepper
  • Yellow pepper
  • Red onion
  • tomato
  • cucumber
  • Kalamata olives

So chop them up evenly and put them in little piles in a flat casserole dish like small 9 x 9 glass lasagna dish.

Then make up the dressing:  Thee parts oil, one part vinegar

  • red wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • honey
  • chopped fresh herbs – parsley, oregano etc

Stir up and then pour all over the vegetables and let them marinade for at least 1/2 hour before serving.

When you are ready to serve, arrange even piles of the individual vegetables around the plate.

Here we have a dollop of goat cheese, but crumbled feta would do nicely too.

Season with salt & pepper and sprinkle with additional chopped herbs if you have them!

Voila!  So simple and so good!!

Deconstructed Greek Salad

Please feel free to share YOUR  favorite salads with me.  Post a link to your blog if you’d like my friends to check it out too.

Happy Salad Week!

Veggie Pie

Well here’s an easy one for you, a quick mid-week supper or a Sunday lunch!

As you may know, I’m a big fan of “clean out the fridge” dishes and this one is a perfect example of that.

You can pretty much use most vegetables that you would cook on this one.

Now when I say “cheated” with ready-made puff pastry……..I’m not really being that outrageous.  I mean I live with a professional Chef and even HE never makes puff pastry from scratch!!

So start with some store-bought puff pastry and roll it out as per manufacturers instructions.

Then cut it into manageable sizes.  Squares or like I have here, sort of round mini pizza sizes.

Roll up the edges slightly because you want to make the inside deep enough so stuff doesn’t run out.

Put on a baking sheet and bake in the oven ( see temp on pastry package)  for about 15 minutes.

Top with your vegetables of choice.

We happened to have some left over roasted squash, already sweet and smokie and perfect for this.

And some carmalized onions and some fresh asparagus.  Arrange them evenly all over the dough.

Then you are going to add:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt & pepper

Whipped up together and poured evenly over the vegetables, kind of like if you were making a very thin Quiche.

Finish with your favorite cheese.

Here we have a few knobs of my favorite goat cheese.

Bung them in the oven ( see pastry package for temp).

And bake until the pastry puffs up, the egg and cream set and  the cheese gets melty!

Serve with a side salad and you are in business!

Veggie pie

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Very Berry Cakes

I found myself with and abundance of berries.

I use them in smoothies and freeze them and all that but I feel that blackberries in particular kind of annoy me in a smoothie.  I find that the  seeds get caught in your teeth.

I was going to make some muffins but I didn’t have any baking cup liners and didn’t feel like greasing and cleaning and all that nonsense, so I just opted for some pancakes instead.

I always make my batters in the blender because then you can pour it easily into the frying pan.

So start with your favorite pancake recipe.  I use a lot of “groovy” stuff in mine to make them more nutritious, like oatmeal and chia and all that, but any batter will do.

Then add about 1/2 cup or more of black berries, or the berries of your choice.

The black berries make the cakes super purple, which in some circles is kinda cool.

While they are cooking on the first side, I gently add a few blue berries to each cake, that way they stay in one piece and don’t make the cakes double purple!

Keep the cooked ones warm until you are ready to serve.

I didn’t feel like the usual maple syrup so I added a dollop or two of my favorite lemon goat cheese and a few drizzles of honey.

Very Berry Cakes

Very nice way to start the day!

Anniversary Dinner

Now don’t get me wrong, I like going out to restaurants as much as the next person, but when you have a live in Chef sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to go out!!

The Chef and I were celebrating our anniversary this weekend so he was nice enough to “whip me up” a little something for my dinner!!

We started with an appetizer of beet and goat cheese pin wheel terrine with basil infused oil.

Beet and goat cheese pin wheels

Colourful and light.

Then a lovely salad of arugula  with a beautiful refreshing oil and lemon dressing and shaves of Parmesan cheese.

Arugula salad with lemon, oil and shaved Parmesan cheese

For the main course we had beef and asparagus rouladen topped with gorgonzola cheese, accompanied by pured roasted celeriac topped with Boursin cheese and roasted root vegetables with topped with Blue cheese.

Beef and asparagus rouladen with roasted celeriac, root vegetables and three cheeses

Scurmp-delly-ishes!!!

Needless to say, with all the flavours and textures going on there, it only seemed appropriate to have a nice simple dessert.

Strawberries macerated in sugar and balsamic vinegar with Greek yogurt, with a sprig of mint and a shard of dark chocolate!

macerated strawberries with Greek yogurt and mint

Good time had by all!

Beet and Goat Cheese Terrine

Every now and again The Chef will see something somewhere and HAS to make it.

Of late we have been watching Top Chef Canada and there is one contestant who seems to be making a lot of terrines, so The Chef had a hankering to make one for us.  I couldn’t refuse.

Now don’t get me wrong, terrines come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and flavours.  But mostly it means a dish full of stuff squished down hard till it sticks together well and then turned out and sliced up and eaten, usually in a decorative way.

So on this occasion, he made one of beet and goat cheese.

Start by boiling some whole beets.  He used red ones and golden ones.

Once they are cooked, let them cool till they are cold.  So this can be done well in advance.

When you are ready to build your terrine, peel the beets slice very thinly with a mandolin or with a knife if you are really good at that kind of thing.

Lay them out on a tray and sprinkle with a little oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and some chopped herbs.

Let them sit a little to get acquainted.

Then find yourself a terrine mould.  If you don’t have a fancy one handed down from generations before you, just use a loaf pan of some sort.

You could line it with plastic wrap if you are making something particularly sticky, but the oil on these beets will keep them slippery enough to come out of the mould.

Start layering the beets, perferablely by colour.

Then a layer of goat cheese.

Repeat.

When you finish your last layer, you will need to find something heavy that you can put on top.

Use your imagination.

The Chef topped it with a bit of parchment paper, then we happend to have one of those silicon, soft loaf pans, so he put that on top next and then a couple of heavy cans of whatever.

Put it in the fridge for a few hours to set.

When you are ready, unmould it, slice it up and serve.

My Valentines

I know that many of you have expressed envy over the fact that I have a Chef around the house.

And although there are MANY perks to this, there are also a few hazards, like the high risk to your waistline and the fact that there ALWAYS seems to be a lot of dishes!

But on this past Valentines Day this year, I was once again treated to a lovely meal!

Actually it started with a very nice breakfast, simple but effective.

Eggs, cooked inside slices of red pepper that looked very much like heart shapes, on toast, with a bit of cheese.  I couldn’t have been happier!

Heart shaped eggs

Who knows what I had for lunch?  Probably nothing, knowing I would be coming home to a feast.  And a feast it was.

For weeks I have been nagging the Chef to try out something I saw on someone else’s blog.  The other blogger had taken goat cheese, rolled it into balls, breaded them and then deep fried them and then tossed them in hot sauce.  Exactly like you might do with chicken wings!

The Chef, not liking to be outdone, took it up a notch!

Instead of just goat cheese, he used shredded chicken and blue cheese!  So these balls were even closer to a chicken wing!   But then we just dipped ours in hot sauce instead of having them completely covered in them.   

Very tasty! 

Chicken & blue cheese balls

Then we moved on to the “Party Snack Sampler”.  I am a big fan of party snacks so to start with a few to whet my whistle, was very nice.

Tapenade topped goat cheese, hummus and pita. 

And my favorite little Spanakopita!

Spanikopita

Next was a simple salad of bundles of baby greens wrapped in finely sliced cucumber with a nice sun-dried tomato and balsamic dressing.

Then the main event.  asparagus filled ravioli on a mound of puree of sweet roasted butternut squash, topped with brown butter and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Asparagus ravioli with butternut squash and brown butter

Finally, for dessert, the triple header chocolate delight!!

Home made chocolate pudding, topped with grated chocolate infused whipped cream and a shard of Lindt 70% dark chocolate bar!  

Chocolate Triple Header

Doesn’t get much better than THAT!

I am a lucky girl.

Beet on Beet Salad

 I never liked beets as a child, thought they tasted like dirt.

But now I love them and eat them every chance I can.  They are very very good for you!

The Chef and I worked together to whip up this two kind of beets two ways refreshing salad.

First I whipped out my spiralizer and cut one of each, red and golden,  raw peeled beets, into beautiful strings.

Meanwhile, the Chef boiled up some of the same.

Then we met back to assemble the salad.

Start with nice slices of cooked beet that you will alternate with Salt Spring Goat Cheese ( click here ) and another slice of the other coloured beet.

Once those are stratigicly spaced, add a handful of mixed greens in the centre and then top with a couple of handfuls of red and golden beet spirals.

Top with your favorite dressing.    Could be a meal in it’self!

Two beet salad

Greek night

Well now that I have a nice batch of Tzatziki  ( see yesterday’s post) on my hands why not just have Greek night?

How about a nice pork souvlaki pita and Greek salad?

I guess there are many ways to ask for some sort of meat on a pita, referring to it as a “sandwich” or wrap or what have you.  But in Montreal you call them “souvlaki pita”.

So we need to start with some pork.  The kind that you can chop into large chunks, like a pork loin or even thick pork chops.   On this occasion I just picked up a package of “stir fry” pork.  So what ever is easiest.

If not already cut, chop it into 1 to 2 bite sizes and then in a glass bowl add:

  •   pork
  •  2 gloves chopped garlic
  •  1 tbsp dried oregano
  •  the juice of half of a lemon
  • a splash of olive oil
  • salt and pepper

And then let that marinate for at least half hour, but the longer the better.

marinating pork

Then for the Greek salad. I put together some “Greek like” ingredients.

  • chopped tomato
  • chopped English cucumber
  • large chunks white onion
  • olives
  • oregano
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • goat cheese ( or feta)

Mix these up in no particular order.  You could also add chopped green peppers, but I just went with what I had around.  Then let that marinate for awhile too.

Greek salad

 Then we will need something on the side.  How about some Greek style potatoes?

I used red potatoes and chopped them into a fine dice. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with oregano and a bit of salt. Put them in a hot oven and let them roast, taking them out and  stir them from time to time so they don’t stick to the bottom.

Once the potatoes are almost roasted, take them out and pour about 2 tbsps of fresh lemon juice over them and toss them around.

We are ready to start assembling everything.

Ideally the pork should be cooked on a bar b que or grill pan of some sort to give it that nice char flavour that everyone enjoys so much.  But on this occasion I just tossed the whole marinating roast pan into the oven and let the pork “roast” instead.  The advantage to this is that it keeps the pork moist.

First we need a pita bread.  Lay on a flat surface. 

I just happened to have some wax paper wrappers that are very useful.

So, pita bread, then add a few scoopfuls of cooked pork, a few dollops of tzatziki sauce, a spoonful of chopped onion and a handful of chopped lettuce.

Souvlaki pita

Roll it all up nicely in the wax paper.
 
 
Put all the elements together and you have yourself a lovely Greek meal!
 
OPA!!
 
 

Greek meal

Mini meat loaf with broccoli pesto pasta

I like the thought of broccoli pesto.  Good way to hide vegetables!  I’m all about that!

Pretty much make it like any other pesto only instead replacing the basil or “green item” with broccoli.

Here’s what I had and whizzed it up in the food processor:

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • florets of one small broccoli head
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 goat cheese ( you could also use parmesan)

Mix well till it is almost a paste and then transfer to a sauce pan and heat.

Broccoli pesto

Meanwhile make the pasta of your choice.  And when it is cooked to your desired tenderness, drain and toss it in the “pesto sauce”.

But before you do any of this, assuming you want the whole meal deal, you will need to get your meat loaf in the oven!

I just got this great “mini loaf” pan.  It makes very cute items.

Make up a batch of your favorite meat loaf recipe and instead of putting it in one big loaf pan, fill up one of these and it make nice little personal loafs.

One tip I have for the meat loaf here.  I had some left over “chili con carne” from the other night so I tossed it in the mix.  That was great because it replaced where you might put….say….ketchup or whatever like that.  Kept them moist, added great flavour and the beans added fibre.

I was pleased how it turned out.

Mini meatloaf

Once the loaves are cooked and the pasta and pesto are heated through, you are ready to serve.  Very easy meal and you have your protein, starch and vegetables in a jiffy!

Mini meat loaf with broccoli pesto pasta

Mediterranean style club sandwich

Here’s the recipe for the Mediterranean style club the Chef made for our movie night in the park picnic.

You will need:  amounts will vary depending on how many people you are feeding.  And please feel free to add, subtract or substitute according to taste and availability.  This is just a guideline, but I must warn you, it was delicious!!

  • a large baguette or other crusty bread
  • marinated chicken breast
  • smoked cheddar
  • bacon
  • onion
  • tomato
  • avocado
  • blue cheese/goat cheese/sun-dried tomato/mayo
  • olives

Start by marinading your chicken breasts in a marinade of:

  • chopped fresh garlic
  • chopped fresh basil
  • chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • olive oil

Meanwhile make up your “bacon jam”.  Bacon is always delicious but sometimes it is unmanageable when it is crispy and often falls out of the sandwich!  So if you make it into a nice spreadable “jam” it will solve the problem.   You’ll need:

  • a good size onion, sliced
  • a few strips of bacon

Grill up the bacon until nice and crispy, remove and let cool.   Add the onions to the same pan with and cook until brown in colour and soft and squishy.

Bacon jam

Chop the bacon into fine bits and mix it in with the carmelized onions until you have a nice paste or “jam”.

Once that is cooling, make up your “mayo” by combining some blue cheese, goat cheese, sun-dried tomato, a bit of fresh basil and a little mayo.  Cream these together till you have a nice thick spread.  Now if you don’t happen to have these kicking around like we always seem to have, then straight mayo will work fine.

blue and goat cheese mayo

Then grill off your chicken in the same pan as the bacon and onions were in to add extra flavour.

Marinaded chicken

Then slice up the extras and you are almost ready to assemble.

Sandwich fixins

Slice your baguette or crusty bread into three, length wise and toast in the oven.  If you want to be really decadent, you can brush a little of the left over bacon fat on the bread before toasting.

Grilled baguette

Now it’s time to assemble.

Start, as many good sandwiches begin, with the first layer of bread on the bottom!

First goes the bacon jam.  Spread a nice thin layer on the bottom slices.  Then a layer of fresh sliced tomatoes, then a layer of smoked cheddar, then chicken.

As soon as the chicken is cooled enough to touch, slice up the breasts to go into your sandwich.

Then we are ready for the middle layer of bread, top that with the cheesy mayo concoction. Then another layer of thinly sliced chicken breast, followed by another layer of smoked cheddar and then topped with creamy avocado.

Layer ingredients on bread

Spread another thin layer of the bacon jam on the top slice of bread and add it to the stack.

We secured it with tooth picks with olives on top but when the Chef makes them at the restaurant he uses fresh sprigs of rosemary to hold them down and add extra flavour!

Mediterranean style club sandwich

So if you were super hungry you COULD eat this whole thing yourself  BUT I think it is much too good not to share!

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A Day on Salt Spring Island Part I

There are plenty of islands round these parts, in fact, we live on an island ourselves!  That’s why sometimes it’s nice to go and visit some of the others.

Heading out to Salt Spring Island

It’s about a 35 minute ferry ride from our island to theirs.  And a pleasant one it is.   

View of Mount Baker off in the distance

There are lots of things to see and do on Salt Spring  ( click here to check it out ) but we were particularly interested in checking out the Saturday downtown market with its promise of nice things to see and eat!

So we arrived on the island and headed downtown.

Going down town Salt Spring Island

We decided to check out the market first because it finishes at 2:00 or maybe 3:00.

Bunches of GarlicSomething for everyone

Famous Salt Spring Goat Cheese

Needless to say, after looking at all this food we were getting starving so it was time to pop into a dockside cafe for a bite to eat.

A dock side cafe

Girls on a dock

The Chef and I ordered a couple of sandwiches.

Smoke Turkey, Provolone, pesto and veg on Ciabatta with coleslaw

The Chef got the smoked turkey and I got Chicken Salad.

Chicken salad with pumpkin seeds, craisins on a croissant with potato salad

My sandwich was very tasty but the potato salad was very dull I’m afraid.  Which reminds me that I have a nice recipe for potato salad that I must share with you some time.

After lunch we walked around town a little more.

 

 

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Quick supper suggestion

Have you ever made baked goat cheese?  It’s really quite easy. 

I’m sure there are a lot of things you could do with it once it is baked, but my favorite is to put it on top of a salad and it makes a nice light supper.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • Rounds or squares of goat cheese.  The size depending on what you are going to do with it.
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • shaved almonds lightly chopped

Ready your baking sheet with some parchment paper (never cook without it!) and set the oven to 350 degrees

With your egg in one dish and your almonds in another:

sliced almonds and beaten egg

Start by putting a piece of goat cheese into the egg and making sure it is well covered on all sides.  Then transfer to the nuts and do the same thing, making sure the nuts stick to all the edges, then place on your tray.  Repeat.

Almond covered goat cheese

Pop them in the oven and let bake for about 7 minutes.  But keep a close eye because if they get over done they will just become pools of goat cheese and no one needs that.   You know they are done when the almonds get slightly toasted and they cheese takes on a marshmallow type appearance.

Baked goat cheese

Let them cool for a minute or two so they will keep their shape and then pop them on top of your favorite salad and you’re in business!

Salad topped with baked goat cheese

 What would you do with your baked goat cheese?

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