Sauteed Greens, Olives, Currants, and Goat Cheese

In a large skillet, heat

1 tablespoon olive oil, add

1 large onion, minced (optional) When translucent, add

1 lb greens (chard, kale, collards) heavy stems removed, washed and chopped. Sauté until tender, but still bright green. Blend in:

¼ to ½ cup chopped, pitted olives. Any pungent olive will do

¼ cup currants

salt and pepper to taste. Then top with

½ cup crumbled goat cheese. Continue to cook until cheese melts.

Toasted nuts (pretty much anything but peanuts) make a nice topping for this dish.

Creamy Polenta

Polenta

This is another variable dish, like Quiche or pasta. Goat cheese added during the cooking process adds a creamy, tangy flavor. Polenta can be eaten plain, or works well with strong flavors. Try:

Your favorite hearty meat sauce,

sautéed mushrooms and herbs,

roasted red peppers, broiled tomatoes and goat or blue cheese,

rosemary infused butter with sautéed onions and greens,

Browned sausage and beans,

or a mixture of artichoke hearts and pitted, chopped olives.

Basic Polenta: Bring 4 or 4 ½ cups salted water or broth to a boil, (depending on whether you want soft, spoon-able polenta or a stiffer, cut-able variety. )

add 1 Tablespoon butter, then gradually stir in with a whisk

1 cup polenta. Continue to stir on high heat for five minutes. Reduce heat and continue to whisk periodically for 15 minutes until polenta is creamy.

Whisk in ¼ lb soft goat cheese. Until blended and melted. You may also choose to add ground sage or rosemary.

Remove polenta from heat. For spoon-able polenta, spoon into bowls and add toppings if you wish. For cut-able polenta, spread polenta on a wet baking sheet and let stand. You can brush polenta with butter, add toppings if you wish and bake or broil it briefly before serving.

Pizza and Calzone

Pizza

Use your choice of pre-made flatbread or crust, or make your own.

Easy Crust: You can also make this into rounds and stuff with goat cheese and other fillings and bake as calzones.

Dissolve:

½ packet 1 ½ Tablespoons active dry yeast in

1 cup warm water (warm, not hot to your wrist, 95 to 105)

a pinch of brown sugar

Let stand until yeast bubbles, then blend in:

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons salt. Gradually blend in2 to 3 cups of flour, unbleached white, or a combination of whole wheat and white will work well. Form into a soft dough, knead until dough is springy and not sticky.

Place dough in an oiled bowl to rise for 1 hour. Spread out onto pizza pan and go ahead with toppings.

Sauce: Tomato sauce or Pesto

Toppings: See Quiche ideas, or go for your favorite pizza combinations.

Dot liberally with Goat Cheese

Bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes until cheese bubbles and crust is browned.

Breaded chicken stuffed with chèvre

Here’s a method which combines breading, frying and baking.

2 chicken breasts, cut in half for 4 servings. Slit the ½ breasts along the thin, long edge and cut nearly through. Divide ¼ cup goat cheese spread among the 4 servings, inserting into the slit and pinching the opening to seal.

Holding the stuffed opening closed, dip chicken breasts in

1 beaten egg white, then

½ cup bread crumbs and fry in

2 Tablespoons olive oil over high heat, one side only. When browned, remove from pan and place browned side up on a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake until no longer pink, 20 to 30 minutes.

Quiche and Baked Goods

Quiches and other baked items.

Quiche basics

Crust combine

1 cup flour

¼ teaspoon salt, using pastry blender or food processor cut in

½ stick butter. When mixture resembles coarse meal, add

2 Tablespoons ice water to form dough.

Roll out on lightly floured surface until edges come out an inch or two from an inverted pie pan. Roll up crust on rolling pin and unroll into pan, draping edges over sides.

Custard

2 cups milk (Why not goat’s milk??)

3 to 5 eggs (This is pretty flexible)

1/3 lb cheese

Any goat cheese is great, but keep in mind it does not seal as well as a harder, melting cheese would. Either brush the crust with butter and chill it before adding cheese and goodies, or mix goat cheese with some other cheese such as Monterrey Jack, or Swiss (I think that cheddar is too strong a flavor to go with goat).

Other fillings: You will want enough filling to thoroughly cover the cheese and to give a good flavor burst. With goat cheese, try either alone, or in combination (reduce quantities accordingly):

2 cans chopped, drained, mild green chilies

1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

8 to ten asparagus stalks, washed, steamed and chopped

1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and sautéed briefly with a clove of garlic

a cup or so of fiddleheads, washed, trimmed and steamed.

½ lb mushrooms, trimmed, sliced and sautéed with garlic and tarragon

Nice accents to all of the above:

1 large red onion, sliced and sauteed

a couple strips of crisp bacon

some diced ham

one or two diced, roasted red peppers

a handful of pitted olives

Goat Cheese and Sweet Onion Tarts

Crust:

Blend ½ teaspoon salt in

2 cups flour. Cut in

1 ¼ sticks butter, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Then quickly stir in

2 to 4 Tablespoons ice water to form dough. Don’t over-blend

divide dough in half, form each half into a rectangle, wrap rectangles in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour. (can be kept for up to 1 week.)

While crust chills, heat over medium heat

2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add

3 large, sweet onions, sliced thinly and salt to taste. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Then remove pan lid and continue to cook until onions are golden and moisture is pretty much gone.

Preheat oven to 375.

Roll out tart shells to fit two 9 in round tart pans or 2 13×4 tart pans with removeable rims. Line shells with foil and weight with either pie weights, rice or dried beans. Bake 10 minutes, carefully remove foil and pie weights, bake shells for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven.

While tart shells are baking, beat together

10 oz soft, mild goat cheese

1 stick butter, melted

¾ cup sour cream.

When well blended, beat in 3 large eggs and salt and pepper to taste.

Line baked tart shells with onions, pour custard over the onions and sprinkle the tops of the tarts with

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced.

Bake 20 minutes until tarts are puffy and golden. Remove from oven and cool. (Tarts will deflate some). Remove rims and serve.

Pasta

Pasta

Simple Pasta Sauce for ¾ lb pasta.

Blend the following ingredients in a bowl and spoon over hot pasta. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water for the sauce.

½ lb goat cheese crumbled or grated

1/3 cup grated parmesan

1/3 cup milk

1 cup hot pasta cooking water

Top with sautéed mushrooms, steamed vegetables, eggplants and/or cooked, crumbled sausage.

Mexican Dishes

Mexican ideas.

Fill enchiladas, burritos or tacos with any of the following combinations.

(quantities will fill about 12 enchiladas or tacos, 6 burritos) any soft goat cheese, cut in chunks, or crumbled, will do.

Filling 1

1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped

1 small can chopped roasted green chilies, drained

1 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and sautéed with

1 clove minced garlic,

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Filling 2

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups cooked winter squash,

1 onion, minced and sautéed

1 or 2 Chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped

1 cup crumbled goat cheese.

Filling 3

2 lb potatoes, peeled, diced, boiled 5 minutes and drained, sautéed with:

2 diced zucchini

2 cloves minced garlic

1 red pepper, diced,

1 teaspoon fresh, minced oregano. When vegetables are tender, add

1 cup frozen corn

1 cup crumbled goat cheese.

Frittata

This egg dish is a great vehicle for all kinds of “fillings” left over pasta, sautéed vegetables, meat, fish, and of course, goat cheese.  Here’s the basic formula with some filling suggestions. You will need a heavy, over proof non-stick frying pan, since you start on the stove top with a sauté, then move to the broiler to puff up the goat cheese and eggs.

Move oven rack to top 1/3 of oven and preheat broiler

On the stove top, over medium heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in non-stick/oven proof frying pan, turning to coat.

Sauté about a cup and a half total of any of the following fillings, in order of cooking time

Bacon or sausage until cooked through

Your choice of diced vegetables: Onions, Mushrooms, asparagus Broccoli, Peppers, Scallions, until tender

Chopped, cooked pasta (great use for leftovers,) to warm

Left over cooked meat or fish to warm.

Pour in

8 eggs beaten with

salt, pepper and your choice of herbs,

Gently lift the edges of the frittata to allow uncooked egg to reach the pan surface. When the bottom of the frittata is golden brown, remove the pan from heat, dot with

½ cup crumbled or grated goat cheese

Place pan under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until puffy and golden.

Let stand for a few minutes before serving.

Can be refrigerated and eaten cold.

Risotto

This slow-cooked Italian rice dish makes a hearty main meal. It does require attention, but the creamy result is well worth it. Arborio Rice can be found at most specialty food stores, co ops (in the bulk section) or even large, well stocked supermarkets. Don’t substitute. Arborio rice absorbs more water than regular rice.

A variety of goat cheeses can be added at the end of the cooking process.

The rice:

Melt

3 Tablespoons olive oil in a heavy 4 quart sauce pan

Add one small onion minced, a clove or two of minced garlic, stir until butter is aromatic, Then add 2 cups Arborio rice. Stir to coat the rice with oil, then begin adding liquid. A half a cup at a time, stirring until the liquid is absorbed before adding more. Ultimately you’ll want about 6 cups broth

When rice becomes tender, but is still absorbing liquid, add

½ cup white wine,

2 oz crumbled goat cheese

2 Tablespoons butter

Stir for an additional 10 minutes or so to blend flavors and finish the cooking process.

The entire cooking process takes about 30 minutes. At various points in the process, you can add other flavors to the pot. Such as:

1 cup porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes (use the soaking water, strained, as part of your broth) Add the porcinis between the onions and the rice.

During the last ten minutes of cooking, try a couple coups of any of the following ingredients, or combinations thereof:

Cooked winter squash

Diced aspargus

Diced ham or bacon

Fresh or frozen green peas

Diced smoked salmon

In Sandwiches

Put your favorite sandwich ingredients on panini, halved French bread, a Kaiser roll or good sliced artisan bread. Dot the top with your goat cheese of choice and pop under the broiler for 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted, or just eat it at room temperature.

Topping suggestions:

Fresh tomatoes, grilled Portobello Mushrooms, smoked fish, pitted olives, sun dried tomatoes, capers, your choice of luncheon meats, bacon, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and/or sweet red onions. After the sandwich is heated, top with fresh herbs, avocado, fresh spinach or mescelen mix and have a yummy lunch.