Fair warning: set out a tray of these jewel-like apricot, goat cheese, and almond morsels at your next party, and they'll likely be gobbled up in a matter of minutes. (They're that good.) What your guests won't know is how easy they are to assemble — it's feasible to put together a second batch in a matter of mere minutes to reinforce supplies. Try them for yourself, and you'll understand their appeal.
Earlier this Summer, I asked Laura Werlin, a cheese expert, to share her tips on making a Summer-appropriate macaroni and cheese. She answered, "I have a whole chapter [in Mac & Cheese, Please!] called 'Lighten Up, Cool Down,' and those recipes are all intended to be a little easier to make and a little lighter in spirit and in substance. I really like the goat cheese, mozzarella, basil, and tomato mac and cheese. It's basically a play on the caprese salad. It's just so light, summery, easy to make, and really satisfying."
Lucky for us, she sent over the recipe so we could test it, and it's no exaggeration when I say this is one recipe I plan to make again and again. The dish is like nostalgia and vacation stirred together. First, the gooey mac and cheese brings you back to the staple dinner you enjoyed as a kid, and second, the fresh tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella will make you feel like you're dining at a piazza in Italy.
Figs are one of my favorite late Summer/early Fall fruits. Thus, after making bacon-wrapped dates, I looked for a similar recipe that used fresh figs. To my delight, I came across this recipe that combines figs, goat cheese, and prosciutto.
Inspired by the recipe but wanting to keep it simple, I came up with my take on the appetizer. Rather than heat up the house, I decided to throw these tasty little bites on the barbecue.
Although any variety of fig will work, I used Calimyrna and found that the easiest way to remove the flesh is with a melon baller. This delicious appetizer is perfect for a party because it can be prepped ahead of time and only requires a few minutes on the grill, so you won't miss any of the fun. With the salty prosciutto, sweet fig, and tangy goat cheese center, these nibbles are full of flavor and texture, and are sure to impress your guests.
Have you ever obsessed over the perfect menu only to realize you have forgotten one crucial item: the appetizer? If you don't want to serve something difficult to make and don't have time to research inspiring hors d'oeuvres ideas, then try this baked goat cheese.
Quite possibly the world's simplest dish, baked goat cheese is just that, cheese that's cooked in an oven-safe dish. Serve it with fresh baguette, crostini, or your favorite crackers. To get the recipe (it's kind of silly calling it a recipe — it's that easy), keep reading.
If you're going to go through the trouble of making homemade pasta dough, you may as well make it worth your while. Rather than drown tender noodles in sauce, why not take a more minimalist route, like in this lightly dressed dish of goat cheese ravioli?
Enhanced by little else than a confetti-like burst of crushed pink peppercorns, lemon zest, and tarragon, the delicate but toothsome pasta and its tangy filling shine. As a sneaky bonus, this minimalist sauce of sorts takes mere moments to whip up, a boon given the initial effort expended rolling out the homemade pasta dough.
More time-consuming than difficult to prepare, it would make for a rewarding weekend project. (If you have the time, make a double batch of the pasta, and freeze the extra filled ravioli for a speedy dinner down the line. Add the frozen pasta directly to boiling water, without thawing.) Trust me here, it's absolutely worth the effort.
This recipe requires only a few ingredients, takes five minutes to put together, and cooks up in about about 40 minutes. It's the definition of a fast and easy meal, and also incredibly satisfying and comforting without being heavy.
Chicken breasts with the bone in and skin on are actually cheaper than boneless, skinless breasts at the grocery store (there was a $2 difference at the store!), and this recipe actually requires the skin to hold in the goat cheese and basil. The result is a moist, tender piece of meat, packed with flavor. Even if you're not the biggest fan of goat cheese on its own, know that once it's been cooked with the basil and chicken, it takes on a whole new flavor.
For this super simple recipe, keep reading!
Come Sunday morning, you'll find me with toes tapping, eagerly anticipating my weekly stroll to my neighborhood farmers market. Part of the excitement, especially this time of year, comes from not knowing exactly what new treats I'll find as we hit peak harvest season. That being said, I'll be sad to see some Spring favorites vanish till next year. Like a chipmunk before Winter, I gorge myself on those treats, trying to get my fill before they're gone.
Many a meal over the past couple of months involved slender and snappy stalks of asparagus, what some might consider the quintessential Spring vegetable. I've eaten it every which way: blanched, roasted, grilled, and even larded with prosciutto (wow). This is not to say that I've grown sick of it: I've just satisfied my need to consume it in more elemental preparations, and at this time of year, I find myself turning to one of my favorite kitchen tricks. A few swipes of a vegetable peeler, and I'm left with a pile of willowy asparagus ribbons, fit to be tossed into a salad or (my favorite) atop a pizza.
The beginning of March is a funny fruit season. Despite living in Northern California, where produce is typically bountiful, the fruit section seems pretty dismal lately, save for the large triangular stacks of citrus fruit. Here's a fruit salad to satiate you until Spring officially begins and brings in apricots and fragrant strawberries.
Your taste buds will delight in the textural roller coaster: first, you'll crunch into the pomegranate seeds and pistachios, which pave the way for velvety goat cheese, and finally burst into the juicy pockets of the citrus fruit and kiwi. This sweet-sour salad is like nature's most succulent bowl of SweeTarts.
As much as I love eating seasonally, it can be a hair uninspiring this time of year when the pickings are slim to say the least. Still, a girl's got to eat, and I prefer to do it well. I love this satiating but light soup that relies on a cold-weather market staple: the humble beet. Velvety smooth and perked up by the addition of tangy chèvre, it's not only delicious, but also practical. I like to make a big batch and reap the rewards throughout the week for an easy-to-reheat lunch or dinner.
A quick note: while this soup's vibrant color may lead you to think this is simply borscht by another name, don't let your eyes fool you. The main ingredient may be the same, but it's actually its own creature of sorts. Borscht tends to be served chilled, is quite a bit heartier, and has a decidedly different (and, judging by the host of recipes out there, varied) flavor profile.
Beet fanatic or newbie, let me urge you to read on.
6 medium to large beets, scrubbed clean and trimmed of stems
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
1 head unpeeled garlic
2 large leeks, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
4-5 teaspoons sherry vinegar
6 ounces chèvre (fresh goat cheese), crumbled
I love the tanginess of chèvre, or goat cheese (I'm partial to Laura Chenel — it's a classic for a reason) with this earthy soup, but if you're catering to a vegan crowd, feel free to omit the cheese and instead finish with a drizzle of good quality olive oil. If you don't keep sherry vinegar on hand, try subbing in cider vinegar or freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Drizzle beets with 3 tablespoons canola oil and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place the foil packet on a baking sheet and roast til beets are fork-tender, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, slice the stem end off of the head of garlic and drizzle the exposed cloves with oil. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast for 40 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown.
- Carefully unwrap the beets and garlic, and allow them to cool to the touch. Rub the beet skins off and quarter (with larger beets cut into eighths). Squeeze the cloves of garlic out from the head, and set aside.
- Heat remaining 3 tablespoons canola oil in a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add leeks, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8-10 minutes. Add beets, garlic, thyme (or herbes de Provence), bay leaves, and vegetable stock, plus an additional 2 cups water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes
- Discard bay leaves, and blend til smooth either using an immersion blender (my preference) or by carefully transferring to a blender in batches.
- Add olive oil, and season to taste with salt (I generally start with 1/2 teaspoon and go from there, tasting frequently) and vinegar.
- Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper; garnish with goat cheese (about an ounce per serving).
- Soups/Stews, Cream