This week’s featured ingredient was chosen by Nancy of A Winelover’s Wanderings. Nancy just returned from a wonderful trip to northern Italy and she posted some terrific photos of all the yummy food and fine wine that she and her husband had while in the region of Piemonte. Welcome home, Nancy! ;)
I love soft goat cheese and have made it many times; it’s been a while, and I thought of preparing my own for this recipe. However, last weekend my daughter and I visited a fine goat creamery, Fossil Creek Creamery, so we stocked up on their goat cheese. We bought a good assortment of creamy cheeses with various herbs, a goat cheese havarti and a very special one, goat cheese with pear and anise. I used this last one for one of the recipes. They also make a delectable fudge which I regret not buying this time.
With such great cheeses to work with, I think I got a little carried away with this week’s theme since I ended up doing three different small bites. Lately my daughter has been joining me on Small Bite day and we thought of making enough appetizers to make it a meal.
Our first recipe was a cheese fondue we made with a goat cheddar I bought at Whole Foods. I have never made a fondue but my daughter has so I let her take the lead and do all the work.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 pound button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (thyme, parsley, sage)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups hard goat cheese like Redwood Hills Sharp Goat Milk Cheddar or Smoked Goat
In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, herbs, salt and pepper. Cook about 8 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Set aside.
In a stainless steel pan, combine wine and cornstarch and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat. Add cheese and stir until smooth.
Remove from heat and add mushroom mixture, stirring until well incorporated. Serve in a fondue pot accompanied by cut-up vegetables or fruit, grilled eggplant slices, or day-old bread, cut in cubes.
The second recipe was grilled asparagus wrapped in ham and goat cheese. I did a couple of substitutions to the ingredients: I used prosciutto instead of ham and the cheese I used was the pear with anise goat cheese that I bought at the creamery, to which I added the herbs. I looked for dicon sprouts and couldn’t find them at TJoe’s or Whole Foods.
18-20 pcs fresh asparagus
12 ea slices of truffle infused ham
5 oz Belle Chevre goat cheese
¼ tsp chopped tarragon
¼ tsp chopped basil
¼ tsp sliced chives
¼ tsp chopped thyme
3 oz finely sliced piquillo peppers
1.5 oz dicon sprouts
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs white balsamic vinegar
sea salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
Trim and wash the asparagus, removing all excess water.
Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper, granulated garlic, and white balsamic vinegar. Let the asparagus marinate for about 30 minutes before grilling.
Wipe the grill clean with an oiled cloth and grill the asparagus on all sides and set aside.
Finely chop the fresh herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, chives, and tarragon). Place the goat cheese in a bowl and let it come to room temperature. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, work the goat cheese until smooth and spreadable. Add the fresh herbs and a little fresh ground pepper to taste.
Place the thinly sliced ham onto a parchment or plastic wrap and spread a thin layer of the herbed goat cheese. Top with the grilled asparagus, thin sliced piquillo peppers, and dicon sprouts. Wrap the ham tightly around the asparagus and chill before slicing them into the desired portion size.
The third appetizer was made with the leftover ingredients from the asparagus small bite. I had left over cheese, some small pieces of prosciutto and a few tips of piquillo peppers. I stuffed the delicious peppers with some tiny pieces of prosciutto and topped it with goat cheese. These were very easy to assemble and really tasty. They were a great one-bite appetizer!