Monday, April 19, 2010

On Goat Cheese...

Dear Tricia, Goat cheese might be my favorite out of all the cheeses...behind brie of course. Do you have any suggestions on ways to use it besides crumbling it on a salad?

Hell yes I do! I f-ing love goat cheese. And you're right... brie is superior, but that's another blog for another time. Lets talk goats.
For pasta: if you ever make a white cream sauce for pasta, or use one out of a packet (Hey, I don't judge), you can whisk in a handful of goat cheese into the sauce until it melts to give your sauce some extra oomph. So good. If you've never made a cream sauce from scratch, I found a simple one for "alfredo sauce" (its not really alfredo sauce but its still good) that cheats and uses cream cheese.

1/2 cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 teaspoons garlic powder
2 cups milk
6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring with wire whisk until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in goat cheese and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly, thin with milk if cooked too long. Toss with hot pasta to serve.

You can also cook chicken breasts with goat cheese stuffed in the middle of them. All you have to do is take a seasoned, raw, boneless chicken breast (with or without skin. That depends on your own preference.), lay it flat, and cut a little pocket into the side of it. Try to keep one side open and one side closed. Take your goat cheese and stuff it into the middle of the chicken. Cook your chicken in a skillet on both sides for about 3 minutes and then finish it off in a 400 degree oven until its fully cooked- about 5-8 minutes. When you cut into the chicken, there will be ooey gooey melty goat cheese and its completely awesome.

For dessert: take your favorite cheesecake recipe and substitute half of the cream cheese for goat cheese. I know, this might seem weird but, trust me, its better than the first time you heard the New Kids on the Block sing "Please Don't Go Girl" in 1988. (Oh, that Joey McIntyre. His voice gets me every time.) When its finished and cool, drizzle it with honey and serve with some fruit. So freaking good.

For cocktail party hors d'oevres: take a package of goat cheese and mix it with a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of honey. With the palms of your hands, roll the mixture in little balls and then roll them in chopped pecans. Chill and serve. Oooh la la.

Inversely, you can make savory version of those delectable little goat cheese balls (I hope you can come up with a more appetizing name, though. Let me know.) using black pepper, minced fresh chives, and any other yummy herbs. These are really versatile and you can use whatever you think sounds good at the time. Be careful with roasted red peppers though... if you mix everything up too much it turns pink. Which could actually be fitting if you're having a valentines day party (blech) or a baby shower for a baby girl (double blech.)

If you're reading this post and you hate goat cheese, I understand. It took me some time to like it too, but I have some advice for newbies: don't buy any goat cheese that says "aged" on the label. Look for words like "un-ripened," "fresh," and "young." These are the goat cheeses that taste more mellow and are easier to eat if you're new at it. But have some balls and give it a go sometime... It won't kill you. And when you love it, you can come back here and I'll say I told you so.