Aug 7, 2012

Cheeses of the World - Part III
Goat Cheese

As I mentioned in the first post of this series, covering the history of cheese, cheese can be made from pretty much any kind of milk, and one of the more popular milks to make cheese out of is goat's milk.

Goat's milk is naturally higher than cow's milk in vitamins such as A, B2 (riboflavin), and B3 (niacin). It's also easier for people who are lactose intolerant to digest because it's more similar in protein structure to human milk than cow's milk is. Goat cheese has twice the protein, one-third fewer calories, and half the fat and cholesterol of cream cheese. It's also a good source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese.

Goat cheese has been around much longer than cheese made from cow's milk and was probably one of the earliest cheese ever made. Although it softens when exposed to heat, it does not melt in the same way that most cow cheeses do. A firm goat cheese with a rind can be baked in an oven to soften it to a spreadable consistency.

Soft goat cheese, often referred to as chèvre, is a light, mild flavoured cheese. It's usually formed into logs or disks and sometimes rolled in chopped nuts or herbs, or cracked peppercorns.

If you're looking for a firmer goat cheese, try Feta. It's firm but crumbles easily and has a tangy, salty, fresh taste. This non-melting goat cheese is either sold in a brick or in brine. It adds a distinctive flavour and texture to any meal. Mix it with pasta or add it to your favourite tossed salad. Use it in deserts or in an appetizer.

photo by Jon Sullivan

Goat cheese is incredibly easy to make. So easy, in fact, I'm going to give it a try sometime. Don't believe me? Check these out:

This recipe from My Country Blog is super simple and is illustrated.

This is another easy recipe from Guilty Kitchen. You might have to scroll down just a bit to get to the actual recipe.

And if you work better with someone showing you the way, here's a video I found with Henry Milker

If these simple recipes seem like too much work, or you're having trouble finding the goats milk, you can buy goat cheese from almost anywhere that sells cheese. And if you're in Canada, you can buy it online from Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan Inc.

Now, I promised my daughter (whose idea it was to do my post on goat cheese this week), that I would post recipes, but because this post is already running a little long, I'm only going to post the two yummiest. :-)

First there is Goat Cheese Stuffed Jalapenos Wrapped in Bacon, by Bill Brady, food photographer.

12 slices of thick-cut applewood smoked bacon (about 1 lb.)
12 jalapeno peppers
2/3 lb .creamy goat cheese
1/3 cup chopped chives

Procedure: Slowly cook bacon on a cool part of the grill turning over once until cooked through but still pliable. (Thinly sliced bacon and quick cooking will crisp the bacon.)
Cut jalapenos in half lengthwise.
Scoop out seeds and membranes.
Fill each half with goat cheese mounding it slightly.
Cut each piece of bacon in half.
Wrap one piece of cooked and cooled bacon around each pepper half and sprinkle with chives.
Place on a sheet of aluminum foil on a medium hot grill until the jalapeno is slightly charred.
Serve. Makes 24 stuffed peppers.

I encourage you to check out his original post. Posted on June 4, 2010 by Bill Brady Food Photographer. It contains some great information about peppers as well as a picture of what these yummy peppers should look like when they're done.

And next is Goat Cheddar Cheese Shortbread, from Ontario Goat Cheese.

1 cup (250 mL) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) finely grated Ontario goat cheddar
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) thyme leaves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne

Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In bowl, blend butter with goat cheese cheddar. Stir in flour, thyme and cayenne until well combined. Roll into tablespoonful balls. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Transfer to baking tray placing about 1-inch (2.5cm) apart. Flatten slightly with the bottom of a glass and prick with fork (garnish with thyme leaves if desired). Bake in preheated oven until shortbread cookies are set and bottoms are golden, about 20 minutes.

Makes about 36 cookies.

For the nutritional breakdown as well as variation suggestions, see the Original Post.

And just because I don't want a afternoon's worth of research going to waste, here are a few links to some other recipes I found:

Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Turkey Frittata .
Chevre Swirl Brownies
Goat Cheese Potato Salad
Gourmet Goat Cheese Poutine
Minted Garlic Chèvre Ravioli
Finger Lickin' Onion Dip
Spring Strawberry Salad With Chicken
Strawberry Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Pasta with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Phyllo Triangles with Goat Cheese and Red Onion
Fettuccine With Goat Cheese And Peppers

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