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Archive for September 25, 2010

TIP OF THE DAY: Oil & Vinegar Triage

You can save money by keeping different grades of oil and vinegar for different purposes.

For example, basic balsamic vinegar is slightly acidic and best used for salad dressings.

The next grade up is significantly smoother, and should be used for finishing and for marinades.

Trade up one more step and the balsamic has a well rounded, full-bodied flavor, ideal to make warm sauces over meats and fish.

The top grade, made from the the best reserves, should itself be reserved to glorify a simple dessert like fresh fruit and ice cream, or a wedge of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Follow the same steps with olive oil: regular for cooking, extra-virgin for dressing salads and garnishing other foods.

Know when to save and when to
splurge. Photo by Andi Pantz | IST.

 

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PRODUCT: Goat Cheese

An easy-to-make goat cheese-apricot
canapé. Photo courtesy Vermont Butter &
Cheese Creamery.

We hear quite a few people say that they don’t like goat cheese. While taste is a very personal thing, goat cheese is our favorite.

If you think you don’t like goat cheese, try one of the fresh chèvre, the French word for goat cheese (pronounced SHEVr with a guttural R at the end). It’s like soft cream cheese with a tang. The stronger flavors develop as a goat cheese is aged.

Goat cheese adds a touch of sophistication to whatever it graces. Here are just a few things you can do with a log of goat cheese:

  • As a canapé or tea-time treat, make apricot “sandwiches,” filling two dried apricot halves with goat cheese. You can also stuff dates with goat cheese, and garnish both recipes with chopped pistachios or walnuts.
  • Toss crumbled goat cheese on pasta and pizza.
  • Add it to salads, either crumbled or as a sliced disk (circle) with baby lettuces and a large crouton (made from a sliced and toasted baguette).
  • One of our favorite salad recipes: goat cheese, beets and mesclun, garnished with toasted walnuts and dressed with a walnut oil vinaigrette.
  • Serve it as a cheese course: a disk on a plate with fresh or dried fruit slices, nuts and a garnish of small greens (such as baby arugula and watercress). No bread or crackers are needed, but you can serve them.
  • Spread it on a bagel, top a burger, make a goat cheese BLT—the options are many.

 

To bake goat cheese disks for a warm goat cheese salad:
1. Cut a log into inch-thick disks and place in a shallow container in one layer.
2. Sprinkle with chopped thyme, rosemary or other favorite fresh herbs and add extra-virgin olive oil to marinate.
3. Cover and chill 12 hours or overnight.
4. Before baking, pop into the freezer for 1 hour.
5. Remove disks from marinade and roll completely in panko, Japanese breadcrumbs. Press gently so the crumbs adhere.
6. Place on a large baking sheet and bake in a 400° oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Flip halfway through.
7. To make croutons, add baguette slices to oven for the last 5 minutes of baking.

If you’re feeling more ambitious we highly recommend goat cheese tarts as a first course, and goat cheese ravioli.

 

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