Goat cheese recipes inspired by Grace Harbor Farm
Summer entertaining can sometimes be a mad scramble for the newest recipes and the trendiest and freshest ingredients, almost like trying to find the perfect ensemble to wear to your next function ... sparkly pink sandals anyone? The idea of “one upping” your friends last get together is absolutely in the back of your mind, you know what I’m referring to; think of that super fantastic barbecue you just went to where the food was so good you swore it was catered.
Beyond secretly bagging some of that amazing layered salad and having it analyzed for it’s ingredients, just dare me to come up with a doozey of a recipe to top it, thus a friendly challenge begins that always seems to have delicious results.
Being that I’m very seldom afraid to try something new I figure what better subjects to test my recipes and new ideas on then my close friends. As we go back and forth with invites and battles in the kitchen we are constantly gathering culinary advice, tips and recipes from one another, much like my mother used to do as I’ve mentioned before. My guests are used to me pulling a random recipe out of my back pocket and are always prepared for something very creative and unusual on my menu! Hopefully my friends will be as honest with me about what I serve them as they are about my outfits, which are usually just as interesting. Regardless the end result is what matters, good food, good friends and we are always happy to surround one another in joyous company.
So for your next “friendly food challenge” with your neighbor or your friend in preparation for that block party or summer picnic, I have two fantastic recipes that can accompany a variety of cuisines.
Anytime Marinated Feta
8 oz container goats milk feta
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp fresh rosemary
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp lemon rind
1/2 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 tsp fresh oregano
1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of pepper
(I suggest digging out a 1-quart mason jar with a new never been used lid.)
1. Crumble feta in to chunks and place in jar and set aside.
2. In a bowl combine oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. (I would zest the lemon first before squeezing if you can).
3. Finely chop all the herbs and spices adding to the oil mixture and give it a whisk.
4. Pour over feta into jar, using a spoon to carefully lift and help the oil mixture pour down into bottom of the jar as best you can.
5. Tighten the ring of the jar making a nice seal (you could use a storage container as long as you have a tight seal).
6. Refrigerate for about 6 hours turning and rotating jar upside-down a few times.
7. Serve with crostini or nice rye crackers, using a spreader. You can also dip the bread into the flavored oil. Is good for up to one week, but I’m sure it won’t last that long.
All Dressed Up Wilted
10-12 oz spinach
4 oz white mushrooms sliced
4 -5 slices center cut bacon
cooked and crumbled
4 oz plain chevre cheese
½ cup Olive Oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1 shallot finely chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1. Layer the salad with the spinach first then the mushrooms and the bacon.
2. Pinch nickel size pieces of the chevre and place on top of the bacon as the last layer and set aside
3. Finely chop the shallot and mince the garlic.
4. Combine with oil and lemon juice in a microwave safe measuring cup (I use my trusty old Pyrex for easy pouring) heat for approximately 1 minute, of course be careful when removing from microwave – it’s hot oil.
2. Shallots and garlic should start to look a little bit translucent. By heating the garlic and the shallots you mellow out their spiciness and end up with condensed flavor.
3. Pour the dressing while still warm over the spinach salad and then toss to coat.
4. The star ingredient for both recipes I have featured is goat’s milk cheese and I must make mention of the wonderful little goat farm right in the area, Grace Harbor Farms. They make wonderful artisan goat milk cheeses, yogurts and of course milk, as well as a variety of health and beauty products. When I stopped into the farm store located in Custer, I was happily greeted by Grace herself, (the farm’s namesake) who offered me samples of her feta cheese and a variety of both plain and flavored chevre cheeses.
I had a cheese moment – an epiphany. I closed my eyes in disbelief as the cheese first hit my pallet, the flavor was so fresh and bright, I savored every morsel. I am a self proclaimed cheese fanatic, a spread guru of sorts, but nothing could prepare me for how superior these tasted. I may not be a professional chef or a certified food critic but I can tell you this: I will be using her products in my dishes whenever I have the chance. If you venture to try these recipes, than I suggest you stop by her farm for some of the best goats milk cheese you’ve ever had.
Grace Harbor Farms
2347 Birch Bay Lynden Road
Custer, WA 98240
Open weekdays 1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday 10 to 5:30 p.m.