Guess what? You can freeze goat cheese. Who knew?
I had no idea. According to the internet, soft cheeses freeze quite well, actually. This opens up all kinds of ideas for different types of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses. This cheese is mild and delicious. Not overly “goaty” like a lot of aged goat or sheep’s milk cheese. Perfect on crackers, toasted baguette slices, on top of a baked potato, in your favorite salad, sprinkled over your favorite pasta dish…the options are endless. You can make it sweet with zest and agave nectar or savory with herbs and spices. I’ve used sweetened goat cheese with breakfast crepes and it was amazing. Get creative!
Goat’s Milk Cheese Logs
*Makes four 4-5 inch logs
1 Gallon Raw Goat or Sheep’s Milk
3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt + more for seasoning later
Juice of 10 Organic Lemons, about 1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
About 2 Tablespoons Organic Chives, chopped
About 2 Tablespoons Organic Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
About 1 1/2 Tablespoons Organic Thyme, chopped
About 2 teaspoons Chopped Garlic ( I used the organic garlic that comes in the jar)
I have a new obsession. Making my own goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheese! Once you try it, you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is.
I’ve read that it’s important to use raw milk because pasteurized milk doesn’t clot the same way. If you’re able, I would suggest trying to find a local organic farm where you can buy the raw milk. And then of course, use organic lemons and organic herbs. I buy organic and all natural whenever possible. It just makes sense to eat pure, clean, food as much as I can.
But as you probably already have experienced yourself…pure, locally grown food comes with a little sticker shock.
I paid $16.58 for 1 gallon of raw goat’s milk. One gallon of goat’s milk made into cheese gives you about 12 ounces of cheese. That’s about $1.38 per ounce. Expensive, but really no more than you pay in a grocery store. And the satisfaction of making it yourself and knowing exactly what is in it and where the ingredients come from…priceless!
So give it a try, you won’t be disappointed, I promise:
In a large dutch oven or stainless steel pot (do not use aluminum) add several inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes to sanitize. I carefully sloshed it up and around the sides. Drain, add the milk and salt, stir. Heat to 185-190 degrees stirring frequently. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scald on the bottom of the pan.
Meanwhile, line a large strainer with the cheesecloth. I used all of the cheesecloth in the small package I purchased. Just fold it over and make sure it drapes over the sides. Place the strainer over a deep bowl.
When the milk reaches 185-190 ish degrees, remove from heat.
Slowly stir in the lemon juice. It starts to curdle right away.
Add a pinch of parsley, chives, and thyme, reserving the rest for after the cheese has drained. Allow to rest for 25 minutes in the pan.
After it has rested, pour slowly into the cheesecloth. Allow to drain for about 30 minutes.
Do yourself a favor though…keep an eye on it and don’t go check your blog or your Facebook page while you’re waiting for it to drain. Because you’ll end up with this:
And more importantly this…
Carefully pull the sides of the cloth in and twist into a ball, carefully squeezing out some more of the liquid. Allow to rest and drain for another 25 minutes or so checking and draining the bowl every so often so that it is not sitting in its own liquid.
Remove the cheesecloth from the strainer and scrape the cheese off with a spoon into a bowl. Add the remaining herbs and garlic and stir to combine.
Taste and add a bit more kosher salt and a few grinds of good peppercorns.
On a clean working surface pull out a piece of plastic wrap and fold in half. Spoon goat cheese onto the middle of the plastic wrap in a small row.
Gently roll up one side of the plastic wrap and snuggle it over the log. Roll the log to the other end of the plastic wrap, twist the ends tight and tuck under.
Continue to do this with the remaining cheese or if you’re going to use it within a couple of days, you can also make it into one large log or any shape you like, really.
Once all of the cheese has been rolled, refrigerate for three hours. Remove from fridge, roll in one more layer of plastic wrap, cover in tin foil, enclose in a freezer bag and freeze up to one month.
We’ve had a few blustery, chilly, days in my neck of the woods. That usually automatically puts me into the comfort food zone. Yesterday I made a big pot of homemade soup with homemade bread. Today it’s braised beef with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic, mashed Yukon gold potatoes.
Hopefully soon the weather will be so sunny and warm that we’ll be craving big salads with fresh tomatoes, marinated and grilled things, and light, fruity, desserts. But for now, it’s warm and loving comfort food.
Braised Beef with Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 – 3.25 lb. Cross Rib Roast, cubed
1 Large Sweet Onion, sliced
About 10 Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes Packed in Oil, chopped
1 Bay leaf
6 0z. Tomato Paste
1 1/2 Cups Good Red Wine
4 Cups Gluten Free Beef Broth
1 Heaping Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 Heaping Tablespoon Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 Heaping Tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
Freshly Ground Pepper
Heat a dutch oven on medium-high, drizzle generously with olive oil. Brown cubed meat in small portions, removing to a dish or plate when finished. Reserving browned bits in the pan, drizzle a little more olive oil in the dutch oven and add the onions, mushrooms, and minced garlic. Cook until onions begin to caramelize and mushrooms begin to brown. Stir often so the garlic doesn’t cook too quickly or burn. Turn down heat if necessary.
Next, add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add sun-dried tomatoes,wine, beef broth, bay leaf, and herbs. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is fork tender. Taste and re-season if necessary. Serve over roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
What is it about “those” women and power trips?
You know exactly the type of woman I’m talking about. The type of woman that makes us look at our close girlfriends and say, “She’s one of those”. There’s usually one on every committee, the grumpy one, the one that is such a stickler for rules that it surpasses logic, the one who always talks first and has the last word, the one who doesn’t like anyone’s ideas but her own, the one who the entire world revolves around, the one in every church bible study that thinks it’s a personal counseling session, that one overly enthusiastic, volunteer at your child’s school who the school loves, but the other mothers all roll their eyes at because they know what she’s all about. Heaven forbid you give them a title of head volunteer, president of such and such, or leader, then you’re really in for it.
The problem though, is that they’re sneaky. They volunteer for things that others don’t want to do. The things we think to ourselves, “There’s no way I’m doing that, I’m too busy and I don’t want to take on that responsibility.” And then… we find ourselves stuck with a highly annoying know-it-all that succeeds in being the thorn in everyone’s side.
You know the one?
What is it that we are lacking as women, that some of us need to have this control and this hunger for attention? This need to irritate everyone around us, even if it causes us give the rest of the female population a bad name? How is it that some of us are so focused on what we are doing that we don’t even notice how our behavior and attitude affects the people around us?
How it alienates us from each other?
We all like to have control over our lives. But when that need for control takes over your personality and turns you into a self-serving, unpleasant person, it spreads like a dark cloud around everyone you’re with. Something that those personality types don’t seem to understand…most people don’t like people like that. Sad really. Because their behavior just further alienates them from the very people from whom they are seeking attention.
What do we do about that?
Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers, or even a few, but I can tell you what I did.
I woke up this morning. Did my morning routine and went straight to the kitchen and started baking. Some of my best work comes when I’m frustrated or annoyed and need to let off a little steam.
I’d probably be much thinner and in better shape if I liked to work off steam by running 10 miles or getting in touch with my inner calm self by doing 2 hours of yoga…but such is life. I prefer baking, cleaning, and gardening when I have a thorn in my side.
Apple Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread
4 Tbsp. Earth Balance Natural Butter Spread
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Almond Milk,warmed but not hot to the touch
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
2 tsp. Pure Vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp. Yeast, dissolved in the warmed almond milk
1 Cups Sorghum Flour
1/2 Cup Mama’s Almond All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
2 Cups Potato Starch
1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
4 tsp. Xanthan Gum
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Gala Apples, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
Juice of 1 Lemon
About 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup Dairy Free Butter
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cinnamon
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
About 3 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter
1 1/2 teaspoons Almond Extract
About 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
Almond Milk for Thinning
Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer on high until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Warm the almond milk lightly, not hot and add yeast. Stir and let rest while you’re measuring the flours, etc. The yeast/milk is ready when it is bubbly on top. About 5 minutes or so.
Measure the sorghum flour, almond flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
To the creamed mixture, add the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add milk/yeast mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and scrape down bowl. Mix on high until thoroughly combined (about 1-2 minutes). Dough will be sticky.
Next, flour a piece of parchment paper and scoop dough out onto paper. Flour the top of the dough and pat down. Flour a rolling-pin and roll the dough into a 24×15 oblong “ish” form.
For the filling, place the butter in a small dish and stir until softened enough to spread with the back of a spoon. Spread the butter carefully over the entire surface of the dough.
Sprinkle the apples as evenly as possible over the butter. Crumble the brown sugar over the apples evenly and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Carefully slice the dough into 4 rows lengthwise and 6 across. Spray a non-stick bread pan lightly with oil.
Stack the first row (lengthwise) on top of the second row. Stack the third row on top of the fourth row. Taking two slices at a time, hold the pan on end and begin stacking dough two pieces at a time until all of the dough is in the pan.
Spray a piece of plastic wrap with oil and cover the dough loosely. Allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. Then remove plastic and bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes. (I use convection.)
While the bread is resting, prepare the frosting.
Melt butter in a small bowl, add sugar, almond extract, and cinnamon. Whisk with a tiny whisk or fork until combined. Add almond milk a teaspoon at a time until it reaches drizzling consistency. But not too thin!
Remove bread from oven (you can even do a happy dance like I did, because I was so thrilled it turned out), allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges and carefully remove from pan onto a plate or board.
Drizzle with frosting and serve. Can be served warm (unbelievable) or at room temperature (still unbelievable).
(Megaphone photo courtesy of SheMarketer)
Sunday is my favorite day of the week.
I’m not sure what it is about it really, but I love it. Maybe it’s because we are saying goodbye to the week behind us, which was hopefully successful and peaceful, and preparing to say hello to the week ahead. Sundays are usually a slower day for us. We try to squeeze in a little more time with each other, hang out with the dogs, mill around the house and yard, I usually make a nice dinner and bake something for dessert, and then we just soak in the last day of the weekend. This weekend seemed to go slower than usual, which was an extra bonus.
I ran across this little guy while I was watering. They are so diligent. I’m sure in a day or two the wind or my cat’s tail will come along and de-construct the web. He’ll have to move along and find a better place. Right now, he’s just soaking up the sun like the rest of us.
A few more pictures from the garden…
Happy Monday and have a lovely week!
We have a beautiful trail not even fifteen minutes from our house. Lots of wonderful things to see and hear. Wildlife for one. We’ve seen Moose, Deer, many different species of birds and water fowl, and we’ve seen the work of some very busy Beavers but have never seen the hard workers themselves.
As summer approaches there will be all types of flowers and even wild roses. It’s quite lovely and one of my favorite places to walk the dogs. It’s about a 5 mile or so trip up to the Cedar Forest. I have yet to do the whole thing up to the top past the Cedar Forest, which I think is about 8 miles. After the Cedar Forest it gets much more difficult but I will definitely do it before we leave for New Hampshire. Evidently there’s a gorgeous waterfall and a cool Boy Scout cabin up there.
Busy Beavers. There are a few of these dams along the trail.
I love to just stand and look at them. Such amazing workers they are!
I’m thinking this is where they live…their condo with waterfront property.
This is Romeo. He’s searching for a stick for he and Abigail to play with.
He is terrified of bugs and our new tile floors, but doesn’t think twice about plunging his head into dirty swamp water.
Best Friends Forever.
More Beaver magic.
And Romeo grazing on grass that I will surely be pulling out of unsavory places later.
Welcome to the Cedar Forest
Water in the mountains is like a melody to the soul.
And back down the trail we go…
5 1/2 inches.
Getting ready to take the allergy level up a notch.
Enjoy your day!
Why Mother’s Day 2.0 you ask?
Well, I gave myself food poisoning after our Hors d’ oeuvre & Cocktail night. I spent about 8 hours of Mother’s Day in agony and had to re-schedule my own mother!
Before you’re afraid to try any of my recipes, let me just reassure you that it wasn’t anything that went wrong in the cooking process. After we had our snacks we wandered over to the neighbor’s house to visit and drink some of my favorite wine. I didn’t think we’d be gone long so I just left everything out in the kitchen thinking I would come home and get it into the fridge before too long. Well, a couple of hours later we arrived home, I cleaned up the kitchen and decided I wanted another little spinach tart. They had been sitting in a warm house on top of a warm oven… “I’ll just microwave it for a minute or so and it should be fine”, is what I told myself. Well, it wasn’t, and about 8 hours later I was reminded why you don’t leave anything that even resembles a Quiche out for very long and then eat it.
Luckily, when Monday rolled around I was feeling much better. Still a bit wonky but believe me, lesson learned…the hard way. I re-scheduled everyone and we gathered for dinner at our house.
We have a thing for Mexican food in my family. Who doesn’t really? Even though we had a delayed version of Mother’s Day, it still turned out just fine and everyone enjoyed themselves and we walked away from the table stuffed with chicken and beef tacos and two lovely, fruity, tarts.
I hope all of you moms had a lovely Mother’s Day…even if it was the 2.0 version like ours.
Key Lime & Coconut Tart
I made the Key Lime Tart and a Lemon Tart. You can find the recipe for the Lemon Tart Here.
• For The Tart Shell:
1 Cup Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour
1/4 Cup Rice Flour
1/3 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used table not sea because I worried that the sea salt was too large)
3 teaspoons Coconut Extract
1 Teaspoon Lime Zest
1/2 Cup Dairy Free Butter, cold
In a small bowl add both flours, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside. In a mixer, add the butter and sugar, beat for 30 seconds and scrape down the bowl. Add the coconut extract and zest, beat until thoroughly combined and mixture is fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium for 30 seconds, scrape down bowl. Then beat for about 1 minute or until the mixture begins to almost pull all the way away from the sides of the bowl.
Scoop mixture out into a tart pan with removable bottom.
Press tart crust dough into the tart pan quickly, you don’t want the butter melting too much because it makes the dough too soft. Trim edges on an angle with a very sharp knife, prick with a fork all over including sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours.
Preheat oven to 325°. Line the tart crust with parchment paper and baking beans and bake in a pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove beans and parchment paper and allow to cool while you get the remaining ingredients ready.
You can go here for detailed pictures of the tart shell.
•For The Filling:
7 ounces Almond Milk (I like to cook with Almond Breeze because it’s thick)
2 teaspoons Dairy Free Butter
3 Eggs plus 2 Egg Whites
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
Zest of 18 Key Limes Lemons (tedious but worth it)
Juice of 18 Key Limes
Zest and juice the Key Limes.
Heat the almond milk and dairy free butter on low in a small saucepan. Once it was hot I kept mine on warm until I finished the remaining ingredients. Next, in a medium bowl, add the eggs and powdered sugar. Whisk until there are no lumps remaining.
Add the lime zest and lime juice and whisk until thoroughly incorporated. Slowly, drizzle the warm milk and butter mixture into the egg mixture whisking quickly the entire time.
Pour the liquid into a measuring cup and place the tart pan in a preheated oven. Do not pull out the shelf, because when you pour the liquid into the tart and then have to push the shelf back in, it will slosh all over the place and your beautiful tart will be in the bottom of your oven. Unless you have a shelf that automatically comes out when you open the door like I do…then, just close your door very slowly. Pour the liquid slowly into the tart pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes and no more. You want it to have a soft jiggle in the middle about the size of the palm of your hand when you remove it from the oven, similar to jello, but not too much movement. You’ll know if you’ve overcooked it because it will crack and start to pull away from the sides of the tart shell.
Allow to cool on the counter and then dust with powdered sugar if you want to eat it at room temperature, or allow it to cool on the counter and then refrigerate it for a couple of hours if you want to eat it cold. If you’re serving it cold, wait until you remove it from the fridge to dust with powdered sugar. I prefer it chilled.
To toast the coconut: Place a couple of handfuls of coconut in a medium skillet and heat on medium to medium high. Flipping the coconut every couple of minutes (like an omelette) as it browns. I like mine lightly browned so there are chunky bits and soft chewy bits. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a plate.
Once the tart has chilled for at least two hours, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar (the key lime tart is…tart) and top with the toasted coconut.