August is Goat Cheese Month. I know; I’m drooling too. I remember going to restaurants as a kid and getting excited if they had something on the menu with goat cheese because it was a special treat. More recently people seem to have given in to the creamy, silky tang of goat cheese and I see it everywhere. The little kid in me is thrilled. Apparently, there is a very scientific reason why August is Goat Cheese Month. For starters, goat cheese is at its peak when it hasn’t aged much so the goat cheese in August tends to be ideal. If it was made in the spring then it is only a couple of months old. Less scientific and a little more common sense, August is hot. Here in the Midwest it is the worst. And no one wants to eat heavy, hot food in that heat, however a nice light spinach salad with maybe a couple of nuts, some fruit, vinaigrette, topped off with goat cheese sounds delicious and refreshing. More fun science, apparently goat cheese has more Vitamin A and Vitamin D than cow or sheep’s milk cheeses. So it’s really good for you too! And lastly, August is a great month to celebrate goat cheese because it pairs beautifully with the types of beers you want to drink when it’s that hot. It is actually recommended to pair goat cheese with pilsners, wheat beers, and summer ales. It also goes well with a Sauvignon Blanc or a young Chardonnay that hasn’t been anywhere near an oak barrel.
In honor of the excitement I’m feeling about Goat Cheese month here are a couple of recipes that celebrate more unique ways to incorporate goat cheese into your menu and your life. As exciting as it is on pizza and salads and crusty French breads (and it is exciting, delicious too) these recipes really showcase the versatility of this wonderful food.
Smoked Salmon, Goat Cheese, and Fresh Dill Frittata
Because smoked salmon is delicious, goat cheese is creamy, and dill pairs beautifully with eggs. Plus who doesn’t love a good frittata?
2 ½ C shredded, peeled baking potato
¼ t salt
¼ t pepper
6 large egg whites
2 large eggs
½ C (2oz) crumbled goat cheese
3 oz thinly sliced smoked salmon, cut into ¼” strips
1 T chopped fresh dill
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat. Add potato; sauté 5 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Combine egg whites, eggs, goat cheese, and smoked salmon in a medium bowl and stir well with a whisk. Spread the egg mixture evenly over the potato in the skillet and cook 2 minutes or until edges are set and bottom is lightly browned. Sprinkle the top with dill.
Bake at 350 for 5 minutes. Broil 3 minutes or until center is set. Carefully loosen frittata from skillet with a spatula; gently slide frittata onto a platter. Devour immediately.
Chocolate Fudge Goat Cheese Ice Cream
This tastes like chocolate cheesecake, is decadent, is surprisingly easy to make, and lets you have goat cheese for dessert!
8 oz goat cheese
2 C heavy cream
2 C whole milk
¾ C sugar
1/3 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T corn syrup
2 oz milk chocolate, chopped
Ganache fudge chunk:
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate
¾ C heavy cream
Allow the goat cheese to sit at room temperature for an hour or two so it softens. Once it’s soft, add it to a large bowl and whisk it until it’s somewhat creamy. This will take a few minutes.
Add the heavy cream, milk, cocoa and corn syrup to a large saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Whisk constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Whisk in the chopped chocolate and remove it from the heat. Pour it over the goat cheese while whisking. Whisk until the goat cheese melts completely into the cream, about 5 minutes. Place the bowl in the fridge to chill for an hour or two.
In the meantime make the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate to a large bowl. Heat the heavy cream over medium-low heat until it is just bubbling along the edges. Pour it over the chocolate and let it sit for 1 minute. Then whisk continuously until a thick ganache forms. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the top of the ganache and refrigerate until thick and chilled, about an hour.
Remove the ice cream base from the fridge and churn according to your ice cream maker directions. During the last 5 minutes, remove ganache from the fridge and spoon chunks of it into the ice cream. Pour the ice cream into a freezer safe container and add a few more ganache spoonfuls where ever you wish. Cover and freeze for 4 to 6 hours before serving.