Storyboard: Colorado Goat Cheese

Colorado Goat Cheese Storyboard (c) 2011 LaDomestique.com
Special thanks to Alfalfa’s Market for allowing La Domestique to shoot photos of their cheese department.

 

The Soul of Colorado Goat Cheese

According to The Cheese Lover’s Companion, “The soul of every cheese is the milk used to make it”. Think about that for a second. What a great analogy, the idea of cheese having a soul! It all starts with milk, and the manipulation of the cheese maker (salting, molding, ripening, etc.) is just packaging. What affects the flavor of the milk to start with? Certainly the species and breed of animal produce milk with unique flavors. The milk produced by goats is lower in fat and supposedly easier to digest that other milks. The texture can be soft and creamy or semi-hard like Haystack Mountain Sunlight. Goat’s milk yields cheeses with acidity, resulting in a tangy flavor.

Then comes terroir and season. Terroir is a sense of place. It’s a reflection of where the animal lives and what native plants it eats, the air it breathes and the weather it endures. What kind of terroir do we have in Colorado? It’s a rugged and mountainous landscape with crisp, cool air and 300 days of sunshine a year. Peaches, plums, cherries, and apples grow in our orchards. Chives and thyme grow wild and lemony sorrel flourishes in our dry climate. At Avalanche Cheese Company, Wendy Mitchell’s goats graze on clover, alfalfa, oats, and peas in the fields (according to Edible Aspen).

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Cook in the moment: Goat Cheese & the Sandwich

Today I want to introduce you to a sandwich. This is not just any sandwich- it’s elegant and has some serious flavor. I’m going to rock your lunch today, gourmet style.

It started with ‘Truffled Honey & Lemon Chevre Spread’ made by Avalanche Cheese Company. This cheese changed my world a little bit. Kudos to Wendy Mitchell for her thoughtful touch when it comes to cheese-making. ‘Truffled Honey & Lemon Chevre Spread’ truly has just a hint of white truffle, enough to leave you wanting more. The lemony tang combined with subtle honey flavor is perfectly balanced. There is something special about Wendy’s cheese. It’s the first time I’ve tasted a Colorado cheese that has worldly sophistication. I believe her cheeses are special because Wendy understands the art of being subtle. It’s all very Euro, isn’t it?

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10 Ways Tuesdays: Colorado Goat Cheese

I’ve come up with 10 ways to use Colorado goat cheese in your spring pantry:

 

1.  Scrambled Eggs

My most favorite way to enjoy chèvre is crumbled into soft scrambled eggs just before they finish cooking. Spring herbs such as dill or chives are a welcome addition. The creamy, tangy goat cheese is really nice with farm fresh eggs. A goat cheese omelette would be lovely as well.

2.  Salad

Chèvre in salad is nothing new, but I have to tell you something magical happens when you combine goat cheese, golden beets, and toasted hazelnuts. The flavors harmonize perfectly: tangy cheese, earthy sweet beets, and the nuts are just plain nutty.  So good with a mixture of green and purple spring lettuces. Dijon vinaigrette is the way to go here.

3.  Tartine

I must admit that until today, I did not know a “tartine” is French for an open faced sandwich. I came across a recipe for “Strawberry Tartine” in Dorie Greenspan’s latest book, Around My french Table. Dorie spreads goat cheese on a baguette, places strawberries on top with fresh ground pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. This might be my new favorite thing!

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Ingredient of the Week: Colorado Goat Cheese

Ingredient Of The Week : Colorado Goat Cheese (c) 2011 LaDomestique.com

I can think of no cheese I crave more during spring time than fresh goat cheese. The soft creamy texture and lemony tart flavor of chèvre begs to be paired with fresh herbs and crisp salad greens. Pastas with bright green peas and asparagus benefit from a sprinkling of crumbly goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. The creamy texture of chèvre lends itself to an easy but addictive dip for the vegetable crudites platter. Goat cheese is simple and fresh, just like a crisp spring morning in the garden.

Chèvre is only the beginning. Goat cheese can also be made into a pasteurized blue cheese; a firm, pungent washed rind cheese; or an elegant, soft and oozy bloomy rind cheese. Aged goat cheese becomes dry and firm with a more developed, complex flavor than fresh chèvre.

Join me this week at LaDomestique, as I explore Colorado goat cheese in its many forms. The craggy mountains and dry foothills of Colorado are well suited to raising low maintenance goats. According to The Country Cooking of France by Anne Willan, “The French call a goat a poor man’s cow because it needs no more than roadside herbage to survive”. Despite their reputation as a walking garbage disposal, goats produce milk that can be made into cheeses with an exceptional bright and clean flavor. Goat cheese can be grassy, herbaceous, and earthy. Trying different goat cheeses reveals a world of tastes and textures.

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Spring Crudités Platter with Aioli

Inspired by the “Poached Chicken Breast and Spring Vegetable Salad” in Martha Stewart’s Cooking School, I set out to make my own spring crudités platter. This would be a lovely way to entertain alfresco in the garden for Saturday lunch. Sparkling wine pairs nicely with this simple but elegant fare. I blanched the vegetables in boiling hot water and then immersed them in ice to make sure the color was preserved and the texture was still crisp. You could serve a herb vinaigrette but I went with a garlic aioli recipe from Chez Panisse Vegetables for dipping. Soft boiled eggs rounded out the feast- also good for dipping bread or veg into.

When poaching chicken, it’s best to leave the meat on the bone for more succulence and flavor. The chicken should cook gently at what Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall calls the “tremulous simmer”; bubbles occasionally breaking at the surface. The comforting aroma coming from the kitchen is truly magical. How can it be so good? I don’t know . . . it just is.

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