Sunday, October 18, 2009

Herbed Baked Goat Cheese Salad

Hola!  How long has it been.... oh never mind, I'm back.  Again!  We have to stop meeting like this.  Have I mentioned that my kitchen is a mess?  Yeah, that's all I got...  On with things, we have lots to catch up on!

Lets start with a kitchen update.  Have you heard of KraftMaid cabinetry?  They are gorgeous semi-custom cabinets made right around the corner in Geauga County.  They have an amazing showroom in Chagrin Falls full of dream kitchens, any of which I would die for and are completely out of my price range.  BUT, great news, they have a warehouse store in Warren that is most definitely in my price range.  (It used to be in Lordstown, this one is a bit smaller and only open every other Saturday)  It takes a bit of creativity and early morning drives to Warren on Saturdays, but after 4 trips, CC and I have pieced together our very own dream kitchen that will be installed in the next month or so.  I cannot wait.

Next, a life update.  This is a year of change.  I bought a house, moved in with CC and my sister, and Friday was my last day at the job I've had for the last four years.  I have this week off - plan is to paint as much as I can manage, so don't be jealous - and then I start my new job next week!  And I joined a new gym yesterday.  Ok, you are caught up.
Gorgeous sunflowers from the North Union Farmers Market 
(can you spot my new pet Stinky?)

Last week I forced myself back into the half demolished kitchen and just tried to ignore the holes and exposed dry wall.  I got inspiration from the Fall Entertaining magazine from Cooks Illustrated.  The week's menu: 
Sunday - Herbed Baked Goat Cheese Salad with apples, walnuts, dried cranberries and a shallot vinaigrette
Monday - Beef soft tacos
Tuesday - Coq au vin (great 90 minute version)
Wednesday - Out to dinner at Corky and Lenny's
Thursday - Sauteed Mushrooms with farfalle in a light cream sauce 

All of these dishes were really delicious, but the goat cheese salad was so simple and satisfying I wanted to share the recipe:

Herbed Baked Goat Cheese
Makes 16 Rounds

3 oz. white melba toasts (about 2 cups)
1 tsp ground black pepper
3 large eggs
2 tbsp dijon mustard
4 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp chopped fresh chives
16 oz firm goat cheese
(Molls Note: I had a goat cheese that was already garlic and herb infused, so I skipped the fresh herbs and it was still wonderful)

1.  In food processor, process the Melba toasts to fine, even crumbs, about 1 1/2 minutes; transfer crumbs to medium bowl and stir in pepper.  Whisk eggs and mustard in medium bowl until combined.  Combine thyme and chives in small bowl.
2.  Using kitchen twine or dental floss, divide cheese into 16 evenly sized pieces (about 1 oz each).  Roll each piece into ball; roll each ball in herbs to lightly coat.  Transfer 8 pieces to egg mixture, and turn each piece to coat; transfer to Melba crumbs and turn each piece to coat, pressing crumbs into cheese.  Flatten each ball into disk about 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick and set on baking sheet.  Repeat process with remaining 8 pieces cheese.  Freeze cheese until firm, about 30 minutes.  Adjust oven rack to uppermost position; heat to 475 degrees.
3.  Remove cheese from freezer and brush tops and sides evenly with olive oil.  Bake until crumbs are golden brown and cheese is soft, 7 to 9 minutes.  Using thin metal spatula, transfer cheese to paper towel-lined plate and cool 3 minutes.

Salad with Herbed Baked Goat Cheese and Vinaigrette
Serves 8

2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp finely minced shallot
1/4 tsp table salt
6 tbsp EVOO
ground black pepper
16 cups hearty mixed greens, washed and dried
1 recipe Herbed Baked Goat Cheese (above)

1.  Combine vinegar, mustard, shallot, and salt in small bowl.  Whisking constantly, drizzle in olive oil; season to taste with S&P.
2.  Place greens in large bowl, drizzle vinaigrette over, toss to coat.  Divide greens among individual plates; place two goat cheese rounds on each salad and serve immediately.
I served each salad with the goat cheese, a few thinly sliced apple wedges, a handful of craisins, and a handful of lightly toasted chopped walnuts.  Beautiful and delicious!

P.S. I won Cleveland Foodie's Beer Week toast contest!  Read my entry here.  Free tickets to Brewzilla - awesome!!  Thank you!


ToadMan8 said...

Did you make the Cooks Illustrated coq au vin? The "Modern" or the 1999 recipe? I love the modern, but have not made the old one.

I'm tempted to start my own food blog, but so few of my friends really care about food, and they're usually invited to the meals.

Molls said...

Not sure which version - I would guess the "modern" one. It shortened the cook time by reducing the red wine sauce in a separate pot while cooking boneless skinless chicken thighs in a separate pan and then combining. It was very fast and full of flavor.

I totally think you should start a blog. At the very least it is a good personal recipe keeper and I like it as an outlet for sharing recipes with friends and family. If you decide to do it to send me a link!

mcm.hannah said...

Crokey and Lenny's! My favorite. Congrats on the win.