At , the kids in the small front paddock next to the farmhouse gambol, butt heads and tussle. The milk that helps the baby goats practically sprout before your eyes is also the wonderful raw material of Bedford Hills cheesemaker Lisa Schwartz.
Her 2011 season is well underway and those award winning goat cheeses (aka chevre) are available again. The quintessential seasonal, local product for lucky us, Lisa’s cheeses “capture the essence of the milk,” as described by respected cheesemonger Ken Skovron of The Darien Cheese Shop. The youngest cheeses are vibrant and clear-tasting and the slightly aged, bloomed rind cheeses ripen into richness.
Of course, I am biased; Lisa, her sister Karen Sabath and I wrote the book (literally). Over the Rainbeau: Living the Dream of Sustainable Farming (Oct. 2009) is the story of Rainbeau Ridge. (See previous .
A slice of the pyramid-shaped, rinded Mont Vivant graces torn butter lettuce and some Chevrelait crumbled on tiny, new beets is wonderful. But here are some goat cheese recipes that go beyond salads. The first one is from our book.
Of course, you can use any old goat cheese. But for something truly delicious, local and fresh, stop by any of these local shops to pick up some of Lisa's cheese: ,, in Ridgefield, or the
Fava Bean Dip
2-3 lbs. fresh fava beans*, shelled
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 Tbs. olive oil and more to sauté
1 tsp. lemon zest and 2 Tbs. lemon juice
5 oz. fresh goat cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
Blanche the shelled fava and pop them out of their skins. Rinse & cool. Sauté the garlic gently in olive oil until just brown. Pulse the garlic with 1-2 Tbs. olive oil. Add goat cheese and seasoning and pulse until well-combined. Add a few tablespoons of water if the dip is too thick. Serve with pita or pita chips. *Substitute fresh green peas or small green beans.
Braised Leeks with Goat Cheese
4-6 small or medium leeks, tough outer leaves discarded
2 Tbs. butter
1/4 c. chicken broth and/or white wine
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
1 tsp. fresh thyme
4-5 oz. fresh or rinded goat cheese
salt & pepper, to taste
Trim leeks to about 7 inches long and cut lengthwise into quarters or eighths Soak leeks in cold water to cover 15 minutes, rubbing occasionally to remove any grit. In a heavy skillet, cook leeks in melted butter until lightly browned; then add broth/wine and zest. Braise leeks, covered for 5 minutes, or until very tender, and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh goat cheese and cover briefly so that the cheese warms and softens a little. Finish with thyme. Serves 4 as side dish.
Baked Peaches & Goat Cheese
4 ripe peaches, halved and pitted
1 Tbs. melted butter
4 oz. fresh goat cheese
1/3 cup pine nuts or almonds, chopped
fresh tarragon or lavender flowers, minced (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Brush peach halves with melted butter and bake for 10 min. Stuff peaches with goat cheese and bake 7 min. more. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and the minced herbs; garnish with a few fresh raspberries. The peaches can also be carefully and briefly grilled, then stuffed with goat cheese. Serves 4.
Grilled Chevre Sandwich with Apple
8 not-too-thick slices of good bread
1-2 Tbs. olive oil or butter
4 oz. rinded goat cheese, sliced ¼” thick
1-2 apples*, thinly sliced
Melt the oil or butter in a sauté pan. Arrange four slices of bread in the pan and place cheese and apple slices on the pieces. Top with the second slices of bread. Sauté very gently checking underneath to see that the bread is only golden. Carefully flip each sandwich and cover briefly to melt cheese. When the second side is golden also, serve. Enhance this sandwich by spreading a little chutney on the bread before topping it. Serves 4. *Pear or watercress makes good alternatives to apple.