Spring is Goat Cheese Season

Small goat cheese headsSpring is the season of  many things . . . renewal, new beginnings, baseball, blooming flowers . . . and of course, spring is the start of the goat cheese season! That’s right, now is the time when “dairy goats in particular tend to breed and freshen more seasonally than cows, and begin producing their milk in the late winter and early spring.”  Shop Stewart’s for a great selection of Goat’s milk cheeses – Blue Ledge Farm’s signature Goat Cheese Lake’s Edge (Champlain Valley, VT) award-winning Kunik Triple Cream Minis and Chevre from Nettle Meadow Farm (Warrensberg, NY), the distinctive Cypress Grove Purple Haze Chevre (Humboldt County, CA), and the French-style surface ripened Cloud Nine by Yellow Springs Farm (Chester Springs, PA). And if you’re in the mood for something with a little age, try the classically simple, velvety and smooth, Crottina by Blue Ledge Farm (Champlain Valley, VT), which should pair nicely with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc (try Giesen Sauvignon Blanc from Stewart’s Spirits) and a dollop of Local CT honey.  These are the perfect picnic cheeses! Grab some prosciutto, a fresh baguette and a bottle of Rosé (from Stewart’s Spirits) and savor the season!
And check out this delicious Goat Cheese Crostini recipe from Julia Deane’s Culinary Works!

Crostini with Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, Fig and Basil

CulWorks030916 79754We have just the right sweet and savory appetizer for you next get together. Julia Deane, owner of Culinary Works has this delicious crostini option that is great to make just before the guests arrive. The final product needs one tablespoon of goat cheese, one tablespoon of fig jam, a half slice of prosciutto and one basil leaf per crostini. Serve these immediately.
Crostini with Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, Fig and Basil
1 baguette
1/4 cup olive oil
coarse salt (Kosher)
fresh ground pepper
4 ounces plain goat cheese, at room temperature
1 small jar of fig jam
slices of prosciutto
fresh basil leaves
Basically you need:
The bread:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Slice your baguette in to 1/2 inch thick pieces. I like to cut mine at an angle.
Brush each piece with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the bread is lightly browned and crisp.
When they done, let them cool completely.
Assembling the crostini:
Spread on about 1 tbsp goat cheese.
Then spread on about 1 tsp fig jam.
Roll together 1/2 slice of prosciutto with 1 basil leaf, and place it on top of the fig jam.

Check out this recipe and more from Julia Deane at Culinary Works

Pizza with Figs & Pistachios

figgoatcheesepizza_webThis week we’re sharing a  fun, delicious and healthy take on pizza from our friend and local nutritionist Lisa ( Lisa Corrado Nutrition). The timing is great as we just received some beautiful imported fresh figs and Spring is officially Goat Cheese season so you’ll find excellent goat cheeses in our cheese case. I started this with a recipe from The Seasonal Baker. Not having all the ingredients on-hand, I improvised as needed, even adding my own flair in the form of pistachios. The end result was a little different and very delicious.
Pizza with Figs & Pistachios

Makes 4 servings
1 ball prepared multigrain pizza dough
olive oil
4 large shallots, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
8 ounces goat cheese
1½ cups freshly grated Pecorino cheese, divided
¼ cup milk, as needed
16 fresh figs, quartered
½ cup chopped pistachios
About 30 minutes before starting, take pizza dough out of refrigerator. Coat a bowl with olive oil and add dough, cover and allow to come to room temperature.
If using a pizza stone, place it on the middle rack of your oven. Otherwise, grease a large cookie sheet with olive oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 400° .
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallot slices, season with salt & pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are softened and golden, about 12 minutes. Reduce heat if shallots start to get crispy-brown. Remove from heat and stir in chopped thyme.
In a medium bowl, combine goat cheese and half of the grated Pecorino. Stir to combine. Adding milk as needed, stir cheese mixture until it becomes spreadable.
If using a cookie sheet, spread dough out on oiled sheet. If using a pizza stone, sprinkle a clean work surface with flour and stretch out pizza dough to about a 14” circle and transfer to the hot stone. Bake dough for 5 minutes then remove from oven.
Spread dough evenly with cheese mixture, top with cooked shallots, fig quarters, chopped pistachios. Sprinkle with remaining grated Pecorino. Return to oven and bake until outer edges and toppings are browned, about 10 minutes or so. Remove from oven and let set for a minute before cutting into slices.