Potato Cakes with Chèvre and Herbs

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My mom made these all the time when I was growing up. But no herbs, no goat cheese, and no exotic appeal. Now you can better the “leftover mashed potatoes” side dish, with this recipe from Renee at Leite’s Culinaria. Thanks to her for the ingredients and the pic!

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 to 3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sliced scallions, and any other herbs you wish
  • 8 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS

  • 1. Put the potatoes in a large pot and pour in enough cold water to barely cover. Season the cooking water with salt (it should taste like the sea) and bring to a boil. Cook on medium-high heat until the potatoes are tender but not mushy, 10 to 15 minutes or so, depending on the size of your spuds. Drain the potatoes, place them in a large bowl, and roughly mash them with a fork or a potato masher. Let cool slightly.
  • 2. Add the parsley, scallions + finely chopped herbs, goat cheese, and salt and pepper to the potatoes and mix until just combined, making certain that chunks of goat cheese are still visible. Cover and refrigerate until chilled through, at least 6 hours.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • 4. Using your hands, form the mixture into a 1-inch-thick block on a lightly floured countertop and cut it into rectangular cakes about 2 1/2 inches along their long side or, if you prefer, use a 2 1/2-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out individual potato cakes. You should have at least 12 cakes (and, quite possibly, more). Place the flour on a plate and lightly flour the cakes on both sides.
  • 5. Place 2 large ovenproof nonstick skillets (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat. Divide the oil between the skillets and heat until hot but not smoking. Add the potato cakes to the skillets and cook until the first side is golden brown. Flip the potato cakes and cook for another minute or so, and then transfer the skillets to the oven until the cakes are warmed through, about 10 minutes. Figure about 2 potato cakes per person.

Pogacsa (Hungarian Cheese Buns or Biscuits)

Our family adores bread, in practically any form. Especially warm bread. In biscuit or bun-size. So this recipe fits us to a T. And it’s a nice remembrance of our dear Hungarian daughter Szilvia, who lived with us in 1996-97. Thanks to The Baking Wizard for the recipe and photo…these will be featured at our upcoming Open House! Nums!

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Simple Cheese Pogácsa (Hungarian cheese buns)

Dough

1/2 cup whole milk, heated to 110-115 degrees F.

1 teaspoon active dry yeast

1/2 teaspoon sugar

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, 20 ounces (dip dry measure into flour container, fill to overflowing and sweep off excess to level)

5 ounces finely shredded Gruyère or Gouda cheese, plus more for topping

1 tablespoon salt

2 large eggs

7 ounces (14 tablespoons; 1 3/4 sticks) softened unsalted butter

1/2 to 1 cup sour cream or Chèvre

Topping

1 egg yolk

Finely grated Gruyère or other cheese

1. Combine the milk, yeast, and sugar and let stand until yeast is softened, about 10 minutes.

2. In the large bowl of a stand mixer put the flour, cheese, salt, eggs, butter, softened yeast, and 1/2 cup sour cream. Mix on low speed with the flat beater until the dough masses on the blade. If the dough seems dry, add a bit more sour cream. Beat on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes. The dough should be nice and smooth and non-sticky.

3. Line a large baking sheet (17 x 12 inches) with parchment. Adjust an oven rack to the lower third position but do not turn the oven on.

4. Roll the dough 1/2-inch thick (no thinner!) on a lightly floured surface. Make a shallow cross-hatched pattern with the point of a sharp knife all over the top of the dough and brush with the egg yolk. Sprinkle the cheese on top, and cut out rounds with a 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-inch diameter cutter. Use the palms of your hands to cup each circle of dough to smooth the sides.

5. Arrange the circles in rows about 1/4-inch apart. You’ll have 7 rows the short way and 9 rows the long way. Put the pan in the oven and turn the oven on to 400 degrees F. Bake about 25 minutes, until the pogácsa are nicely browned on their tops and bottoms. Cool completely and store airtight.

6. Pogácsa may also be frozen for up to 1 month. Reheat to refresh them.

Makes about 60 cheese Pogácsa. 

New Babies at Birchbark!

2014 brought us seven girls and three boys — the ratio doesn’t get any better than this! Our babies are so beautiful this year, just had to share them with you.

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They look as good from above as they do at eye-level!

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And they love to swarm George at feeding time.

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Oh man, that milk is soooo good!

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It’s so good, I am dripping milk foam everywhere!

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Mom, I want some more!

For anyone in or around Mason County, Michigan, come over and see the babies before they’re adopted out.

Just call us to make sure we’re home!

 

Herb and Olive Oil-Marinated Chevre Appetizer

You can really put any herbs in the olive oil that you wish, but this version is a classic. Leave them to marinate for at least a week. You can also bread them and gently fry them as hot hors d’oevres on toothpicks. Thanks to Williams-Sonoma for the recipe and picture. They will be featured at our members’ open house this year!

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Ingredients:

  • About 10 oz. firm fresh goat cheese, whole,
      sliced or formed into small balls
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 12 juniper berries
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

Put the cheese in a dry, sterilized, lidded jar large enough for the cheese to be covered by the oil. Tuck in the bay leaves and sprinkle with the peppercorns, thyme and rosemary.

Pour the olive oil over the cheese and close the lid.

Store the cheese in a cool, dark place for up to 2 months. Once opened, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Chèvre and Goat Yogurt Cheesecake

We’re not huge fans of cheesecake, but this recipe is lighter than most and of course, we’re big fans of chèvre and goat yogurt. The added tang is a plus! The recipe and picture are in the files for those who adore this dessert, courtesy of SpoonForkBacon.

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Goat Cheese and Yogurt Cheesecake
Makes 1 8” cake

Ingredients:
crust:
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs (18-22 vanilla wafers)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
filling:
20 ounces goat cheese, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3cup superfine sugar (granulated is fine)
8 ounces (nonfat) Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons buttermilk, optional
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
garnish:
honey

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350˚.F
2. In a mixing bowl, combine crumbs and butter and stir until fully incorporated.
3. Line an 8” cake pan with parchment paper and very lightly grease pan.  Add crust mixture and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
4. Place goat cheese, cream cheese and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined (you can also use a stand mixer).
5. Scrape down sides of bowl an add yogurt until just combined. With motor running add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla and beat until no lumps remain.
6. Pour filling over crust and smooth top (filling should reach the top of the pan).
7. Carefully place mixture into a roasting pan and place in the oven. Carefully pour warm/hot water into the side of the roasting pan until the water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan.
8. Bake cheesecake for 45 to 55 minutes or until center is still slightly wobbly.
9. Remove from oven and water bath and allow cheesecake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the pan to ensure cheesecake doesn’t stick to sides when removing from pan.
10.  Allow cheesecake to cool for an hour. Place cheesecake in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 6 hours.
11. Once cheesecake has completely chilled, run a knife along the edge again.
12. With a platter ready, place a clean cake board over the top of the cheesecake and pan and quickly invert it onto the cake board. Tap the bottom of the pan to ensure nothing is sticking. Remove pan and replace with a platter before quickly, but carefully turning the cheesecake onto the platter and removing the cake board from the surface. (the removal process should take no more than 30 seconds)
13. Drizzle the top with honey, thickened fruit syrup or coulis, slice and serve.

Goat Cheese Rounds with Herbs and Flowers

These are so adorable. They are begging to be sniffed and marveled over, just before being popped into the mouth. And just in time, as the spring chevre season is just about upon us, with its velvety-creamy extra-rich fresh goat cheese! An extremely simple appetizer that you can customize to taste, this recipe and picture come to us from the Women’s Forum and Chef Didier. You can either shape the cheese into balls, or press them into a form and slice to the desired length.

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Chef Didier’s Goat Cheese Rounds

Ingredients:

  • Goat Cheese (chevre)
  • Olive Oil
  • Sprigs of various fresh garden herbs — sage, basil, thyme, rosemary, etc
  • Herbs in small dishes. Chef Didier is using cracked peppercorns, curry and hot paprika, but other flavorings can be used.
  • Fresh edible flowers if you like (marigold petals, nasturtium, honeysuckle, pansy, lilac, cornflowers)

Directions:

  1. Roll the goat cheese into small balls in your hands. Goat’s cheese is soft, so this won’t be difficult.
  2. Roll the balls in the bowls of herbs. Again, goat cheese is soft, so it will ‘pick up’ the herbs well.
  3. Place in a small jar. A standard jelly jar will do just fine.
  4. Place sprigs in the jar alongside the goat cheese balls.
  5. Pour olive oil over goat cheese rounds.

Goat Cheese Rounds As a Gift

Chef Didier makes every recipe he uses look easy, but this recipe for goat cheese rounds actually *is* easy. Since goat’s cheese is now found in the dairy section of many grocery stores, it isn’t hard to find. Goat cheese rounds are also fun to make, and don’t require a lot of cleaning up.

Like some of Chef Didier’s other recipes, goat cheese balls make a good gift. The sprigs make great decorations, and the herbs will add splashes of color. Even if someone isn’t a fan of goat’s cheese or goat’s milk, they will appreciate a gift that was made just for them!

Cheese scones with watercress and goat’s cheese recipe

What a great idea for the shoulder season (wishful thinking!) between winter and spring! Something savory and warm for the winter, and bright, crispy and tangy for spring! Scones made well are lovely, and chèvre + cress = pure deliciousness. This wonderful lunch/high tea idea and pic from Delicious Magazine out of the UK! I have converted the measurements for those who don’t weigh their ingredients.

Serving instructions

  1. Makes 8 |
  2. Takes 15 minutes to make, 10-12 minutes to cook |
Cheese scones with watercress and goat’s cheese

Ingredients

  1. 35g (1.5 ounces) chilled butter, cut into small dice, plus extra for greasing
  2. 225g (8 ounces, or 1 Cup) self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  3. 1½ tsp baking powder
  4. ½ tsp English mustard powder
  5. ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  6. ½ tsp fine salt
  7. 150g (5 ounces) mature Cheddar (vegetarian Cheddar if required), coarsely grated
  8. 1 free-range medium egg
  9. 1 heaped tbsp soured cream
  10. 50-70ml (1/4 to 1/3 Cup) whole milk

For the filling

  1. 150g (5 ounces) soft, rindless goat’s cheese
  2. 75g (2.5 ounces) bunch of watercress, stalks trimmed

Method

  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/. Lightly grease a non-stick baking sheet with butter.
  2. 2. Sift the self-raising flour, baking powder, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Add the diced butter and process into very fine crumbs. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and stir in 100g (3 ounces) of the grated Cheddar.
  3. 3. Break the egg into a measuring jug, add the soured cream and make up to 150ml with the milk. Beat together well.
  4. 4. Pour all but 2 tsp of the egg, soured cream and milk mixture into the dry ingredients, mix briefly with a round-bladed knife and bring together with your hands to make a soft dough, taking care not to over-mix it. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured work surface and knead very lightly and very briefly until just smooth.
  5. 5. Lightly roll out the dough until it is 1.5cm (1/2″) thick. Dip a 7cm (2 1/2″) plain pastry cutter into some flour, and use to cut out 8 rounds, gently re-kneading the trimmings together and re-rolling as you go.
  6. 6. Place the scones spaced apart on the baking sheet, brush with the rest of the egg and milk mixture and sprinkle the tops with the remaining grated cheese. Bake the scones for 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven, slide onto a wire rack and leave to cool a little.
  7. 7. To serve, split the scones in half, then spread the bottom half generously with the goat’s cheese. Top with a generous amount of watercress, then the top half of the scone, and eat straight away.