California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

A Very California Salad
and a bit of Oregon too

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese
Willamette Valley Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt
Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

A soft-ripened goat cheese accented with a line of bluish ash reminiscent of the fog often blanketing the expansive Humboldt County, California coastline is the centerpiece of this salad.

Pioneering American cheesemaker Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove conceived Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese in the early 80s in homage to cow’s milk French Morbier, with ash separating its light cakey layers.

Beets are available at California Farmers Markets year-round. And hazelnuts come from our wetter neighbor just to the north, Oregon (close enough).

Peppery arugula, earthy beets, toasty hazelnuts, and a tangy yogurt harmonize with the elegant and luscious goat cheese in this quintessential West Coast salad. A sweet-tart beet vinaigrette adds sunny notes with hints of herbs and fruit.

Arugula Flowers

Blooming in January, pretty arugula flowers come from my Southern California garden. Arugula flowers make a delightful garnish, they taste like light arugula leaves, maybe with a hint of sweetness.

Roasted Red and Golden Beets, Humboldt Fog Goat Cheese, Hazelnuts, Turmeric-Black Pepper-Maple Yogurt, Arugula, Arugula Flowers, Beet Vinaigrette

Cypress Grove describes their cheese with flavors of buttermilk and fresh cream, complemented with floral notes, herbaceous overtones, and a clean citrus finish. As Humboldt Fog matures, the creamline develops, the flavor intensifies and the subtle tanginess grows more pronounced.

California Beet and Goat Cheese Salad Recipe

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Sweet & Savory Autumn Tarte Tatin

butternut & acorn squash tarte tatin, bacon, goat cheese, hazelnut, sage
Sweet & Savory Autumn Tarte Tatin

Butternut and Acorn Squash
Bacon, Maple, Hazelnut, Goat Cheese, Sage

I have a feeling I’m going to get more requests to make the Sweet & Savory Autumn Tarte Tatin this season. With its nutty, tangy, and sucré flavors, the smoky aromas, rich earthy colors, and crispy, creamy, flaky textures ~ the famous inverted French pie originally made with apples back in the late 1800’s ~ is heart and soul of the inspiration for this recipe.

Butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup are intensified and caramelized at the bottom of the cast iron pan while the pastry on top remains dry, light and crisp. Stephanie Tatin’s inadvertent “mistake” in cooking an apple pie up-side-down has become a part of culinary history and its method copied in various forms over the years. Sometimes sweet, sometimes savory ~ here I present a delightful Autumn tarte that is both…

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The Gratitude Tree & Holiday Appetizers

The Gratitude Tree
The Gratitude Tree

After a decade of sharing our Thanksgiving gratitude on place-cards, we have a spiffy new ambassador for sharing our thankfulness! It’s a Gratitude Tree. In the past, we would put a place-card and pen on the table at every setting. During the beginning of the meal everyone was encouraged to write their sentiments on the card. We saved these cards year after year so each guest could reflect on past years’ appreciation.

This year everyone gets a personalized paper leaf on which they can express their gratitude. Then after dinner, the leaves are hung on the tree. Guests can read and share tributes throughout the week. We’ll save the leaves, which will re-appear on the tree in years to come…as our tree blooms with an abundance of joy, thankfulness, and gratefulness.

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Green Chard & Shiitake Tacos with Epazote

First in a Series of Superiores Tacos Vegetarianos

green chard shiitake tacos, epazote
Garlicky Green Chard & Shiitake Tacos
Seared Onion, Cana de Cabra Spanish Goat Cheese, Chiffonade of Epazote
Corn & Whole Wheat Blend Tortilla, Chipotle Tomatillo Salsa

It was worth a drive down to the Bestway Supermercado to pick up fresh epazote for these extraordinario vegetarian tacos. These tacos are not your traditional tacos sans carne. This flavor profile stands on its own. In fact, the addition of chicken or pork or steak couldn’t improve on their fresh earthy robust sabor. 

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Farmers’ Market Fantasy

farmers market basket
before

You’ve heard the expression “like a kid in a candy store?” Well that kid was me this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market in Palos Verdes. If it looked tasty, I bought it. No restraint whatsoever. From Japanese eggplant to okra to heirloom tomatoes. And asatsuki, carrots, red serranos, beets, patty pan squash, spinach, garlic, Anaheim chiles, Thai basil, mitsuba…I had no plan, no recipe in mind. I was simply vegetable-crazy.

vegetable stack
after

8-layer farmers’ market fantasy
curried fresh carrot juice sauce with blanched okra & mitsuba
grilled green & yellow patty pan squash
sautéed spinach with sesame, garlic, soy sauce
crispy polenta cake
fire-roasted anaheim chile
fresh goat cheese & asatsuki
cumin dusted grilled beet
spicy smoky heirloom tomato & thai basil
roasted japanese eggplant, maldon smoked sea salt flakes

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Kristy’s Chèvre Chaud Salad

Chèvre Chaud
Mixed Baby Lettuces, Teardrop Tomatoes
Chopped Hard Boiled Egg, Toasted Pinenuts
Dijon Vinaigrette
Kristy’s Table Setting
Last May we traveled to Paris to celebrate my sister-in-law’s 40th birthday. And recently I went to visit my family in Chicago. Of course we had to get together and have a dinner party with “the gang who went to Paris for Kristy’s birthday weekend.” And I was more than happy to be the chef.
PARIS REUNION
Le Menu

Pommery Brut Champagne
Starter
parmigiano-reggiano
toasted buttered baguette
Salade
“Kristy’s Salad”
chevre chaud, mixed lettuces, toasted pinenuts, 
hard cooked egg, teardrop tomatoes
dijon vinaigrette
Puligny Montrachet 2006 Domaine Carillon 
Plat Principal
wild mushroom agnolotti
pinor nior veal stock reduction
fried sage
Domaine Serene “Evenstad Reserve” 2006 Pinot Noir
Le Dessert

a drizzle of honey
whipped crème fraîche

Kristy’s  Chèvre Chaud Salad

Form goat cheese into medallions and refrigerate. Dip chilled goat cheese medallion in a beaten egg, then in panko breadcrumbs. Fry in hot peanut oil turning once. When the breadcrumbs are golden, transfer to paper towel. Season with sea salt.

My favored Dijon Vinaigrette comes from Jacques Pepin:
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
  • 3 Tbs Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 c extra virgin olive oil
I also a 2 tsp minced shallot.
Put all ingredients in a jar, screw on the lid, and shake very well.

This salad is named for my sister-in-law Kristy. Several years ago I made this salad for her and it became one of her favorites. Now, like enjoying a Chicago-style hot dog or having lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab, this salad is also one of our culinary traditions. I make it every time I come to town.

French Goat Cheese – Cheese of the Month

Goat Cheese Katsu Salad
Soba Noodle, Edamame, Spring Greens 
Creamy Sesame & Sweet Soy Dressing
Goat Cheese Katsu:

Dip chilled goat cheese medallion in egg white, then in panko breadcrumb/black sesame seed mixture. Fry in hot peanut oil until golden, transfer to paper towel. Season with sea salt.
Soba Noodles with Edamame:

Toss cooked chilled soba (buckwheat) noodles, edamame (shelled boiled green soy bean) and sliced scallions with dressing.

Creamy Sesame & Sweet Soy Dressing:

Heat ½ c. each low-sodium soy sauce and mirin (rice wine) in a sauce pan, with 1 t. each minced garlic and ginger. Reduce by half. Add honey to taste. Let cool then mix with 1/4 c. tahini (sesame seed paste).

Assemble Goat Cheese Katsu Salad:

Place baby leaf spring greens on a platter, drizzle with dressing. Place soba noodles alongside the spring greens, top with warm Goat Cheese Katsu medallion.

I used the delicious Ile de France Goat Cheese. It is an indulgent, fresh, tangy, snowy white rich cheese made from milk of goats grazing in the French Alps. Looking for ideas for the next time you serve goat cheese? There are many creative cheese recipes in the Ile de France Spring Follies here.

The inspiration for this cheese served with an Asian-style twist came from my favorite local restaurant, Gina Lee’s Bistro, owned by my dear friends Scott & Gina Lee. They serve a delicious Chicken Katsu over Soba Noodles with Asian Vegetables. And if you are a fan of chèvre chaud you might enjoy this pumpkin seed crusted version as well.

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Goat Cheese, Fall Salad

Pumpkin Seed Crusted Goat Cheese
Roasted Beets
Green Salad with Pepitas and Walnuts
Pumpkin Seed Oil Balsamic Vinaigrette

Roasted/salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) are ground in a food processor then mixed with panko breadcrumbs.

A peppered goat cheese medallion is dipped in egg then coated with the pumpkin seed breadcrumb mixture.

The medallion is fried in peanut oil until golden, then transferred to a paper towel while the salad is composed. Sprinkle the hot medallion with a little sea salt.
Combine equal amounts of pumpkin seed oil and walnut oil with balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard and salt & pepper for the dressing. Toss with mixed greens, roasted pepitas, walnuts, then serve with roasted beets. 
Another tasty salad using this walnut oil can be found here. This pumpkin seed oil is from the Styrian region of Austria. I seem to be on an Austrian kick lately, first with my new favorite wine,  Grüner Veltliner and now this oil. And if you visit Merisi’s blog, I’m sure you will fall in love with Austria too. 

I am submitting this dish to Lore of Culinarty blog for her Original Recipes ongoing event. I’ve made Chèvre Chaud many times but never used pumpkin seed as a coating. Very happy with the result. 
Have you tried pumpkin seed oil? I just recently found it at the market and would be interested to hear how you are using it. A terrific product for Fall, I’m excited to experiment. La Tourangelle’s website has a recipe using pumpkin seed oil with salmon sashimi. Hmmm

Salmon & Goat Cheese Quiche


Ah yes, more salmon! This time it is the cold-smoked salmon baked in a quiche with goat cheese, fresh chives and dill.


Fresh sniped dill added to the custard.


Pour the herbed mixture of eggs and cream over the goat cheese and salmon layered in the crust.


I use my Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Tarte Tatin pan for making quiche as well as tarte tatin. This is a great pan!


My ratio for quiche custard is:

  • 5 whole large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups of warm light cream
  • 1 T flour
  • salt and pepper
I beat this with an electric hand mixer.
Bake at 350 for about 1 hour (maybe a little longer).


Uh, oops. How did that get in here?

I’m keeping no secrets from you: I used Trader Joe’s Baking Spray with Flour and Pillsbury Pie Crust 🙂

P.S. Happy Pi Day! 3.14.2008

My egg pie is a tribute to this mysterious and most important mathematical constant known as pi: 3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375105820974944592307816406286208998628034825342117067982148086513282306647093844609550582231725359408128481117450284102701938521105559644622948954930381964428810975665933446128475648233786783165271201909145648566923460348610454326648213393607260249141273724587006606315588174881520920962829254091715364367892590360011330530548204665213841469…it’s an irrational and transcendental number that never terminates…

Pi Day has an official website: www.piday.org
Pi Palindrome: I PREFER PI
Did you know Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day 1879?

Stuffed Chicken Breast, Mushroom Cognac Cream

Stuffed Chicken Breast
With Spinach, Mushroom, Leek, and Goat Cheese
Mushroom Cognac Cream Sauce

The Stuffing

  • Spinach
  • Mushroom
  • Leek
  • Goat Cheese
Chopped spinach, sautéed with butter, seasoned with fresh ground nutmeg, salt and pepper. Chopped crimini mushrooms sautéed until the water is evaporated, with salt, pepper and thyme. Chopped leeks are sautéed until soft. The stuffing is a mixture of two parts spinach, two parts mushroom, one part leek and one part fresh goat cheese. The vegetables are cooked separately, cooled to room temperature, then combined with the goat cheese. The chicken breast is stuffed, secured with a skewer, and baked at 350 for about one hour.


Mushroom Cognac Cream

Add butter and minced shallots to the chicken pan juices and sauté until the shallots are soft. Add about 1/4 c. cognac, flambé to burn off the alcohol. Add about 1/2 c. rich chicken stock, sautéed sliced mushrooms and fresh thyme. Finish by whisking in crème fraîche , adjust seasoning.


Le Menu

  • Mixed Lettuces with a Warm Goat Cheese Crouton, Toasted Walnuts, Thin Sliced Red Onion, Tarragon/Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
  • Stuffed Chicken Breast, Mushroom Cognac Cream
  • Rice Pilaf with Fresh Herbs
  • Chocolate Soufflé

    A sincere thanks to some special Alpha Phis for helping make this a fabulous evening.