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flavors, the smoky aromas, rich earthy colors, and crispy, creamy, flaky textures ~ the famous inverted French pie originally made with apples back in the late 1800’s ~ is heart and soul of the inspiration for this recipe.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.