Roasted Red Pepper, Baby Spinach & Goat Cheese Sandwiches

•   2 cups baby spinach leaves (2 oz.)
•   3 tbsp. raspberry vinaigrette
•   4 slices dark wheat or whole grain bread
•   2 drained roasted red peppers, cut into strips (2 oz.)
•   1 oz. goat cheese
•   2 tbsp. thinly sliced green onions

Directions
1. TOSS together spinach and vinaigrette. Arrange spinach mixture on 2 slices bread.
2. TOP with red peppers, cheese, green onions and remaining bread.

Serves 2

Chocolate-Hazelnut and Goat Cheese Melt

Makes four sandwiches

8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) Nutella (or other hazelnut-chocolate spread)
4 ounces Appleton Creamery Classic Plain goat cheese, at room temperature
8 slices country white bread (1/4 inch thick)
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

In a small bowl, stir the Nutella and cheese together.

To assemble: Butter one side each slice of bread. Place four slices on your work surface, buttered side down. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the four slices so that it is about 1/4 inch thick (if it’s any thicker, the sandwich will be too gooey). Place the remaining four bread slices on top, buttered side up. Cut off the crusts (this helps pinch the bread together to create a tight seal).

Stovetop method: Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat for two minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet (in batches if necessary), cover and cook for two minutes or until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to soften. Uncover and turn the sandwiches with a spatula. Cook for one minute or until the undersides are golden brown. Turn the sandwiches again and cook for 30 seconds, or until the cheese is soft and creamy. Serve immediately.

adapted from
GREAT GRILLED CHEESE: 50 INNOVATIVE RECIPES FOR STOVETOP, GRILL, AND SANDWICH MAKER, by Laura Werlin, Stewart, Tabori & Chang, New York, 2004

Ricotta Jam Tart with Almond Crust

CRUST

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup toasted almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
cold water

Grease a 9 inch tart pan with a removable bottom. In the bowl of the food processor, mix together the flour, almonds and sugar. Pulse until fine. Add the butter, pulsing briefly until it is worked into the flour and is the size of small peas. Add the egg, extract and a tablespoon of cold water, pulsing only long enough to make clumps and the dough sticks together. Add more cold water if necessary. Gather the dough into a ball.
Fit the dough into the tart pan, pressing into place. Chill for at least 1 and up to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prick the inside of the crust with the tines of a fork. Bake for 15 minutes, check for bubbling and prick again with the tines of a fork if necessary. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a rack.

FILLING

1/2 cup Appleton Creamery sheep’s milk ricotta
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar or more or less to taste
1/3 cup whipping cream or 1/2 cup Marscapone)
1 1/2 cups softened jam (soft plum, Damson plum, fruit of your choice)
mint leaves for garnish
Whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Puree the ricotta in the bowl of the food processor with the vanilla and sugar. Fold in the whipped cream( or marscapone). If desired, sweeten more to taste.
Spoon the filling into the tart shell. Spread the jam over the top and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve at room temperature

CHERYL’S NOTES: This recipe is has its source in Lynne Rossetto Kasper’s book, “The Italian Country Table.” For several years I have been making her Soft Plum Jam from my green gage plum harvest, and drooling over this tart recipe. Kasper notes, the key to this tart is the ricotta, and she says to be sure to get an artisan, not a factory, product or you will be sorely disappointed! I am so excited that Appleton Creamery is making ricotta, now I can prepare this delicious tart!!
The tart is best eaten right after it is filled. The baked shell can be stored wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for several days

Goat Cheese Mousse with Mint Pesto

Serves 4

For Mint Pesto
2 C loosley packed mint leaves
3 oz. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C pine nuts (seasoned and toasted)
1/2 C olive oil

For Goat Cheese Mousse
8 oz. Appleton Creamery plain goat cheese
3/4 C lightly whipped heavy cream

Mint leaf for ganish
Crudites and slices of fresh baked bread as an accompaniment

Make the pesto: Combine the mint, parmesan and pine nuts in the food processor and process until finely chopped. With motor running, add olive oil, blending until smooth.

Make the goat cheese mousse: Process the goat cheese in the cleaned processor until smooth. Add the whipped cream and blend just until incorporated.

Spoon the pesto in the center of a platter. Place the mousse directly on top of the pesto so that you just see the green pesto oil around the perimeter of the mousse. Serve with the crudities and bread slices.

 

Fresh Chevre & Wild Mushroom Ravioli

6 9 x 12 sheets of fresh ravioli
8 oz. Appleton Creamery Classic Plain chevre
1 oz. Dried wild mushrooms
1 C boiling water
2T fresh thyme
1tsp salt
fresh black pepper to taste

Pour boiling water over mushrooms and let soak until mushrooms are soft. Reserve water.

Chop mushrooms into tiny pieces, mix with chevre, thyme, salt and pepper until fully combined. With a teaspoon, roll 36 balls of cheese and refrigerate for one hour.

On a sheet of pasta, place 12 balls of cheese mix, equally spaced out 3 x 4. Lightly dampen the pasta with the mushroom water, around the cheese balls. Place another sheet of pasta over the cheese and press around balls until the cheese is sealed in between the pasta sheets. (You may need to roll out the top layer of pasta a little to fit over the cheese filled one.) Cut sheets into 12 ravioli and set on a cookie sheet sprinkled with corn meal (this will keep the ravioli from sticking to each other)Repeat with the rest of the pasta sheets and refrigerate again for at least one hour.

Boil a large pot of salted water and put pasta in for 6-7 minutes or until the ravioli float to the top. Serve with a light Parmesan cream sauce or fresh marinara.

Baked Goat Cheese with Spicy Tomato Sauce

1/2 T olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onion
pinch sugar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small serrano chili pepper, seeded and minced
1 pound vine or plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1-1/2 cups canned tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
2 T dry white wine (optional)
1 T minced fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces Appleton Creamery goat cheese

In large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and sugar; cook, stirring often, until onion begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, and serrano chili. Cook, stirring often, until mixture is medium brown in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, orange juice and wine. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add small amounts of water if mixture becomes too dry. For a chunkier sauce, cook less. Remove from heat, stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Form goat cheese into 8 medallions and put in small, shallow baking dish and surround with tomato sauce (do not cover the cheese with sauce).

Bake, uncovered, until sauce begins to bubble at edges and cheese is hot, about 20 minutes.

Serve warm with toasted baguette rounds. Makes 16 servings.

Bittersweet Chocolate & Chevre Truffles

serves 4-6

6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz. fresh unsalted chevre (try it with Appleton Creamery orange chevre!)
2 tbls. confectioner’s sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. lemon extract
cocoa powder
ancho chile powder
cinnamon

In a stainless bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring til smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and let the chocolate cool slightly. In a bowl, whisk together chevre, sugar, vanilla and lemon extract until light and fluffy. Whisk in the chocolate until the mixture is combined well. Chill the mixture covered with wax paper for 1 hour, or until it is firm.

Roll heaping teaspoons of the mixture into balls. Divide into 3 bowls. Roll one bowl of truffles in cocoa powder, one in pure ancho chile powder and one in cinnamon. Chill the truffles on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper for 30 minutes, or until they are firm. The truffles keep in an airtight container, chilled for 3 days.

Makes about 24 truffles.

Lemon-Muscatel Sauce for Truffles

24 oz muscatel or orange muscat wine
3 tbls sugar
1 cup lemon juice

Reduce to 1 cup in a non-reactive pot. Thicken with a touch of arrowroot or cornstarch if desired. Add 1 tsp fresh lemon zest strips.

Garnish

peeled & seeded orange sections
roasted filberts
marjoram leaves

Coat a 9-inch plate with the lemon sauce.
Set one each of the three truffles on each plate. Alternate with orange sections. Coat one roasted filbert in the lemon sauce and place in the center of the plate. Sprinkle a few marjoram or lemon thyme leaves onto the sauce.

Pasta with Goat Cheese & Asparagus

1 pound asparagus
2 tablespoons chives, chopped
1 pound fettuccine
5 ounces plain goat cheese
2 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper to taste

Scrape and trim the asparagus. Slice into 1/4 inch lengths. In a kettle bring 3 quarts of water to a boil. Add the fettuccine, boiling vigorously for 9 to 12 minutes. Drain the pasta.

Melt the butter in the kettle and add the asparagus. Saute for about 1 minute and add the fettuccine, goat cheese, chives, salt & pepper. Pour in the reserved water. Toss well and serve.

Goat Cheese Souffle with Thyme

butter, plus 2 T parmesan
1-1/4 C milk or cream
bay leaf, thyme springs, 2 thin onion slices
3 T butter
3 T flour
salt & pepper
cayenne
4 eggs yolks
1 C goat cheese
6 egg whites

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 6-C souffle dish or an 8-C gratin dish and coat with parmesan. Heat milk with herbs until it boils. Set aside to steep, then drain.
Melt butter in sauce pan. Stir in flour, whisk in milk all at once and stir vigorously for 1 minute as it thickens then add 3/4 tsp salt, pepper, cayenne. Remove from heat. Beat in egg yolks one at a time until well blended then stir in the goat cheese. Don’t worry about smootthness.
Beat egg whites with a pinch of salt until it forms firm peaks, then stir 1/4 into base to lighten mixture. Then fold in the rest, transfer to prepared dish, put in center of oven and lower heat to 375. Bake 30 minutes until golden and just a bit wobbly in the center. Remove. Scatter thyme over the top and serve.