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roasted vegetable stacks with goat cheese

roasted veggie stacks with goat cheeseI am in veggie heaven with these roasted vegetable stacks and in one recipe I get the daily recommended servings of vegetables; my kind of dish.  Although the end of Summer means goodbye to warmer days (sigh), its departure signals the bounty of the harvest (yay!).  It’s the perfect time of the year to grab all the locally grown goodies from markets and farmers roadside stands.  Continue Reading →

Endive Salad

endive salad by The Culinary ChaseI know, another salad but I promise this one is a keeper! Endive (pronounced on-deev) is a favorite of ours and because I don’t buy it that often it remains a treat whenever I serve it.  This endive salad is bursting full of flavor and will have your taste buds doing a happy dance.  Ok, I am exaggerating a bit, but you will enjoy the way the creamy/saltiness from the goat cheese mixes well with the sweetness of the candied pistachios.

Serves 2
2 to 3 heads of Belgian endive
goat cheese
1 ripe pear, thinly sliced
extra-virgin olive oil
white wine or sherry vinegar

Candied Pistachios –
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup demerara sugar

candied pistachio by The Culinary ChaseTo make the candied pistachios, preheat oven to 350°f. In a small bowl, whisk together honey, water, salt, and granulated sugar until smooth. Toss the pistachios and demerara sugar in the honey mixture, stirring well to coat. Spread the nut mixture onto a parchment-lined baking tray in a single layer and bake until the nuts are golden brown (8-10 minutes).   Cool and break into small pieces.

Belgian endive by The Culinary ChaseTrim ends of endive and separate endive heads into single leaves. Arrange leaves on plates followed by pear slices. Add crumbled goat cheese. Add a splash of olive oil and white wine vinegar. Top salad with candied pistachios and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  Keep an eye on the pistachios as they can quickly turn from a golden brown to a burnt brown!  If you can’t find pistachios, substitute with whatever is your favorite nut.  A crisp and crunchy salad with a hint of sweetness.  Enjoy!

Goat Cheese Stuffed Baby Peppers

Goat Cheese Stuffed Baby Peppers by The Culinary ChaseYou’re walking past the produce section of your local grocery store and a bag of sweet baby peppers catch your eye. You look at their pretty rainbow colors, think about what you could them, and then decide they’ll spoil before you can use them. It’s a usual scenario for me especially when I’m preparing meals for two and we don’t have a freezer, only the one in the refrigerator which is tiny to begin with (the price one pays for an ice maker). I grabbed the bag anyway…I’m a sucker for pretty-looking produce! I roasted some of the peppers and added them to a sausage and quinoa polenta dish. The remainder were used in this dish. We enjoy cheese of all sorts – well not the ones with fruit added (yuck!). Goat cheese is so versatile and perfect to use with baby peppers. For this recipe, try using a goat cheese log (chèvre) which is soft and spreadable.  A super easy appetizer to make over and over again!

Serves 2 to 4

1/2 package baby bell peppers
goat cheese log
handful fresh mint, chopped
handful fresh parsley, chopped
pinch of chili pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced garlic
good quality balsamic vinegar (optional)
olive oil

baby bell peppersPreheat oven to 375f.
In a small bowl, mix goat cheese, herbs, chili pepper flakes and add a splash of olive oil. The oil helps to make the cheese more spreadable.

goat cheese stuffed bell peppers by The Culinary ChaseSlice peppers lengthwise, clear seeds and any white membrane. In the cavity of each pepper add a drop or two of balsamic vinegar. Use a small spoon to fill the peppers with the herbed goat cheese. Bake 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and lightly browned. If you like, use the broiler in your oven to finish off the browning process but keep an eye on it as it will brown quickly.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
Skip the herbs and add a tablespoon or more of homemade pesto to the goat cheese. Enjoy!

Roasted Squash & Apple Soup with Goat’s Cheese & Bacon

roasted squash & apple soup by The Culinary ChaseSoup. It needs no explanation – everyone knows what it is and it’s been around for a millennia.  There are so many variations.  I love the combination of vegetables and fruit.  There’s something so opposite about the two that you’d think there’s no way they belong together in the same pot…but trust me, the two are a marriage made in heaven.  Throw in some cheese and bacon and you’ll be singing hallelujah! The idea of roasting squash with apples may sound a bit odd but fondly enough they end up being best mates.  Granny Smith apples are tart but when roasted the apples become sweeter as does the squash.  Top this with the distinctive flavor from goat’s cheese and smoky accents from the bacon, it’s a soup that will have you coming back for more.

Serves 4
adapted from What Katie Ate

1kg squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into small chunks
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons sage powder
olive oil
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into small chunks
8 strips bacon
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
5 cups chicken stock
120g goat’s cheese
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 350f and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Place the squash, cumin, sage and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl and season, then toss to combine. Place onto the tray, arrange in a single layer and roast 15 minutes. Add apple and cook for a further 10 minutes or until tender.
3. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium heat add bacon and cook. Set aside to drain on paper towel.
4. Clean out the same pan and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in the frying pan. Add the onion, garlic and cook until softened.
5. Transfer the squash mixture to a large saucepan along with 2 cups of stock and half the cheese. Use an immersion hand blender and whiz until smooth. Add remaining stock to pan and heat until hot.
6. To serve, top soup with bacon and remaining goat’s cheese.  Season to taste.

The Culinary Chase’s Note: I used 4 cups of broth as I like my soups hearty and thick.  Enjoy!

Crostini with Beetroot Jam and Goat’s Cheese

Crostini with Beetroot Jam and Goat’s Cheese by The Culinary ChaseHoliday parties are in full swing now and we all have our favorite dishes we like to make that tend to be specific for this time of year. I, too, find myself repeating appetizers especially those that are given the two thumbs up by my family. So it can be daunting to want to step out of that culinary comfort zone and spring on a new appetizer to your guests.  The ingredients in this recipe may sound like an odd combination but beetroot jam and goat’s cheese go really well together.   It makes for a lovely presentation and will entice your guests to give it a try.

Makes 24 slices
inspired by Delicious Magazine

Beetroot Jam:
2 large beetroots, peeled, coarsely grated
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
sprig of mint

2 baguettes, sliced on an angle and toasted
150g soft goat’s cheese, whipped to a smooth paste with a bit of olive oil (add 1 teaspoon minced garlic, optional)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

To make the beetroot jam, place beetroot in a saucepan with oil, vinegar, sugar, five-spice, mint and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Discard mint and allow to cool slightly.

To assemble, spread goat cheese on the toasted bread slice followed by beetroot jam. Add pine nuts and serve.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:  To protect your hands from stains, use gloves when peeling and grating beets. Beetroot jam will last a few days in the refrigerator.  It’s delicious served in a charcuterie platter, with aged cheese, beef sandwich and on crackers.  Enjoy!