I was watching the news this morning and learned that the world has an overrun of cheese – such a huge overrun of cheese that it will take each and every person on the planet eating an extra 3 pounds of cheese this year to get the cheese market back on kilter. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready, able and willing to do my part for the cheese industry. The recipes this week all feature cheese. Some are hot and gooey, some are cool and firm, but all are deliciously cheesy! (Photography by Paul Nurnberg.)
Creamy Eggs with Goat Cheese
Stirring a little goat cheese into lightly scrambled eggs transforms a simple dish into a delicious and special brunch.
½ cup light cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
Beat the eggs in a bowl with the cream and marjoram; season with salt and pepper. Melt the butter in a nonstick skillet, add the eggs and stir over low heat until they are beginning to set. Stir in the goat cheese and continue to cook briefly, still stirring, until cheese melts into the eggs. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Pistachio Peppercorn Crostini
According to Spanish legend, tapas got its start when King Alfonso the 10th issued a decree that all Spanish taverns must serve a bit of food or tapa with each glass of wine. Derived from the Spanish verb tapar, to cover, a tapa is a bit to accompany drinks, customarily eaten when standing up. During King Alfonso’s days , a savory treat such as bread or cheese was placed over the top of every glass of wine sold to keep out the flies and dust between sips.
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, chopped
1 loaf French bread (12-inches long), cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Pistachios, to garnish
Combine cheeses, peppercorns and pistachios. Mix well; set aside. Brush both sides of each bread slice with olive oil. Preheat broiler; broil bread slices until lightly browned on both sides, turning them once. Spread each slice with the cheese mixture; garnish with pistachios. Serve 2 slices per person. Serves 6.
Black Bean-Goat Cheese Dip
This chip and dip combo is so savory and satisfying, you’ll never notice it’s actually good for you!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons ground cumin
2 (15½-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed, divided
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
Freshly ground black pepper
2 (4-ounce) cans chopped green chiles
½ cup sliced green onion
½ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 (11-ounce) log fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Fresh cilantro leaves, to garnish
Sliced green onion, to garnish
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cumin and 1 can of black beans and lightly mash using a potato masher. Stir in vegetable broth and remaining can of beans. Simmer until very thick, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool. Stir in green chiles, green onions and cilantro. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bottom of a 1-quart baking dish, spread half of the bean mixture. Top with half of the crumbled goat cheese. Repeat layering once more, ending with goat cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is bubbling. Garnish with cilantro leaves and green onion. Serve dip hot with tortilla chips on the side. Serves 8.
Baked Marinated Feta
A block of salty feta teamed with fresh pita bread makes an easy, impromptu appetizer. Marinate the feta in some good olive oil flavored with herbs and bake it in the oven, and you’ll have something truly delicious.
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
8 ounces feta cheese
Pita bread, cut into wedges
Combine olive oil, red pepper, lemon zest, garlic, black pepper and oregano in a zip-top plastic bag and squeeze to combine. Add the feta and marinate for 2 hours at room temperature. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place feta and marinating ingredients in a gratin dish. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until feta becomes soft and slightly golden. Serve with wedges of pita bread. Serves 4 to 6.
Date and Walnut Tea Sandwiches
Toasting the walnuts imparts a richer flavor. You can use toasted nuts in every recipe that calls for nuts.
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ cup chopped pitted dates
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Whole wheat bread
30 walnut halves, toasted
Combine cream cheese, heavy cream, dates and chopped walnuts together; mix well. Spread on slices of whole wheat bread. Garnish with walnut halves. Makes 30.
The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of two cookbooks, Gold Medal Winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 525-0350 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.