Friday, July 16, 2010

Frozen Lemon Chèvre Cookie Bites

Did you know goat cheese is higher in protein and lower in fat than cow's milk cheese, and can be eaten by people who are lactose intolerant? If you're a goat cheese lover, you know how good it tastes, how smooth its texture feels melting on your tongue, and how just seeing its crumbly white chunks can make your mouth water. Knowing how good it is for you just adds to the pleasure of eating it.

Recently while watching the local talk show 'View from the Bay', I saw a frozen lemon chèvre cookie recipe that intrigued me. Demonstrated by Jacquelyn Buchanan, director of Culinary Development at Sonoma-based Laura Chenel's Chèvre company, the recipe sounded simple, refreshing, and with a wonderful combination of ingredients. I wanted to experience how this unusual mix of flavors would taste.

Instead of using Belgian waffle cookies to sandwich the lemon curd cheese filling, I decided to use store-bought gingersnaps. I've always loved the tart and spicy combination of lemon curd and gingersnaps, which I first tasted at Lisa's Tea Treasures. These cookies are easy to prepare, and make a great cold confection to enjoy during hot summer months. The filling reminds me of lemon cheesecake, and the goat cheese flavor finely complements the other ingredients.

Here is the recipe adapted with my changes. The original recipe, along with several other goat cheese recipes, can be found on the company's website.

Frozen Lemon Chèvre Cookie Bites

  • 8 oz Laura Chenel's Chef's Chèvre
  • 8 oz lemon curd
  • 1 box gingersnap cookies
  1. Mix equal portions of Laura Chenel's Chèvre and lemon curd.
  2. Top a gingersnap cookie with a spoonful of the chèvre/curd mixture. Close with another cookie to make a sandwich.
  3. Continue making cookie sandwiches until all the filling is used. Place cookies in layers in a container and freeze for at least 2 hours.
  4. The cookies can be made a week in advance, wrapped tightly in foil or in a glass container. Keep frozen.
My sister Sara served another great goat cheese appetizer at a recent dinner party. She simply placed a log of goat cheese on a serving platter, topped it with lemon zest and drizzled honey, and served with crackers. It was a delightful mixture of creamy, tart, and sweet, and so easy to make.

I love Jacquelyn's approach to educating others about artisan cheese. "I let the cheese dictate what should be done with it," she says. Well said and well done.

P.S. I took my two daughters to see a taping of 'View from the Bay' which was both fun and informative. You can get free audience tickets on their website.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vancouver Vacation Eats

I just got back from vacation in Vancouver and am itching to write about some of the fantastic food we tasted there. Even though Vancouver's far north of Silicon Valley, I can't not share these culinary discoveries:

- Japa Dogs: I first learned about these fusion-flavored hot dogs on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations show.  Sold from a cart on a busy downtown street corner, Japa Dogs make a tasty lunch treat. Atop the familiar hot dog sits surprising Japanese condiments. Mine had a combination of Japanese mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce, onion, and dried seaweed. Unexpectedly yummy!

- BeaverTail Pastries: On the top of majestic Grouse Mountain we found these fried confections shaped like you-know-what.  We tried BeaverTails with cinnamon sugar, apples and cinnamon, and Nutella. Crispy yet soft, warm, sweet, and sticky. Definitely delicious.

- Mongolian BBQ: We had to make a return trip to this restaurant for dinner. Part of the fun was participating in creating our meals. We filled our bowls with noodles, meat, vegetables, and whatever sauce creations we chose. I used the recipe for the House Special sauce with six ingredients: 1 small scoop each of sesame oil and honey lemon, and 1/2 scoop each of crushed garlic, mongo pau, mongo sauce, and mongo wine. Then the cook poured our bowls out one at a time on a large 4' diameter circular griddle and cooked up the concoctions with long wooden sticks.  Each bowl cooks up fast in about a minute. Our restaurant was all you can eat so both Brad and Jacob had seconds.

- Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies. When in Canada, try the maple goodies. We loved Christie's Maple Leaf Cookies from the grocery store. Crunchy maple leaf shaped cookies plus a sweet maple cream filling equals pure maple goodness. We also enjoyed Tim Horton's maple dipped donuts at the airport. Sweet.

We stopped in Seattle on our way to Vancouver to visit with Brad's sister's family and enjoyed even more scrumptious food: salmon chowder at the salmon locks; French palmiers at Pike's Market (I loved that place! It was like the Ferry Building on steroids... I could spend several days eating my way through the market); Stu's grilled wild salmon and flank steak; Dawn's crab spread; and a memorable Vietnamese pho and sweet coffee lunch at a restaurant called (no kidding) What the Pho!

I love trying new foods on vacation. It's part of discovering and experiencing different places. Reminiscing over flavorful meals helps create great vacation memories. I adore Vancouver and definitely want to go back someday. Happy travels!