Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Gift of Cheese... Goat Cheese!

Summer is officially the season of gatherings.  Barbecues, weddings, showers, birthdays, holidays and just-because parties are always popping up everywhere!  We all know you should never show up at someone's house empty handed but how many times do we just take the easy way out and grab a bottle of wine or something from the bakery?  Too many times and that all stops here.  

While walking around our local farmers market, I noticed that Lake Erie Creamery was selling jars of Goat Cheese Pearls which was simply goat cheese marinated in an herb infused oil.   Genius!  So I decided to make my own and it was so decadent.  Bread, cheese, butter and olive oil are my kryptonite.  Seriously.  It takes every bit of willpower not to eat at least one if these items with every meal.  

This jar of amazing-ness makes for the most perfect hostess gift!  The lucky recipient can simply slice the bread and grill or toast then serve it with the spreadable cheese and infused oil.  After making this once, I realized that the possibilities are endless!   I plan on making future batches that include lemon zest, thyme, sun dried tomatoes, bay leaves and garlic.  

This is also one of those instances where it is imperative to use the absolute best ingredients you can find.  Local goat cheese, high quality olive oil, nice sea salt and fresh herbs.  Oh and the bread too.  The bread has to be a beautiful, crusty and rustic loaf straight from the bakery.  Preferably baked fresh that day. 

Who are those special people in your life?  The people who you want to express your gratitude for their friendship and love.  This thoughtful and delicious gift is the perfect way to show them how much they are appreciated.  

Goat Cheese and Infused Olive Oil
2 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
heavy pinch of each:
kosher or sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
red pepper flakes
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
4-6 ounces of goat cheese

1 loaf fresh baked bread

In the bottom of an 8 ounce mason jar, add rosemary, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and about 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Stir to distribute the seasoning.

With you hands and a teaspoon, form small 1-inch sized balls with the goat cheese.  Drop them into the jar until it is slightly full.  Top with the rest of the olive oil until the cheese is covered and the jar is almost full.

Put the top on and gently swirly the jar around so the spices can disperse.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.  If using as a gift, package the bread into large a cellophane bag with ribbon and serve in a basket with a small spreading knife.  Serve by spreading the cheese over grilled bread and drizzling with the infused oil.

Refrigerate and this will stay good for up to one month.


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