James Dickinson photo
Goat cheese can be creamy and spreadable, crumbly or hard. Relatively unfamiliar in the United
Status until the 1980s, it now makes regular menu appearances in salads, pizzas and pastas, and it substitutes well for cream cheese. Contributed by Ed Blase, executive chef at Off the Hookah (140 Virginia St., 225-1918). He's been using cheese from Goats R Us since his days at Edible Garden, and he says he likes the consistency of flavor — "not too sharp or cloying as some goat cheeses can be." Blase adds that it's rare to find aged goat cheese such as the Dodsons produce. "Not since my days as a chef in New York have I been able to find grating goat cheese." This quiche is one of the brunch specials at Off the Hookah.
Roasted Tomato, Goat Cheese and Italian Herb Quiche
- 8 plum tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 6 cloves of roasted garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of chopped, fresh marjoram
- 1 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh basil
- 10 ounces of crumbled goat cheese (chèvre)
- 1/3 cup of good quality, grated Parmesan cheese
- 9 (farm fresh if possible ) chicken eggs
- 1/2 cup of half-and-half
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- A pie crust of your choice (homemade or store bought; no crust is also OK); it should be pre-baked for 10 minutes before filling
Cut the plum tomatoes in half, toss them with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper, then roast them in a 250-degree oven for 3 hours. Let the tomatoes cool, then chop them into medium-sized cubes. Place the tomatoes, herbs and goat cheese in your prepared pie crust (or directly into a buttered pan) and distribute them evenly. In a blender, add the eggs, roasted garlic, Parmesan cheese, and half-and-half and blend for 30 seconds. Add salt and pepper, then blend the mixture for 5 seconds more. Pour it over the filling in the pie crust, stir gently and bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes or until the center is firm. Let the quiche sit for 15 to 20 minutes before cutting it. Dairying-do Lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than cow's milk products such as cream cheese, goat cheese provides more calcium and protein. Goat's milk is said to be easier for people to digest than cow's milk because the fat cells are smaller. Goat cheese is also tarter than cheese made from cow's milk. It's still fairly high in saturated fat, though, so it's best to enjoy in moderation. Fresh from the farm Although many brands of goat cheese on grocery store shelves are imported, you can find regional cheeses, such as the chèvre, feta, Camembert and raw aged cheese produced by Blackstone-based Goats R Us, owned by Robin and John Dodson. Their goat cheese is available at Ellwood Thompson's Local Market and the Farm to Family Market, as well as through the Fall Line Farms co-op and Rural Virginia Market CSA. The chèvre is available in 13 flavors, including pesto, chives-and-garlic, and pineapple-walnut. Robin Dodson describes her chèvre as "twangy" and says she often combines the savory flavors with pasta or uses it as a spread in wraps.