Marinated Goat Cheese
My mom and my paternal grandfather were two of the most influential people in my life. They both passed away fairly recently and I miss them both so much it hurts. This recipe involves Mom and Paw-paw, directly and indirectly.
I used to spend a lot of time visiting my grandfather. He was the perfect grandpa - he'd take us to the amusement park, make us milkshakes, and record Saturday morning cartoons (back when life was tough and we only had cartoons once a week! Eeek!). As we became adults, he no longer taped cartoons for us, but continued to make Purple Cows and fascinate us with his incredible stories. I turned 16 and was able to visit my grandpa whenever I wanted. I'd drive the 2-1/2 hours to his house and stay with him all weekend or longer. We used to watch Bob Villa and PBS cooking shows, in particular, Caprial Pence. I bought her cookbook, Cooking with Caprial, and instantly fell in love.
I took my new cookbook with me to my mom's house and we decided to make the goat cheese recipe. It was my first experience with goat cheese and I was immediately an addict. It became, and still is, my favorite cheese. My mom was the one who ignited my love of cooking, and she and I had a blast experimenting in the kitchen together. It was one our favorite things to do together, besides laughing as the kids played in the pool and drinking margaritas on the deck. As my mom and I chatted away in the kitchen, chopping, sauteing, kneading, and decorating, we were centered. I knew I was exactly where I needed to be - in the kitchen with my best friend.
A funny thing happened while preparing for this post. I opened my mom's copy of the cookbook (purchased soon after making the goat cheese recipe so we'd both have a copy) and there was a yellowed, crumbly envelope stuck inside. Inside the small envelope was my mother's original birth announcement. I have no idea where it came from or who placed it there. I would be amiss if I failed to see the symbolism.
I have tweaked this recipe over the years to fit my personal tastes. I changed the olives to Kalamatas, and have adjusted the measurements. This recipe is totally adaptable to your liking. If you really love garlic, add more! If you have chives on hand, sub it out for the thyme.
Marinated Goat Cheese
Serves 10-12 as an appetizer or 3-4 as a main meal with a salad.
Adapted from Cooking with Caprial, Caprial Pence
11 oz. fresh soft goat cheese
3 garlic cloves, minced fine
2 T. chopped fresh thyme (must be fresh, not dried)
3 oz. (30-35) Kalamata olives, chopped
3/4 c. olive oil
1/3 c. balsamic vinegar
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
olive oil, for crostini
Crumble goat cheese onto shallow dish or platter. In medium bowl, add garlic, thyme, vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in oil, pouring in a steady stream. Mix in olives. Pour mixture over goat cheese. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to a week.
When ready to serve, allow goat cheese to come to room temp for 30 min. The oil may separate and solidify a bit - it's ok! Pre-heat the broiler. Slice baguette into 1/4" - 1/2" rounds. Drizzle with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and stick under broiler until golden.
Spoon goat cheese on warm crostini. Drizzle oil and vinegar over goat cheese as you like.