You can imagine my delight when I first tasted the wonderful goat cheeses made by Cindy and Joe Crosby at their Mountain View Cheesery right here in our small town of Piedmont. This couple takes great pride in what they do, and that shows in the quality of their artisan goat cheese products, which are, in my opinion, some of the best that I have ever eaten.
I will never forget the first time my palate was introduced to goat cheese. I was working at a French cooking school in New York City. The late author and food writer Bert Greene was teaching a class, and one of the recipes was a spinach salad with warm goat cheese. I must admit that I was very hesitant about tasting this gourmet salad, mainly because of the goat cheese. I expected an overpowering sharp flavor from the cheese, but was pleasantly surprised. It was really good.
I have had so much fun lately in my kitchen finding ways to use the Crosbys' special cheeses in some of my new recipes. Their Smoked Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Chevre found its way into a flavorful appetizer spread, which I included on the menu of one of my recent cooking classes. It was a big hit.
One of my favorite new recipes is a corn chowder made with Garlic and Chives Chevre. There is no dominant flavor, as the goat cheese just seems to blend in so well with the other ingredients to make the creamy base for the chowder. This new dish got a "two-thumbs up" from my daughter, Twila, and also from my granddaughter, Meagan. The simple chowder is so delicious that I couldn't stop with just one bowl.
I can hardly wait to try the Breakfast Medley made at Mountain View Cheesery. It features blueberries, cranberries and cherries in a smooth goat cheese. I can almost taste this one in a coffeecake, or maybe in a filling for sweet rolls. However it is used, I feel sure it will thrill the tastebuds.
You can find more information about these tasty goat cheeses and other products, as well as how to order them online, at www.mvcheesery.com. The cheeses are also available at Tyson Art & Frame in Anniston.
CHIPOTLE CORN CHOWDER WITH CHEVRE
3 1/2 cups peeled and chopped potatoes
1 cup chopped sweet onions (Vidalia when in season)
1/2 cup butter
4 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (or regular salt, to taste)
1 (11 oz.) can Chipotle white corn (see note below)
6 oz. Garlic and Chives Chevre
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cups milk or cream, divided
Combine the potatoes, onions, butter, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender (not mushy). Add the corn and goat cheese, stirring until cheese has melted. Whisk the flour and about 1/4 cup of milk until smooth. Stir into chowder. Gradually stir in the remaining milk. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
Note: The Chipotle white corn is marketed by Green Giant. If you can't find it on the shelf at your supermarket, perhaps they will order it for you.
ANGUS BEEF CHEESE SPREAD
12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
6 ounces Smoked Sun-Dried Tomato and Basil Chevre
1 cup ground cooked angus beef roast
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts of choice
Combine all ingredients except nuts. Mix well. Spoon into shallow dish and sprinkle with nuts. If refrigerated, take out of refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving so that it will spread more easily. Serve with crackers.