When I was a kid, cheese was cheese. That meant American singles, cheddar and mozzarella for your pizza. If you were a weirdo living on the fringes, then you might have known some Jack or provolone. Cheese came from milk, and milk came from cows, and that was that.Good news: our taste for cheese has evolved! These days it’s easy to find cheese from all over the world made using milk from cows, sheep, buffalo or goats. In fact, goat cheese is almost as popular as cow’s milk cheese. Its white color and distinct flavor make it truly unique in the world of cheese. Lots of folks love the taste of strong cheese, while others prefer a milder, milkier version. Whatever your preference, goat cheese can fill the bill. It’s on the menu in just about every trendy restaurant on either side of the Mississippi, and it’s available in many forms, ranging from milky mild and very creamy to tangy, pungent earthy and strong. Its shapes vary from disc to wheel to log-like. It’s creamy, it’s crumbly, and it’s semi-firm. It’s also fresh or aged, sometimes marinated and you can find it rolled in herbs, edible flowers, spices and even chocolate. That’s a lot of variety!If you love cheese but you’ve yet to venture beyond the world of cows, you’re in for an interesting, tasty and nutritious surprise. Hard cheeses made from goat ‘s milk deliver calcium and protein. And, soft goat cheese, when compared with certain full fat cow’s milk products such as cream cheese, is lower in fat, calories and cholesterol. And it spreads just as well and tastes rich and creamy.
If it is cheddar-like cheese you are after, solid, aged goat cheeses are wonderful grated and used in the same way you would use any favorite grated cheese. If soft and spreadable is what you’re looking for, young goat cheese is ideal for salads, dips, sauces and spreads. Here are some creative ways to get glamorous with goat cheese:
Make cheese toast or grilled cheese sandwiches with grated goat cheese, or use it on pizza.
Melt into hot cooked pasta or any hot, cooked whole grain. Top with chopped parsley!
Crumble over your favorite salad, or try our Roasted Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with Sherry-Walnut Vinaigrette or our Spinach and Strawberry Salad.
Stir into or garnish over soups and stews.
Make polenta with goat cheese.
Roll a log of goat cheese into toasted walnuts or herbs and serve with crackers or crusty bread. Here’s an idea for Herb Crusted Goat Cheese.
Crumble over roasted, sautéed or steamed vegetables like this recipe for Green Beans with Goat Cheese, Cranberries and Bacon.
Make dips with soft goat cheese along with or in place of cream cheese or ricotta cheese. Enjoy our recipe for Herb and Garlic Goat Cheese Dip.
Serve with fresh berries or other seasonal fruit; serve topped with nuts, a shaving of dark chocolate, and fine quality honey for a healthy, delicious dessert.
Enjoy as a snack with fruit or vegetables. Here is an idea for Apple Slices with Goat Cheese and Pistachios.
Be sure to keep goat cheese wrapped tightly in plastic or wax paper; store it in a re-sealable plastic bag, making sure to press out all the air before sealing. Store it in your fridge. You can take it out and let it come to room temperature, if desired, before serving.Are you a glamorous goat cheese connoisseur? Got a favorite snack or recipe? Let me know!