Rosé and Mini-Chèvre Flans Perfect for Summer Entertaining

IMG_5698At a recent cooking class that featured bouillabaisse as the main course, I was surprised not only by my students’ excitement over the famous Provencal fish soup, but also by their raves for the simple appetizers. In keeping with the Provencal theme, mini-chèvre flans topped with a colorful mélange of chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs, and walnuts were an instant success.

Perhaps it was the simplicity of these starters or the seamless blending of flavors that made them so popular. All I can report is that this hands-on class of 15 downed almost four dozen in less than 15 minutes! Continue reading

Roasted Grapes Make Delectable Fall Appetizers

Roasted Grape and Goat Cheese Toasts 2 2736x3648Last week I wrote about the delicious overnight oats we enjoyed at our hotel on Nantucket, but that wasn’t the only culinary inspiration the island sparked. I was also taken with some unusual appetizers prepared with baguette slices spread with cream cheese and topped with roasted red grapes and sunflower seeds.

At home I couldn’t wait to make these little treats in my own kitchen. I tried several cheeses, and settled on some snowy white chèvre to replace the cream cheese in the original version. And, toasted walnuts were just as good as sunflower seeds.

Roasting the grapes was a breeze. You coat them with olive oil, pop them in the oven for Continue reading

A Stunning Roast Beef Tenderloin for Christmas Dinner!

Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Tomatoes,  Goat Cheese, and Watercress 3 If you’re like me and have waited until the last minute to decide on what to serve for Christmas, worry no more. A glorious beef tenderloin roasted with plum tomatoes and garnished with a sprinkle of creamy goat cheese might just be the answer. For the past few years my son and I have planned and cooked together our family’s holiday meals. But, this year we are behind and still haven’t chosen our menu for 2013. Since our clan clamors for beef on the 25th, I culled my files, and found a favorite recipe for beef tenderloin roasted with plum tomatoes garnished with creamy crumbles of goat cheese.

I created this dish several years ago for my syndicated column, and am still amazed that it is so deceptively uncomplicated to assemble, and calls for such readily available ingredients. Continue reading

Pistachio and Goat Cheese Grapes

If you need an impressive, yet quick appetizer to serve during the holidays, try these Pistachio and Goat Cheese Grapes. When you bite into one of these delectable morsels, wrapped in creamy goat cheese scented with mint and coated with chopped pistachios, you’ll savor an enticing combination of flavors and textures. The grapes are juicy and sweet, the cheese salty and smooth, and the nuts crunchy with a slight roasted accent. These chic, little starters take only minutes to assemble, hold up beautifully for 2 days in the fridge, and best of all are a hands-down crowd pleaser.

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Cypress Grove Chèvre – Humbolt Fog!

I am a chèvre aficionado. When a cheese cart or tray comes around, I’ll always pick the goat cheese. In France where I spend part of every year, I’ve tried varieties in every size and shape and indulged in fresh as well as aged cheeses. Some have been covered in herbs or ash while others have been wrapped in leaves. All have brought joy to my palate. But France isn’t the only place where superb goat cheese is produced. An American goat cheese called Humboldt Fog, made by Cypress Grove Chèvre, is my favorite. It’s creamy and soft, with a beautifully balanced, tangy flavor. Each wheel features a ribbon of edible vegetable ash that runs through its Continue reading