Cookbook Review: Goat Cheese
60 Recipes and A Goat Cheese Primer, by Maggie Foard
Maggie Foard is a home cook who lives on twelve acres in rural San Mateo County, California, where she raises chickens, peacocks, roosters, dogs, cats -- and goats. Her love affair with goats began with a visit to a local goat farm with her toddler son, inspiring her to add goats to her menagerie to make it easy to bring goat milk, yogurt and cheese into everyday cooking. It is these splendid and big flavored recipes that form the centerpiece of Goat Cheese (Gibb Smith, $24.99, hardcover with color photographs).
If you or someone you cook for has difficulty digesting cow's milk or cheese. Or if you favor goat's milk as a better source of calcium, protein, potassium and other nutrients. Or if you just love the tangy, complex taste of goat cheese, then you will appreciate this 144-page friendly volume. With an appetizing cover photograph of a "Lemon Breakfast Tart" that can be made sweet with sugar or savory with artichokes, the book gives us more than 60 other recipes organized into seven categories:
- Morning Breads and Pancakes
- Frittatas, Omelettes and Eggs
- Pizzas and Quesadillas
- Appetizers and Sandwiches
- Soups and Salads
- Main Dishes and Pastas
Recipes include dishes that can easily become part of your everyday, weekday cooking, such as "Kid's Mac 'n' Cheese" or "Caprese Salad with Goat Mozzarella." Others may be more for weekend cooking when you have more time, including "Golden Zucchini Gratin with Feta, Tomatoes and Pine Nuts," or a sweet "Cherry Almond Tart" made with goat ricotta.
We've been given permission to publish two recipes from the book that showcase the accessibility, flavor and appeal of Ms. Foard's use of goat cheese: "Red Lentil Soup with Peppery Feta Shortbread." The soup has a base of smoked bacon and onions and comes together in about an hour. While the shortbread matches perfectly with this hearty soup, these slice-and-bake crackers, which are made in a snap in the food processor, are also a perfect companion to a glass of wine. See our links to these recipes.
The final chapter is "A Beginner's Guide to Goat Cheese," but even a practiced chevre eater will have lots to learn from Ms. Foard, especially the details on soft-ripened, wash-rind and blue goat cheeses. The volume ends with "On the Cheese Trail" with a list of goat cheese web sites, on-line merchants and cheese mongers, producers, favorite books and research resources if you want to know more about the nutrition and traditions of goat cheese.
While single-ingredient cookbooks are often limited by an onset of flavor fatigue before you get halfway through them, Maggie Foard's Goat Cheese has just the opposite result. Instead she gives us variety, inspiration, and enough new ideas that you may forget that goat cheese is the common thread.
For those of us in New York, we're lucky to have several outstanding cheese mongers who can help you find almost any goat cheese, yogurt or milk needed for these recipes. Murray's, Zabar's, and the Bedford Cheese Shop are just three.