Archives for posts with tag: goat cheese

Recently, circumstances conspired so that I had the means to create a new recipe, using ingredients I don’t usually have on hand. I had a package of thawed smoked salmon (thank you, friend who moved and cleaned out her freezer into mine!) The other day I noticed that goat’s cheese was on sale at my local supermarket. I had some fresh dill-infused olive oil leftover from a salad dressing from a few nights ago. Grape leaves are easily available at my local Community Gardens. Naturally, thinking of these ingredients, I made some Altered Dolmades.

I have never made a dolmade before, but from my fully adequate experience in eating them, I know they usually have rice inside. I am trying to eat fewer carbohydrates, so I thought to replace the rice with cheese. Yes!

rolling up the yumminess

So, here is a delicious treat to fix up in very little time. Please note everything is changeable, and you can add anything you want (hot peppers, olives, capers, other cheeses, little bits of bacon…) If you like your rice, you could mix some cooked brown or white rice into the cheese mixture. One thing I really wish I’d had for this was some lemon. I would have squirted it overtop before baking…

*Cheese mix: 1 tube of goat cheese (I used “herbed”), two sprigs of green onions chopped up fine, two tablespoons of crushed almonds, a sprinkle of salt

*Olive oil/dill mix: a couple of sprigs of Dill, settled into a small bowl (about 1/4 cup) of olive oil, and a few grinds of pepper. (Please note in the photographs, I’d used too much oil. Try about 1/4 cup, or even a little less.)

*1 small packet of wild smoked salmon, thin slices

*about 20-30 grape leaves (smaller ones, still clear and bright in colour and translucency)

METHOD: I laid out the grape leaves so that about four to six of them were on my work surface, overlapping. I then took a piece of the fish, and rolled it around a spoonful of the cheese mixture. Then I blobbed a little more of the cheese mixture onto the outside of this fish-tube, and rolled it up in the grapeleaves.

I used a little casserole dish to lay them out in. Once then were all there (I had enough to make about six dolmades) I drizzled the olive oil/dill overtop.

I used the leftover oil afterwards for yet more salad dressing.

BAKE in a moderate oven ’til done (about half an hour? or more or less… everything is edible raw so you can’t undercook.) When I say done, I mean the smell is unbearably delicious, and the grapeleaves are very dark.

If I’d had any leftover grapeleaves, I’d have simply added them to my salad.

I’ll be doing this one again!

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

I recently tried using some purchased puff pastry. Mind you, I have never made puff pastry from scratch. Seeing that the dough available at my local bakery is butter-based though, I thought I would give it a try. I have been avoiding vegetable oil shortening in my baked products, it’s on my big “DO NOT EAT THAT IT IS NON-FOOD” list.

Butter-Based Bought Puff Pastry

I thought I’d split this package of dough in half to try two different things: to make Something Savoury, and to make Something Sweet.

For Savoury, I used the veggies that were at hand: brussels sprouts, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, mixed up with bits of goat cheese.

In the Sweet half I used some thawed blueberries that I’d mixed up with an egg and a bit of brown sugar and had previously stored in the fridge. I really have no idea why I’d mixed the blueberries, sugar, and egg in the first place… perhaps I was going to try to make a pie or a custard.

Mixed Veggies and Goat Cheese

In any event, the methods for making both Savoury and Sweet treats were the same. I cut little rectangles, plopped some of the filling inside, and then pressed another rectangle of dough on top. Pinched the edges. I poked the tops with a fork (it told me to on the packaging… I think it allows more air to get inside, causing the “puffing” effect). The Savoury puffs, I pressed little almond slivers into them. This was because I adore veggies with almonds, and also because I was curious what would happen with the puff pastry.

Puff Pastry with veggies, goat cheese, and almonds

 I baked the puffs for the prescribed amounts of time and temperature listed on the packaging.

I was happy with the results for the Savoury Puffs. They were actually pretty good. The Sweet Puffs, however, I wasn’t so impressed with them. I think the problem was that my frozen blueberries had been thawed, and therefore were a soupy mess. Oh, and they’d been mixed up with a runny egg, too. Because of this, I couldn’t pack enough filling into the puffs, so the dough/filling ratio was off-kilter. The next time I try this (and, oh, yes, believe me there will be a next time…) I will use frozen blueberries (or fresh!), no egg, and just a dash of that brown sugar. Perhaps instead of the sugar I’ll use some apple for sweetening. Here’s hoping they’ll be good enough to share!

I think it is good to experiment a little with cooking, and to learn from our mistakes. If anyone has any suggestions for “how to use puff pastry” please don’t hesitate to share some tips in the comments!

Ah, the Blueberry Puffs were good, just not quite good enough...

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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