I love lots of things in life. My family would obviously be at the top of my list, then the other stuff like old cars, spicy food, traveling, wine and…cheese. I’d be a happy guy if all I had for dinner was a baguette and a wedge of cheese. Recently I attended the Foodbuzz Festival in San Francisco where the afternoon of the second day is dedicated to local vendors who are just dying to showcase their product to a bunch of hungry bloggers.

As I wandered around the taste pavilion drooling at all of the amazing products, I came across Redwood Hill Farm and their super delicious goat cheese. This award winning dairy farm, incidentally fully powered by solar energy, sits in Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco.
Redwood Hill is truly a small, family owned and operated dairy… but don’t be fooled by my use of the word small- I only use it to give you some idea of the quality and care that goes into making the cheese on a personal level-. Redwood Hill really puts the “art” in artisanal. The farm can also boast to being the country’s first goat dairy to display the “Certified Humane Raised and Handled” label, which basically means that the goats, (over 300 of them, and all individually named) are living the life! Being able to be able to rest and have enough shelter among other things make for happy animals and I’m convinced happy animals produce stellar product.

Redwood Hill Farm also makes goat milk yogurt and kefir too, but my deal is the cheese. I tasted the Bucheret at the festival and loved it, smooth and creamy, with that awesome tang to it, I thought it couldn’t get any better…until I started snacking on the various chevres. Available in traditional, peppercorn, garlic/chive and roasted chili, these are great for cooking with or just eating on some crackers or a baguette. My favorite was easily the roasted chili, I love spicy and this delivers a kick which doesn’t wipe out your taste buds but lets you know why it’s called roasted chili!

When Redwood Hill graciously offered to send me some chevre, I tried to incorporate the different flavors into a variety of dishes. Yup- it tastes amazing right from the tub but, when mixed into food, it goes to a whole other level. I set my own goal of trying to come up with an appetizer, main course and dessert using these chevre samples and this is what happened…
 

Goat cheese mini quiche recipe with bacon and sun dried tomatoes

I used the roasted chili chevre for this recipe and the flavor was really good. This would be a great brunch or breakfast munch and the garlic flavor would be awesome too!

Goat cheese mini quiche

 

 

Thai Green Chicken Curry

Having a can of coconut milk in the fridge is a must and green curry is a favorite of mine. I added some of the three peppercorn chevre to the curry mixture and was pleasantly surprised how it turned out.
 
Thai Green Chicken Curry
 
 

Goat Cheese and Blackberry Bars

For my dessert I used the traditional chevre. I added it to a  cheesecake batter substituting half of the cream cheese. The whole mixture, including fresh blackberries, is then baked on top of a buttery shortbread biscuit base. Seriously good, especially with the shortbread base! In fact, this was so good that it secured me first place in a local baking competition last weekend with everyone amazed at the addition of the goat cheese! I walked away with a blue ribbon and a check for $100 which had to be donated to a local charity or school. I’ll be giving the check to Miranda’s school, David Burcham Elementary.

 

Berry Cheesecake Bars

 
 
 

Recipe for Goat Cheese Quiche with Bacon:

Makes 4, 4 inch quiche.

For the pastry –

3 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter

6-8 Tablespoons cold water

 

For the filling:

4 slices bacon cooked and roughly chopped

4 ounces of roasted chili chevre goat cheese

1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes

2/3 cup heavy cream

2 eggs

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4  cup finely sliced green onion

salt and pepper

To make the pastry- In a bowl add the flour, salt and butter. Using your fingers squeeze the butter and rub until it looks like fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and gently work it into a ball, if it’s too dry add a little more water. Once it comes together, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut circles large enough to fill a 4 inch wide tartlet pan. Prick the bases and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. Check to see if they are puffing up and prick again while in the oven. Once done set aside to cool, leaving the oven on.

In another bowl add the cream, eggs salt, pepper, garlic and onion and whisk until well combined. Place small lumps of the goat cheese into the tart pans (about 2 Tablespoons in each pan) along with about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of crumbled bacon. Carefully pour the egg mixture into the tarts filling to almost the top. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 20-25 minutes and set in the middle.

 

Recipe for Thai Green Chicken Curry: Serves 2.

2 medium chicken breasts, chopped into cubes

1 1/2 cups of coconut milk

3 ounces of peppercorn goat cheese

2 Tablespoons green curry paste (can be bought in the grocery store)

1 Tablespoon fish sauce

1 stalk of lemongrass

1 serrano chili, finely diced

1 small zucchini, sliced into half moon shapes

Add the coconut milk to a pan and warm over a medium to high heat. Add the curry paste, fish sauce, lemongrass and chili. Heat for about five minutes until boiling and getting slightly thicker. Add the goat cheese  and whisk well until the cheese is mixed through. Add the sliced zucchini and warm. If you like it thicker you can add a tablespoon of water/cornstarch mixture and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Discard the lemongrass stalk.

Serve over some jasmine rice and garnish with some chopped green onion.

 

Recipe for Goat Cheese Bars with Blackberries:

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens. Serves 12

1 cup unsalted butter cut into one inch chunks

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup blackberry jam

2 cups fresh blackberries

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

4 ounces traditional goat chevre

1/2 cup white sugar

1 Tablespoon all purpose flour

1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 Tablespoons lemon zest

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a 13x9x2 baking pan with foil, leaving enough hanging over the sides to lift out after baking.

In a stand up mixer, beat the butter until soft. Add the brown sugar and salt and mix until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the flour. With the mixer on low speed, mix until the dough just comes together.

Break the dough into clumps and spread over the base of the baking tray with your hands, making it as even as you can. Bake for about 20 mins or just turning golden brown.

Once it’s cool, spread the jam all over the shortbread base. Sprinkle the blackberries on top of that and set aside. Beat the cream cheese and goat cheese together until soft. Add the white sugar and tablespoon of flour and mix well.

With the mixer running, add the egg, egg yolk, zest, lemon juice and vanilla.Beat until smooth. Pour the batter over the blackberries tilting the pan if you need to spread the batter to make it even.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes and set in the middle. Let cool for at least one hour before storing in the fridge for another hour. Slice into squares with a sharp knife and dust well with powdered sugar.

 
Disclosure- Redwood Hill Farm provided me with some samples of cheese. All opinions and thoughts are entirely my own.