Monday, August 17, 2009

Fried Goat Cheese

The first time I've ever had fried goat cheese was at Chaya Brasserie in San Francisco. Ummmm...what can I say about it? Everything and nothing all at the same time. That was about 5 years ago. I've had it multiple times since then, and it just occured to me recently that I could make it myself - and boy was it easy...and WAY less expensive than ordering it at Chaya. My boyfriend calls it "fancy mozzarella sticks". Yeah, pretty much....same concept, but much MUCH more delectible.



In this salad, I paired the warm creamy goat cheese with sweet roasted beets and toasted walnuts. I also had some homemade bagel croutons that I threw in to give it extra crunch, and served it with a drizzle of homemade citrus vinaigrette.

Ingredients
One small log of goat cheese, slicked into 1/2 inch discs
1/3 C Flour
1 Egg, whisked
2 tsp water
1/3 C cornmeal (Can also substitute bread crumbs, but the crunch of cornmeal is fun)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 Tbs toasted sesame seeds
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil

Put the Flour, egg and cornmeal in 3 separate dishes. Add the water to the egg, and whisk together. Add the garlic powder, cayenne, sesame seeds, and a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper into the cornmeal and mix.

In a small saute pan, heat up enough oil so that it's deep enough to reach at least 1/4 of the way up the side of the disk - about 1/4 inch deep. Make sure the oil is hot enough by sprinkling some flour in the oil. If it sizzles, it's hot enough, but make sure the oil doesn't smoke.

Working with one or two goat cheese discs at a time, first cover each disc with flour and pat of the extra flour. Next, dip it in the egg, making sure that the whole disc is covered, then toss it around in the cornmeal. Gently place breaded goat cheese in the hot oil and cook for one to two minutes each side, taking care when flipping so the crust doesn't puncture. Once the goat cheese is golden brown, set aside on a paper towel and serve warm on top of the already prepared salad.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Horchata

I was browsing Food Network magazine the other day and came across a recipe for horchata. I don't know why it never occurred to me that I could make my own horchata. I LOVE the stuff! Sweet, cinnamon-y rice milk. Yum yum yum! The perfect balance for any spicy Mexican meal. After reading through the recipe, I didn't think it could possibly be that easy, so I went online to see if there were other variations. I found a recipe from Emeril Lagasse that included blanched almonds in it - which I think would add the creaminess that the other recipe may have lacked, so I decided to go with that one.


In the process of making the horchata, I realized that I had run out of sugar - so I used some powdered sugar instead. I think that added to the texture a bit to make it even more silky, since creamy sweet frosting is just powdered sugar and a tiny bit of liquid. In any case, it came out DELICIOUS. It's an easy recipe to follow, but a little time consuding since it has to sit over night. It definitely tested my patience - I couldn't wait to take a giant gulp of it.

Ingredients
8 Tbs long grain rice
1 Cup blanched almonds
zest of 1/2 lime
1 tsp cinnamon (I ended up adding more)
3 Cups hot water, 4 cups cold water, divided
1 to 1 1/2 C of sugar (depending on taste)
Vanilla extract to taste (~ 1tsp)

In a blender or food processor, finely grind up the rice - as fine as you can possibly get it. The finer the rice, the better the horchata. Put it in a large pitcher and add in the almonds, lime, and cinnamon. Add three cups of boiling water, stir, and let sit over night.

The next day, blend the mixure until it's as smooth as possible. Add 2 Cups of cold water and blend until combined. Using a fine strainer or strainer and cheese cloth, allow the liquid to strain through. (I strained it 3 times because I didn't have cheese cloth). Add a 2 more cups of cold water and mix thoroughly. Add Sugar and vanilla, and a little bit more cinnamon if you'd like. Stir well until the sugar has completely dissolved. I had to let the horchata sit in the fridge for a little while in order for the sugar to fully dissolve and all the flavors to meld together. Serve cold, over ice.