Blueberry Scones

Up until recently, I have not been a big breakfast person.

I love cereal, but usually in the afternoon, or as a midnight snack.

The typical breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast, and hash browns followed by an overwhelming food coma is a rare occurrence for me.

It was really only after doing my raw food challenge that I discovered the beauty of raw overnight oats and have since incorporated Greek yogurt, nuts, almond flour, and berries into the mix. Some variation of this is now my breakfast staple. I love the crunch of the nuts and oats, the bright tartness of the berries and the rich and filling creaminess of the Greek yogurt.

Isn’t it just gorgeous?

BUT something must be said about a breakfast pastry every once in a while. Not the overly decadent ones with globs of glaze or doughnuts that have sprinkles or Lucky Charms adhered to the top.

Although sometimes pastries like this Apple Pecan Bun with a maple glaze is much appreciated.

No, no, I talking about a good old fashioned pastry, like a scone.

A blueberry scone, to be exact.

Perhaps a scone with a fantastic blueberry goat cheese spread.

Yes, that’s my kind of pastry.

I adapted this recipe from my homegirl, Martha Stewart, ’cause sometimes, nobody does it better than Martha.

What you’ll need:

2 cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling tops

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/3 cup low fat milk (2%)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Here’s what you do with it:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

In a bowl, mix together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt

Make the work easier by cutting up the butter into small pieces and incorporate

Then toss in your blueberries and zest

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream and egg

Slowly incorporate your wet mixture into your dry mixture

Stir lightly with fork just until dough comes together

Place mixture onto a floured cutting board and knead gently a few times

*I opted to make round scones by scooping out a heaping tablespoon of batter onto a baking sheet

Brush tops with cream, and sprinkle with sugar

Bake for 20-22 minutes

 

Aren’t they beautiful?

Now, onto the spread!

These are rough measurements, but basically:

4-5 oz goat cheese, softened

3/4 cup blueberries

Release the days frustrations on these blueberries, squishing them in your hands letting the juice drip onto the goat cheese

Then scrap the peels and seeds off your hands and add that to the cheese

Mix together with a spoon

That’s it

Spread generously on top of your cooled halved scones

Yea, they were perfection in the morning.

And in true breakfast food form, I ate them in the afternoon, and at midnight too.

What’s your favorite breakfast, pastry and otherwise?

Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting

Hey all!

Remember a few days ago when I posted that wonderful goat cheese pasta salad? Well, I made a promise to you guys that I would be posting the sweet yin to the savory yang of my goat cheese feast with Sohini and Kati.

This is me making good on that promise to ya’ll.

I present to you: Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Goat Cheese Frosting!

What? OMG? Is this real?

Yup, they happened.

I can’t take all the credit, cause that would be wrong. The recipe is one that I found on Saveur’s website, but Sohini and I tweaked the frosting a tad.

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

6 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup hot coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 large egg

You may notice, there is no butter in these cupcakes.

What?

No butter?

But, Kristina, you love butter!

Yea, I love butter, but hey, sometimes you can do without.

For the Frosting:

5 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 oz. goat cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Andddd, you can add a whole vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped if you want, but Sohini’s vanilla bean happened to be really dry and it snapped in half while we were trying to scrape it, so we scraped the idea.

Let me tell ya, the frosting still tasted FANTASTIC.

What to do for the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Line cupcake trays

Whisk together all dry ingredients

Add in the coffee, oil and milk

After that is well incorporated, then you can add the vanilla extract and eggs

Bake cupcakes for 20-22 minutes

Let cool

What to do for the frosting:

Beat cream cheese and goat cheese together with an electric mixer, or a very strong arm, until light and fluffy

Add powdered sugar, 1/2 at a time

Once your cuppy cakes have cooled enough, slap that frosting on!

I didn’t have a pastry bag, so I just used a ziplock with the tip cut off

I think goat cheese frosting is my brand new favorite frosting. Its SOOOOOO much tastier than just cream cheese frosting. Don’t get me wrong, I love cream cheese frosting, but the goat cheese lightened up the frosting just enough to not be overwhelming or too sweet.

Yea, these cupcakes were devoured.

Orecchiette with Broccoli and Goat Cheese

Good morning!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I am excited for today because:

1. I am Irish

2. I turned 21 a few months ago, so now I can finally enjoy the glory of today…GREEN BEER, YES PLEASE!

3. Green is my favorite color, though surprisingly despite my abundance of green paraphernalia, I barely have any green clothes.

4. Even though I work today, I’m off at 5, giving me ample time to celebrate

5. If all other plans fall through, I live 3 blocks away from an Irish bar that I know will be a good place to get down.

6. As silly as it sounds, today marks a year and a half since Matt and I started dating, so if nothing else, I will drink to that!

I thought that in spirit of today I would give you a sort of green recipe that I tried yesterday with my friends Sohini and Kati.

One of my favorite cooking magazines, Saveur, posted an article preaching the wonders and versatility of goat cheese – as if the world didn’t already know!

No matter, I promptly sent the link to Sohini, who loved it and insisted we cook all of the recipes, so I headed over to her house to start cooking up a goat cheese feast.

Ok, so there’s like 20 recipes and there was only 3 who would be eating, so we toned it down to 2, a savory and a sweet goat cheese application.

More on the sweet later.

For the savory, we settled on a Orecchiette Salad, which we altered slightly from the original.

Our recipe goes as follows:

16 oz Orecchiette Pasta

12 oz Broccoli, sliced thin and blanched

12 oz Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

8 cloves of peeled garlic, sauteed until golden brown

Zest of 1 lemon

Moderately sized handful of red pepper chili flakes

5 oz. Goat Cheese, or more, at room temp

A drizzle of olive oil

I love the color variants heirloom tomatoes provide!

The assembly is simple,

Boil orecchiette in lightly salted water until slighty al dente

Blanch broccoli in boiling water and then shock in an ice bath to keep their bright color

Halve cherry tomatoes

In a large pot saute garlic until golden then add chili flakes

Incorporate pasta, broccoli, and tomatoes into pot

Drizzle with olive oil and zest lemon

Mix together

Top with small dabs of goat cheese

Allow the cheese to soften and then stir together

This may be one of my new favorite pasta salads. The goat cheese acts as a fabulous sauce and works well with the lemon zest and chili flakes. This is the perfect summer picnic salad or side dish at a BBQ because its so bright and flavorful! The best part about this pasta salad? Its just as tasty hot or cold! (I’m eating the cold leftovers this very moment)!

Us girls ate it as our entree, but we were also making a delicious goat cheese dessert, so we wanted to keep dinner light.

For a a little more protein some roughly chopped walnuts and/or grilled chicken would be GREAT in this!

Well, I am off to celebrate a very jolly Saint Patty’s Day! Everyone have a wonderful evening and be safe!

Pancetta Walnut Goat Cheese rolled Grapes

In case you couldn’t tell, I LOVE cheese.

I would say it’s my favorite food group. Not dairy. Just cheese.

Especially goat cheese.

So here is a little appetizer recipe my friend Sohini and I came up with for all of us to enjoy!

Start by letting your package of goat cheese sit out for a little while, goat cheese is easier to work with when it’s a tad soft.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and pop some Pancetta up in there for 7-10 minutes until it’s crispy!

This is just the before shot, so don’t worry, it will look much crunchier when it’s cooked

While its cooking, rinse some fresh cold red grapes and then pat them dry. Make sure they are cold though, its much more refreshing to have a crisp cold grape pop in your mouth to contrast and cut the cheese flavor.

When the Pancetta is done, mash it up in a bowl with the softened goat cheese and some finely chopped walnuts.

Mix together and then use a toothpick to pick up a grape and let it roll around in that cheesy spread for a minute ’til it looks like this!

Wowie!

What a perfect way to start a meal, or if you eat enough of them, what a great meal!

Nutty and Crunchy

Yet Savory and Sweet

Gosh, isn’t food just so neat!

(A poem by KMK).

Homemade Goat Cheese

In keeping with my previous post about a recipe cooking with goat cheese, I felt it was only appropriate to post here my latest magazine article (which will come out online in a few days) about making goat cheese at home. I kept the piece in its original magazine style, to give you a taste of my more “professional” writing style.

Enjoy!

Tangy flavor, velvety texture, and versatility make it loved by the masses and easy to incorporate into so many meals. It has the intrinsic ability to class up any meal, with a name like Chèvre, it’s not hard to believe. It would not be too bold to say it may just be one of the most addicting cheeses in existence. However, as with most fine things in life, the average price for a package of goat cheese can be a bit high considering the amount being bought.

“I find goat cheese to be completely irresistible because of its creamy texture, subliminal tartness, and the semi-subconscious thought that eating it means I have a more sophisticated palate,” says SFSU student Dorothy Niederlander. “Because of the relatively high prices on goat cheese, I only purchase a log once every couple of months.”

Niederlander, and others who feel this pain need not to fear, because perhaps the best part about goat cheese is the fact that it can be made at home in just about twenty-five minutes (plus two hours of inactive time in the fridge). And one batch yields at least two times the cheese for half the cost. Rest assured, making the cheese at home is not one of those DIY projects where halfway through it becomes impossible to finish. The recipe list is simple: Goat’s milk, buttermilk, lemon juice, and salt. Do not bother using low fat goat or buttermilk either, the integrity and texture of the cheese is ruined with such a lack of fat. While that smooth, creamy taste may suggest copious amounts of fat, it is just an illusion; even with using full fat milks, goat cheese is still actually lower in fat than most cow cheeses. Andronico’s is the best place to buy goat milk because they sell it in its raw, unpasteurized form, which is optimal for making the cheese. However, in a pinch, pasteurized milk will do just fine, Trader Joe’s and Rainbow Grocery are just a few of the stores that carry it.

The process is just as simple as the ingredients; pour one liter of goat milk and one cup of buttermilk in a saucepan and let that heat up to 170-185 degrees – a word to the wise, a thermometer is needed for this.

Once the milk reaches that temperature, turn the stove off and squeeze a tablespoon of lemon juice into it, stir, and watch it begin to curdle. This may be the most crucial part of the process, not enough lemon juice and nothing will happen, too much lemon juice and the mixture will over curdle and become grainy. So measure before pouring.

Do not let pictures online fool anyone, not all curdles were born equal. Some will be big and float on top, while most will remain about the size of ¼ grain of rice and stay somewhere toward the bottom.

Let the mixture cool to 120 degrees, stirring occasionally. Then take the whole pot and pour in through a cheesecloth-lined strainer that’s inside a larger bowl and marvel at all the premature goat cheese sitting there.

Strain it, like so, for about ten minutes, dump the excess liquid out of the bowl, then take the ends of the cheese clot, twist together and squeeze – not too tight. Secure with a rubber band, place back in strainer/bowl duo, cover with a small plate or bowl, and weigh down with a heavy can and pop it in the fridge. The cheese will continue to drain so the bowl is still essential.

After two hours in the fridge, take it out and unwrap like the present it is. If the cheese is too crumbly, take the whey that was strained out in the fridge and fold it back into the mixture. This is a good time to add salt, non-iodized, to taste, the vital ingredient that extenuates the tartness of the cheese. Eat it with everything; the possibilities are endless.

Goat cheese has had a long-standing place in history, even being referenced in The Odyssey, as goats were one of the first domesticated animals, nomads would turn goat’s milk into cheese, which served as the perfect way to preserve it. Their method of curdling the milk involved slaughtering a suckling calf and extracting rennet.

“Rennet is an enzyme that is found in a calf’s stomach that causes curd to coagulate and separate from the whey,” says Jens Thorsgarb, 32, an employee at Say Cheese in Cole Valley. You can also use vegetable rennet, a hyper concentrated microbial, like a super fungus.”

Today, more in depth recipes often call for rennet to be used in the process to ensure firmer curds, though most cheese shops in the city do not carry it. Purchasing it online, in tablet or liquid form, is the easiest route and the least expensive as it only costs about six dollars, comes in fairly large quantities, and can be stored for a long period of time.

If thousands of years of homemaking cheese does not inspire confidence however, several shops around the city offer classes to help. The Cheese School of San Francisco on Powell St. teaches both instructional and educational classes and the Workshop in the Western Addition hosts mozzarella-pulling nights every so often as well. Look out for classes offered by Say Cheese as they have also been considering passing on their cheesy whiz-dom.

“The owner and I have talked about having cheese education classes that I would run,” Thorsgarb mentions while he nibbles on a slice of sheep’s milk cheese. “And as far as cheese making classes go, I’m not expert, so if we were to do that we would bring in two women we know who specialize in it.”

Spread on, fellow cheese lovers.