Monthly Archives: September 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Deconstructed BLT and Eggs

Today’s the last day of September, it’s officially fall, and tomatoes are kind of over. This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, Deconstructed BLT and Eggs, was the perfect swan song for fresh local tomatoes.

I love the concept of “deconstructed” recipes. The ingredients of a classic dish are reconfigured into a new form. In this case, the diner (or home) favorite of a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich was deconstructed into a salad. The salad started with a bed of arugula lighted coated with vinaigrette. The greens are topped with two forms of tomatoes. The recipe called for cherry tomatoes and sun-dried. Instead, I used a diced fresh tomato and a handful of Dorie’s slow-roasted tomatoes (one of my favorites recipes that we’ve made). Crumbled bacon is sprinkled on top, and then, to me, the pièce de résistance was the croutons sautéed in the bacon fat! Some hard-boiled eggs topped dabbed with mayonnaise finished it off.

This made a great light supper. It got thumbs up all around.

I had some extra croutons left over. I intended to make the salad a second time last night with the other half of the bag of arugula. Unfortunately, I didn’t follow Dorie’s advice about storing greens, and when I got ready to make dinner, I found the arugula was too wet and had spoiled. If you toss the croutons, tomatoes, and bacon with the vinaigrette, you have a delicious panzanella! The eggs would have been a nice topper too, but I didn’t have time to make them the second time around.

You can check out the other FFwD bloggers’ take on Deconstructed BLT and Eggs at the Leave Your Link on the French Fridays with Dorie site. I always find some new creative ideas for next time. To me, that’s half the fun of doing this weekly recipe challenge.

Amazingly, September ends the first year of French Fridays with Dorie. I’m excited to see what’s in store for the beginning of Year 2 in October.

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Making Goat Cheese

On Sunday, I took a French Goat Cheesemaking Basics class at Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge. If you’ve known me for a while, you know that I have a thing for goats, and that extends to goat cheese. The idea of learning how to make my own was really exciting to me.

The class started out with a tasting of a variety of goat cheeses accompanied by some sparkling wine. Then, Jessica, the cheese cave manager at Formaggio’s explained the basics of cheesemaking in general and goat cheesemaking in particular. After that, we got try it for ourselves!

We worked through the process backwards. First, we ladled cheese curds into molds for what would become a mini cheese to age for a couple weeks into a soft-rind cheese. We also ladled curds into cheesecloth for fresh chevre. Then, Jessica showed us how to prepare the goat milk to set the curds. You heat the milk, then add cultures, with the requisite molds, and rennet to help set the curds.

The chevre looked great after draining overnight over the sink. It tastes great on toast for breakfast too.

I had a little trouble with the molded cheese. It wasn’t draining so I couldn’t unmold it. I realize that home cheesemakers make this at room temperature in Europe, but, being American, I started to panic when the cheese was just out in the kitchen for over 24 hours. I ended up transferring the draining curds to the cheesecloth and just draining it for more chevre. I’m not going to try the aging thing this time around.

However, home cheesemaking, for fresh cheese, anyway, seems extremely doable. I’d love to be able to make my own goat cheese. The hardest thing will be finding some goat milk. We used a pasteurized kind from Oak Knoll Dairy in Vermont. I’m hoping I can find it for sale somewhere locally, maybe at Whole Foods.

It was so much fun to try out a new culinary skill. I can’t wait to try it on my own!