Salade de Chévre Chaud, or warm goat cheese salad, is one of my favorite meals when in France. And it's something I don't make nearly enough when at home. But with a garden spilling over in lettuces and a log of French chévre in the refrigerator, it seemed a natural choice for my mid-day meal.
My salad was very basic -- just my fresh garden lettuces, the breaded goat cheese disks and a vinaigrette made with my best olive oil and minced fresh tarragon from the garden. It really didn't need anything more. But I've eaten this salad many times with tomatoes, walnuts and lardons, as well. You can make it what you want it to be.
To make the salad... Cut disks of goat cheese about 1/2-inch thick. (I use sewing thread to slice my cheese to avoid crumbling of the goat cheese. ) I plan two slices of goat cheese per salad serving. Dip the disks of goat cheese into a beaten egg, covering the disks completely. Fill a shall bowl with fine, fresh bread crumbs. Add the disks to the crumbs, turning gently until both sides and edges of the goat cheese are lightly coated with the crumbs. Place the breaded disks on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350ˆF until the bottom of the disks have turned a gold brown. Flip the disks and bake a bit longer, until bottoms again are golden. Toss lettuces with vinaigrette. For my vinaigrette (enough for two servings), I mixed about 3/4 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and some minced fresh tarragon with equal amounts of red wine vinegar and extra-virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide dressed lettuces between two plate and top each salad with two disks of the baked goat cheese. Add additional (and optional) ingredients of toasted walnuts, tomatoes and bacon, if desired.
There have been a few additions to our vegetable garden. This spring we planted a Honey Crisp apple espalier which was placed at the back of our yard and vegetable gardens. The grape vines crawling on our fence were pruned back to frame the espalier.
We also planted two sour cherry trees that were not purchased as espaliers. If you desire to train fruit trees as espaliers, it is ideal to purchase the plant as a bare root whip. We, however, purchased young trees and are, for that reason, very limited in what we will be able to achieve. Our cherry trees will be fanned espaliers instead of the more traditional espaliers of horizontal branches. When we finally got around to the initial trimming of branches this spring, the trees had dropped their white blooms and were covered with tiny green cherries. Truly, between the two trees I would have had enough fruit for a sour cherry double crust pie (sigh...). My husband and I traded off clipping of the branches because it was too painful seeing the cherries fall to the ground. I was also informed yesterday by a friend, who is also a residential landscaper, that it's every other year when you receive a bountiful crop of cherries from your trees. I took that to mean that I probably won't be making that sour cherry double crust pie next year, either...
I think my nick-name could be, "Basil Farmer"
TAKE a LOOK:
This past weekend my daughter Claire hosted a baby shower for her sister, Whitney, along with Whitney's close friend, Allison. Yes... I'm going to be an Oma. The event took place in my home, and my contribution for this gathering was lunch. The plan (for months) had been a luncheon outdoors on the patio and in the garden, of course! But the weather turned against us with 90+ degree heat and unbearable dew points that forced everyone attending inside; not ideal in our minds, but we made it work...
Appetizers were placed in the living room.
Tomato tarts (recipe HERE) and main course salad were served in the kitchen.
I have been making my version of this chicken, corn and avocado salad (recipe below) since eating it at a local restaurant this spring.
Dessert was 3 Rhubarb and Almond Cakes and Chocolate Bouchons (recipe HERE) Yes... I always prepare more than we need.
Drinks consisted of Mimosas made with Prosecco, Rosé, and non-alcoholic Watermelon-Ginger Spritzers (recipe HERE), which were just the thing on a hot, sultry day.
The baby girl is due in September... a sister for Midge the French Bulldog.
CHICKEN, CORN, and AVOCADO SALAD
The ingredients of the salad below are approximate
• 1 Rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat from the bones cut into bite-size pieces
• 16-ounce can organic corn, drained
• a handful of Medjool dates, pitted and diced
• 1-2 avocados, cut into 1/2-inch dice
• 5-ounce bag of Italian greens (or combine romaine, butter lettuce, and radicchio)
• 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
• goat cheese, as much as you like for tossing on top of salad
• apple cider vinegar
• extra-virgin olive oil
• salt and freshly ground pepper
1. In a large bowl, gently combine the chicken, corn, dates, avocado and greens.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Poor dressing over salad and gently toss. Add additional salt and pepper if needed.
3. Sprinkle almonds and goat cheese over the top of the salad and serve.
RHUBARB and ALMOND CAKE
adapted recipe from The Floating Kitchen
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
• 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
• 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup almond meal
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 pound rhubarb
• 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
• 1/3 cup sliced almonds
• Confectioners' sugar for serving
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper. Generously coat the parchment paper and the sides of the pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat 1 cup of the sugar and the butter together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the yogurt, orange zest and extracts and beat until just incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt. Add dry ingredients to the cake batter, adding in one-third at a time, mixing on low speed until none of the white streaks remain. Set aside.
4. Trim rhubarb of leaves and if the stalks are wide, slice them in half lengthwise. Cut the rhubarb stalks into pieces 1 1/2-inches in length.
5. Spread about half of the cake batter evenly over the bottom of the prepared springform pan. Layer about half of the rhubarb over the batter in a single layer, leaving a half-inch space uncovered around the edges of the pan. Spread the remaining cake batter over the rhubarb and arrange rhubarb pieces on top. You may not need all of the rhubarb. Sprinkle the sliced almonds and turbinado sugar over the cake.
6. Place the cake on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool. Once cooled, run a knife around the outer edge of the cake and release the sides of the springform pan. Cut into slices and dust with the Confectioners' sugar.
• The cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
TAKE a LOOK:
It was a beautiful day...
I spent it in the kitchen baking and walking my French Bulldog, Bisous. What could be better than that? The weather has been fantastic and we dined alfresco on the patio with family and friends. This sponge cake with rhubarb compote and fresh strawberries tucked between the layers was our dessert... always looking for ways to use my yearly bumper crop of rhubarb.