French Toast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Slathered in Blueberry Sauce

French Toast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Slathered in Blueberry Sauce is delicious and nutritious although not diet food. This dish came to me while trying to use up some things to make room in the refrigerator.

French Toast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Blueberry Syrup

French Toast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Blueberry Syrup

I make 95% of the bread we eat and typically use lots of grains in the loaves. We buy organic eggs from the farmers market and the blueberry sauce is made from a batch of berries I bought to make a pie but never did. So instead of the berries going bad (I couldn’t believe no one ate them!) I made a sauce. The recipe is below and is very simple.

Goat Cheese Stuffed French Toast with Blueberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 20 Minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 4-6 slices of good quality, nearly stale bread
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg (fresh ground is best!)
  • 1 tablespoon oil or just enough to coat the bottom of the pan
  • 1 ounce of fresh plain goat cheese for each serving

Mix all the ingredients, except the bread, in a flat pan. Place the sliced bread in the egg mixture, turning to coat. Let the bread sit in the mixture so it can soak it all up.

Heat a pan large enough to hold all the slices, place the soaked bread in the hot pan and cook until each side is golden brown.

Place the French Toast on a warm plate, immediately spread the goat cheese on one side of the bottom slice, top with another slice of hot French Toast.

Pour Blueberry Sauce all over and serve.

Now if you wanted, you could whip some honey and cinnamon into the goat cheese before spreading it onto the French Toast. It would put this dish completely over the top!French Toast stuffed with Goat Cheese

This is soooo good! And made with whole grains so you will feel full and had great energy all morning.

Like I said, not diet food, but whole, real food.

I hope you try this recipe and enjoy every bite.

French Toast stffed with Goat Cheese

Blueberry Sauce

  • Servings: Varies
  • Time: 30 minutes or less
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 1 pint of fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup waterIMG_9355
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon or zest from 1/2 lemon (Optional)

Wash and pick through the blueberries. Discard and soft, moldy or squished berries, leaves, stems and twigs. Combine everything into one pan and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until its thick. If you want the sauce smooth, put it in a blender or use an immersion blender to puree the sauce to the desired consistency. I like mine to have a few whole berries left in it. You can always choose to put some fresh berries with it when you serve it too.

This sauce is great on this decadent French Toast and over pancakes, ice cream and even over grilled salmon. Treat yourself and try that one!

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Jam

Strawberries and basil

Strawberries and basil

This Strawberry Basil Balsamic Jam captures the essence of fresh summer fruit. It is easy to make, it just takes some time.

You can store this jam in the refrigerator or you can process it using a safe water-bath canning method to store it in the pantry for up to 1 year.

Try to hide a jar in the back of the cabinet for a cold winter night in January or February or if you get snowed in. Pour it over some goat cheese, toast up some great bread, slice an apple and summer will come alive again in your mouth.

if you are one of those who think strawberry jam is far too sweet, try this one. The herbal element as well as the complex acid from the balsamic really takes a plain strawberry jam and turns it into an amazing treat.

Leaving the strawberries whole, this creates a delicious strawberry compote perfect for desserts, ice cream and goat or cream cheese. Puree the berries for a more jam like consistency.

Strawberry Basil Balsamic Jam

  • 1# fresh strawberries, stemmed and cleaned; cut as desired
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh basil
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
  • pinch of kosher salt

Combine the berries with the sugar and large sprigs of basil. Stir well. Allow to marinade for 2 hours, stir often. You will notice the sugar will melt and there will be considerable syrup in the bowl.

Place this into a heavy bottomed stainless pot, add the balsamic vinegar, turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Then the mixture boils, skim any foam that forms on the surface.

Reduce the heat and simmer actively until the mixture thickens to the desired consistency, about 20 minutes.

Place a plate in the freezer. Once cold, pour a spoonful of hot jam onto the plate and replace it in the freezer until the jam cools.

Run your finger through the cooled jam. If it remains separated and does not run or run back together, it will maintain a jam like consistency. If not, keep cooking longer. Chill some down to really evaluate the consistency. Even if it remains a bit runny, it makes great syrup and dessert sauce. The flavor is so delicious!

Ladle the hot jam into hot sterilized jars, cap and either process in a water-bath canner to store at room temperature or refrigerate once the jars cool.

I am not an expert canner so I would advise following expert advice on how to process your jars in a water-bath canner. I do know that if you use a pressure canner, you will have mushy fruit, so be sure to only use a water bath canner or a “granny bath” – I love that term!

This jam has a lovely complex flavor. We find it delightful on toast, over oatmeal or French toast, we even enjoy it on cheese platters with a glass of wine in the evening.

I packed some in small 4 ounce jars so they would be easy to take just a few servings on picnics, tailgating or on the go meals.Compotes on cheese platter

Make some before all the summer berries are gone! Those of you in climates just warming into your Summer, make this with the fresh berries, you’ll be glad you did!

Eating Local

This is my interpretation of “eating local“:

Local Fare

Local Fare

The multi-grain bread was made by me and cooked on the grill. The sourdough culture I use is nearly 2 years old and came to me from a friend.

I grew the lettuce.

I made the goat cheese from milk from local goats. I could find out the names of the goats if I wanted. I buy the milk from our organic farmers market who bring it in fresh. Low-temp pasteurized, yeah buddy!

The tomato is from a farm just down the road whose family has been growing vegetables and operating a working farm on the land since 1775. These tomatoes are the first to ripen with any flavor, just perfect for the goat cheese!

So there you have it. Local food for lunch.

A Basic Fresh Goat Cheese: Chevre

I made Fresh Goat Cheese!

Fresh Goat Cheese!

Fresh Goat Cheese!

Actually I was surprised at how quick and easy it actually was to make. Having the right equipment and getting good milk are key.

I get most of my supplies from The New England Cheese Making Supply which is a great resource for everything cheese.

Ever since I returned from the cheese making workshop a few weeks ago, my hands have been looking forward to getting into some milk.

First I had to find a source for good, clean, fresh goat milk for goat cheese and I still need to source Jersey cows for their milk for other cheese. For now, I have goat!

I LOVE the “barnyard” flavor of a strong goat cheese. While in France, I fell in love with Pouligny St. Pierre goat cheese which is a creamy smooth aged amazing bit of heaven to put into your mouth. It is my goal and intention to make some of that here, but obviously with the “terroir” of North Carolina.

OK, so here’s how I made this batch of Fresh Chevre:

I started with one gallon of fresh Goat Milk from Round Mountain Creamery in Black Mountain, NC. The milk comes in glass bottles, which I love!

Order a batch of CHEVRE culture from New England Cheese Making Supply. One packet will culture one gallon of milk, so plan what you want to make. I never seem to order enough.

Additionally if your milk is pasteurized (PLEASE find milk that is low temp processed as Ultra-Pasteurized milk does not work for making cheese) you will need 1/4 teaspoon of calcium chloride per gallon of pasteurized, cold-stored milk.

In my next batch, I want to ripen it for a few weeks so I will be adding other cultures for different effects.

Equipment needed:

2 large pots; the small one holds 1 gallon easily. I can use the larger pot for larger batches. Just need to find a pot to nest it inside of for a reasonable price.

2 large pots; the small one holds 1 gallon easily. I can use the larger pot for larger batches. Just need to find a pot to nest it inside of for a reasonable price.

2 large stock pots: the one the milk goes into needs to be stainless steel (Non-reactive)

The second one needs to be large enough to make a double boiler or bain marie, the first needs to nestle into the large one so you can heat the milk easily and slowly.

A good thermometer: You NEED to be in control of temperatures, not too high or too low.

Cheese Muslin, butter muslin, closely woven cheese cloth– the normal loose woven is way too loosely woven. Invest in a yard or two, wash it and use it over and over.

Use cold water to remove any cheese particles, then hand wash. Rinse and boil it in a pot with some baking soda for 5-10 minutes, rinse and hang to dry. It will be fresh and good to go for the next round of cheese!

Here is how to make the cheese:

Wash and sanitize everything!! Have a pot of boiling/simmering water to drop cheesecloth, molds, tools into to sanitize them before they come into contact with cheese.

Pour the milk into the pot, place it over the water (about 80°F). Warm the milk to 72-78°F.

Please be aware that this will feel cold to the touch, this is not warm milk, just milk warmed from refrigeration to 72-78 degrees.

Open 1 packet of the Chevre culture and sprinkle it over the top of the milk. Allow it to hydrate for 2-5 minutes before stirring it into the milk.

Goat milkAdd 1/4 teaspoon calcium chloride is using cold-stored pasteurized milk.

Allow this to sit undisturbed for 6-12 hours. This is the hardest part as you want to go see what is happening and you want it to hurry up and do its thing. But be patient, it takes time.

This batch sat for 8 1/4 hours before testing the cleave of the curd. When it is ready to test, you should see a thin layer of whey over the curd and a slight separation from the sides of the pot.

Testing the cleavage break

Testing the cleavage break

Insert a knife or a spoon, slightly on the surface, the curd should cleave clean and the whey that floats into the separation should be clear.

Carefully lift the curds with a strainer into a colander lined with cheese muslin. Be sure to place the colander over a large bowl to catch the whey.

Gently fold the cheesecloth over the curds and allow them to drain for 6-12 hours again, depending upon your desired finished texture. Less time for sweeter cheese, more for tangy cheese. The longer the whey stays in contact with the curd, the more tangy it gets.

You must be very careful NOT TO PRESS the curds. Allow them to drain gently at this point. The whey should be clear dripping, if it is cloudy, you are losing milk fat and your cheese will be dry.

You can also put it into molds at this point if you are using a mold. It will result in a smoother sided end product.

Control the room temperature and the curd temperature to maintain as close to 72-78°F as possible. I let the curds form while still in the bain marie as the water in the host pot will maintain the temperature of the curd mass.

I usually let this happen overnight while sleeping. The next day is such a surprise!

Unfold the cheesecloth and reveal your fresh cheese! Now it is time to salt. For this batch, 1.5-2 teaspoons of non-iodized cheese salt.

You can consider the cheese finished at this point but this is also where you can be a bit creative.IMG_6161

As you fold in the salt, also consider adding other flavors like herbs, minced garlic or shallots or onions, crushed peppercorns, ash, use your imagination.

IMG_6171Store your fresh goat cheese in a bowl or tub and consume within 10 days. Refrigerate the cheese, but allow it to come to room temperature before serving to allow all the wonderful flavors to come through.

A Word About Seasonings:

Please use dried seasonings and herbs due to the risk of bacterial contamination that may be introduced by using fresh herbs and seasonings. If you use fresh, be sure to eat the cheese soon. It can’t hang out for a while like plain cheese.

A Word About Food Safety:

The temperature the milk gets processed is in a temperature range that is smack dab in the extreme temperature danger zone. Everything you use needs to be “sterilized” in the boiling water bath before it comes in contact with the curds or milk. I cover my curd formation and the curd draining with a glass lid (so I can see what is going on!) to prevent anything falling or flying into the curd mass.

Since my kitchen is FULL of wild yeast from all the bread I make, the introduction of wild yeast is totally possible. This could have a spoiling effect on the curd. This is another reason I boil things before they touch the milk/curds.

The hardest part is WAITING! I strongly suggest you get to a farmers market and buy some goat milk and try this. It is easy, very tasty and you will feel so good about making a tasty goat cheese you’ll make more.

If you do make any cheese, take notes on the temperatures, conditions, milk etc so you can repeat successful processes. Most of all remember DO NOT USE Ultra-Pasteurized milk!

So that’s Fresh Chevre in a nut shell. There is a lot of information out there on making cheese. I’m really just starting and am looking forward to making more!

Please let me know how you do if you make some fresh Goat Cheese!

Rosemary and Lavender Savory Scones

There is nothing quite like a great scone and these Rosemary and Lavender scones fit into the great scone category easily.

Scones are typically thought of as being sweet and fat. This recipe replaces the fat with goat cheese and the dough is delicately scented with rosemary and lavender honey.

If you can’t find lavender honey, you can infuse honey with lavender buds to get the flavor. Put the honey in a double boiler, fold in the lavender buds and warm gently for a couple of hours.

Use only the lavender buds because that is where the essential oil, scent and flavor is, not the stems or leaves.

If you “hyper-heat” the mixture to a boil or heat in the microwave, you will get a very bitter flavor from the lavender. Use too much, you can end up with that “old-lady soap” flavor and no-one wants that!

The amount to use is 1/2 tablespoon to 1 cup of honey. Once the honey has cooled back to room temperature, strain out the lavender. The lavender imparts a very delicate color so if you use a light-colored honey you will see the lavender hue. You won’t see it in darker honey.


Rosemary and Lavender Honey Scented Savory Scones

  • 1 – 1/3 cup unbleached flour
  • 1 –  1/3 cup semolina flour, fine
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 5 oz chevre (a semi-soft goat cheese)
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lavender honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup cream or milk

 

  • Mix dry ingredients.
  • Cut goat cheese into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse corn meal.
  • In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients.
  • Add to flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
  • Spread the dough out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Try not to handle the dough too much. Pat it lightly to shape and thickness desired
  • Cut into triangles or other desired shapes.
  • Bake at 350° F until golden brown; about 10-20 minutes, depending upon how thick the dough was rolled out.

 

Mix wet and dry ingredients until incorporated

Pat the dough to desired thickness and shape; cut into triangles or desired shape before baking.

Bake until golden brown

Serve warm.

 

If desired, spread with goat cheese and drizzle with lavender honey.

These scones make a great breakfast!

I also like to serve them with roasted leg of lamb.

If you didn’t like goat cheese, you can substitute cream cheese.