Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Goat Cheese and Pesto Pizzette

This was an opportunity to try yet another cheese that was somewhat unfamiliar to me. 
Goat cheese, or chevre (from the French for goat), is cheese made out of the milk of goats.  Goat's milk cheese has a characteristic tart, and I thought a bit gamey, flavor. Although the West has popularized the cow, goat milk and goat cheese are preferred dairy products in much of the rest of the world. Because goat cheese is often made in areas where refrigeration is limited, aged goat cheeses are often heavily treated with salt to prevent decay. As a result, salt has become associated with the flavor of goat cheese.
 Goat cheese has been made for thousands of years, and was probably one of the earliest made dairy products. In the most simple form, goat cheese is made by allowing raw milk to naturally curdle, and then draining and pressing the curds. Other techniques use an acid (such as vinegar or lemon juice) or rennet to coagulate the milk. Soft goat cheeses are made in kitchens all over the world, with cooks hanging bundles of cheesecloth filled with curds in the warm kitchen for several days to drain and cure. If the cheese is to be aged, it is often brined so it will form a rind, and then stored in a cool cheese cave for several months to cure.  
I decided to make little mini-pizzas to showcase the goat cheese.  After rolling out the basic pizza dough, I used a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out my pizzas.  I spooned basil pesto on each, and then topped with a slice of goat cheese.  It was hard to get nice slices of the cheese because it is fairly dry and crumbly.  My granddaughter helped by cutting out the pizzettes and placing cheese on each, although while doing so she made certain her pizza had no pesto or goat cheese but only traditional mozzarella.  
These pizzettes were delicious, although the cheese has a strong flavor and I would probably use a bit less if I were to make it again.  This particular evening we watched more episodes of The Office, but I want to tell you about another movie we just watched that was well worth our time.  October Baby is the story of a young woman's discovery that she was adopted by her parents and her subsequent struggle to emotionally handle that information and find answers to the many questions she now has. 
The story is well told and the movie stars Rachel Hendrix, Jason Burkey and John Schneider.  We had the joy of building our family by adoption, and I would say this is a wonderful film for anyone, but it is a must-see for adoptees and adoptive parents.

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