Saturday, September 27, 2008

Herbed Goat Cheese

one 7 - 9 oz log of chevre (fresh goat cheese)

2 tsp fresh chives, chopped
2 tsp fresh Italian parsley (flat leaf), chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (or fresh basil or other herbs of choice!)
freshly ground pepper

Combine herbs & pepper in a small bowl. Mix well. Place a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap on the counter & spread the herb blend evenly. Roll the cheese in the mixture to coat; don't press too hard, you want to retain the shape of the log.

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap & refrigerate until needed.

Serve with fine crackers, small slices of baguette or pita wedges.

The herbed cheese can also be added to pizza or pasta. Or serve a piece in the center of a bowl of warm Roasted Red Pepper & Eggplant Spread for a delicious treat!

Tuscan Bean Soup with Tortellini (Fast & easy!)

3 c. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, cooked to package directions

5 c. organic chicken broth (or 5 c. water & good quality boullion)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
2 c. baby spinach, thoroughly washed & cut into thin strips
1 - 16 oz can Cannelini or Great Northern beans

grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend

In separate pot, cook tortellini according to package directions until just tender. Do not overcook! Drain.

Meanwhile, combine broth & garlic in large pan & bring just to a boil. Stir in basil, spinach & beans. Reduce heat & simmer 8-10 minutes. Stir in tortellini & simmer for an additional 2 minutes.

Ladle into bowls, sprinkle with grated cheese. Serve with crusty bread & a salad.

Chocolate Bread (Great for Gifts!)

2/3 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened
1 c. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, melted
2 eggs
2 & 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1 & 1/2 c. applesauce
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

*Optional: 1/2 c. chopped hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Grease 5 mini-loaf pans (5-1/2 x 3 inch).

Combine brown sugar & butter in large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until creamy & light, 1 - 2 minutes. Add 1 c. melted mini chocolate chips & eggs. Continue beating until well mixed. Add flour, applesauce, baking powder, baking soda & vanilla. Beat on low speed until creamy, scraping bowl often. By hand, stir in 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips (& nuts if desired).

Spoon batter into mini loaf pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center tests clean. Remove from oven to cool for 10 minutes; turn onto wire rack to cool completely.