Friday, October 2, 2009

Uses for Grocery Store Cheese - Chevre

Goat cheese in the plastic tube at the grocery store is a great ingredient! I don't think it is necessarily a great addition to a cheese plate - it's a little goopy. In addition, I have read in more than one place that the curd for several major brands of plastic tube goat cheese is actually frozen at some point int he process. Eek! But, it adds a definite tangy creaminess to dishes, and that is not a bad thing however you get there.

The other night, I was late at the office, and didn't make it to Andrew's before they closed. *sad face* I was determined to have a cheesy dinner and was trolling the internet for healthy, cheesy recipes, when I happened across Sweet Potato & Red Pepper Pasta on The secret ingredient is a short tube of grocery store "chevre." To amp up the volume, I picked up the herbed "chevre." That's just my way of getting creative in a pinch...anyway...ready?

While boiling up some pasta, saute some garlic, sliced red pepper and one raw, peeled, shredded sweet potato. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the saute. Toss around with some tongs and add the goat cheese - crumbled up is good - it allows it to be incorporated more easily. Add a few tablespoons of chopped tarragon (or rosemary, or basil, or whatever you like) and a few tablespoons of chopped parsley. It its a little thick, just add a little of the pasta water to thin it out. Throw in some salt and pepper and Bob's your uncle! Dinner in 20+ minutes with a minimum of mess or fuss. You could definitely add a chicken breast or some spinach if you are looking to add even more veggies.

The tangy creaminess of the goat cheese combined with the soft sweetness of the sweet potato and pepper is pretty amazing. It's like you've made a cream sauce without all the fuss. The tube of cheese is perfect here. Plus, I would probably feel guilty using a Selles-sur-Cher, or some other exquisite artisinal goat cheese in this recipe. That little gem really belongs on a baguette with some Savignon Blanc. But, in this case, I think that the ingredients together elevate the lowly plastic tube of goat cheese to something so much greater than itself.

So, please, as you learn more about the wonderful world of cheese, don't totally shun your grocery store cheese counter. There are some tasty morsels there, just make sure to use them well, and accept them for what they are.

Cheese dreams all! Even in the grocery store!

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