Grilled Nectarines & Goat Cheese Crostinis

Grilled Nectarines and Goat Cheese Crostinis

Grilled Nectarines and Goat Cheese Crostinis

I love Goat Cheese.  Really any and all goat cheeses rock my world!  It’s creaminess, it’s the fact that it’s cheese, it’s from a goat (such cuties), it’s easy to use, it’s versatile and it’s healthy.  All around a win-win situation!

I almost called these bruschettas and I actually had to go figure out what’s the difference between a bruschetta and a crostini….don’t laugh at me.  I can’t pretend to know everything, but the internet is a marvelous place filled with an infinite amount of useless info….I mean really who truly cares if it’s a crostini or a bruschetta?  (Don’t send me hate mail…it’s just my view of it!)  The world won’t end because I called something a crostini versus a bruschetta…well I sure as heck hope not!

If you want to know more about the differences between a crostini and a bruschetta you can go here or here

it's a crostini...it's a bruschetta....nope crostini...

it’s a crostini…it’s a bruschetta….nope crostini…

Let’s get to the recipe shall we…..(because after my research it’s quite OK for me to call it a crostini….just sayin’)

Ingredients:

For the Goat Cheese:

1 5-ounce plain goat cheese (container or packet, whatever your grocery carries)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

For the Nectarines:

2 nectarines (firm preferably), quartered and pitted

1 small onion, cut into fairly thick slices

olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh basil, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Grilled bread slices for serving (baguette, country bread, italian rustic bread…what ever floats your boat!)

How to:

For the Goat Cheese:

In a medium bowl combine your goat cheese with your fresh herbs, add a touch of salt and pepper to taste.  Transfer to a serving bowl.  Keep in your fridge until ready to serve.

delicious herb goat cheese

delicious herb goat cheese

For the Nectarines:

Heat your grill.  Drizzle a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt on your nectarines and onion slices.  Grill your nectarines and onion slices on all sides.  Keep an eye on this so you don’t have burnt pieces…which would result in bitter pieces!  Let cool slightly.  Roughly chop and put in a bowl.  Add your fresh herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  You are done!  Keep in fridge until ready to serve.

lovely grilled nectarine salsa

lovely grilled nectarine salsa

To serve:

I like to keep it simple and put the goat cheese, nectarines and bread on the table and let people help themselves but you could be nice and make it for them…your choice!  Bottom line: piece of grilled bread, a good schmear of goat cheese and a nice dollop of grilled nectarines makes for an amazing bite!

the perfect bite!

the perfect bite!

Note: you can substitute any fresh herbs you like, I would only suggest if you change it for the goat cheese then go ahead and change the same one for the nectarines…just to carry the flavor through.

Another note: you could easily use peaches for this dish.  I am a lover of nectarines so that is usually my go-to.  But I know it would still be super delicious with peaches!

light flavorful and such an easy summer appetizer

light flavorful and such an easy summer appetizer

Printer Friendly: Grilled Nectarines & Goat Cheese Crostinis

Peace and No World Ending Today.

Isabelle

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Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce

Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce

Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce

I am in tomato heaven here at home.  I have processed and canned over 40lbs of tomatoes so far!  On top of which we have eaten BLTs pretty much twice a week for the past month or so.  I have made countless tomato salads and added them to numerous meals unbeknown to my family.  So why one more tomato recipe?  Simple: guilt.

The Dean and DeLuna Cookbook

The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook

Guilt that years ago I asked Grandpa Jack (Mr. Man’s paternal Grand Father) for The Dean and DeLuca Cookbook and I have NEVER made one single recipe from this cookbook.  NOT ONE!  But I HAD to have the darn cookbook.  So this morning I was rummaging through my cookbooks looking for some inspiration and there it was!  Looking right at me saying: “hey lady! I have awesome recipes from our awesome restaurant in awesome NYC”…… OK so we all know cookbooks don’t talk per say but they kind of do when you think about it….well, in my world they do!

Here is a super simple yet lovely and luscious recipe for all those scrumptious tomatoes we are enjoying this time of year!

oh my....pasta and tomato heaven!

oh my….pasta and tomato heaven!

this is pretty much the game plan...easy, right?

this is pretty much the game plan…easy, right?

Ingredients:

6 ounces fresh soft goat cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 pounds ripe tomatoes, (about 6 medium) peeled, seeded, and finely diced

salt and pepper to taste

4 to 6 tablespoons of oil-soaked sun-dried tomatoes, shredded

Fresh basil for serving (not in original recipe but tomato and basil are BFFS!)

1 lb pasta of your choice (…I went with angel hair because that’s what I had!)

How to:

Mash together the goat cheese and olive oil in a bowl with a fork until smooth.  Gently stir in ripe tomatoes.

simple mash up!

simple mash up!

add the tomatoes...please use the proper size bowl....unlike me!

add the tomatoes…please use the proper size bowl….unlike me!

Toss with hot pasta.  (Add a little of the hot pasta cooking water if a thinner sauce is desired.)  Season with salt and pepper.  Place in bowls, and top each bowl with a tablespoon of sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil.  Serve immediately.

my love for pasta is unreal....this is PERFECT!

my love for pasta is unreal….this is PERFECT!

Note:  I didn’t even bother peeling my tomatoes.  They were fresh, delicious and perfect from my garden.  I didn’t get one single complaint about the “no-peeling” decision!  Also I served family style instead of individual bowls.  Easier, simpler and still tasty!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH MY WORD!

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH MY WORD!

Love that this is a no cook pasta, perfect during the hot sweltering August days.  So timely!  🙂

Printer Friendly: Goat Cheese and Tomato Sauce

Peace and I Love My Garden,

Isabelle

p.s. I had plenty for leftover the next day and it was still mouth-watering and fabulous!

Note: Please go check out my recipe and other fabulous recipes here:

Pesto and Goat Cheese Pasta

Pesto Goat Cheese Pasta (with optional shredded chicken)

Pesto and Goat Cheese Pasta (with optional shredded chicken)

This was either a moment of brilliance on my part or simple gluttony.  I actually had a dream about this dish…come to think of it…I dream about food quite a lot.  What does that mean?   I am hungry.  I am obsessed with food.  I am obsessed with new recipes.  I have nothing better to dream about.  I feel voids with food….oh wow…that escalated quickly!

Here’s the recipe….make of my dream what you will…it was delicious…both in my dream world and my real world!

Note: I made my own Kale & Arugula Pesto with Raw Almonds, it is simply a twist on my Classic Pesto.  I didn’t add garlic because I didn’t want to overpower the soft goat cheese.  I try to use “power foods” in my cooking as much as possible…Kale and Arugula are mac daddy power foods!  Feel free to change the recipe according to your liking.

delicious!

delicious!

Ingredients:

For the Pesto:

2 cups packed arugula leaves

2 cups packed kale leaves

1/2 cup raw unsalted almonds

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

3/4 cup olive oil

For the Pasta:

1 cup of Pesto (homemade or store-bought)

4-ounces soft goat cheese

1 lb pasta: of any kind, shape or size you like

1 to 2 cups warm shredded chicken, for serving (optional)

Fresh parsley, chopped for serving

How to:

For the Pesto: Put all ingredients in your food processor except olive oil.  Press start button and puree as much as you like.  Add your olive oil and combine well.

kale & arugula pesto, such a lovely green color

kale & arugula pesto, such a lovely green color

For the Pasta: Cook your pasta according to package’s directions.  (I like mine with some “tooth” so I always cook Al Dente)  Keep 1/2 cup of cooking water.  In case your sauce is too thick you may loosen it up with a little starchy water….yummy!

For the sauce: Simply put your 1 cup pesto sauce in a large pan.  Start heating it up gently (very gently) add your goat cheese by breaking it up into little pieces.  Using a spoon or whisk gently combine the pesto and cheese until the cheese is melted.  Add your cooked pasta and gently toss to combine.  Pour your pasta into a large serving bowl and top with shredded chicken (if using) and freshly chopped parsley (also another power food).

adding the cheese to the pesto (call me Captain Obvious)

adding the cheese to the pesto (call me Captain Obvious)

nice creamy sauce

nice creamy sauce

gentle action shot!

gentle action shot!

looking amazing and smelling fantastic

looking amazing and smelling fantastic

I love love love this dish.  I love the peppery taste of the arugula, slight bitterness of the kale and the incredible creaminess of the goat cheese…and we all know I LOVE pasta more than life itself!

I love the family style serving but definitely go with what works for you

I love the family style serving but definitely go with what works for you

This makes a pretty good quantity, plenty for 5 or 6 if you ask me…or at our home 4 with delicious leftovers the next day!

Note: the Pesto recipe makes more than you need but pesto is so versatile.  You could make Green Rice: plain rice mixed with pesto (genius!), pesto is great in sandwiches, pizza pesto: substitute your red sauce with pesto, you can rub pesto over plain chicken breast before cooking them….the sky’s the limit!

first bite....ready, set, eat

first bite….ready, set, eat

Printer Friendly:  Pesto and Goat Cheese Pasta

Peace and Dream On,

Isabelle

For more info on Power Food: Wholeliving.com

I shared my recipe on this lovely linky party as well:

Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna

Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna

I was asked to review this recipe a few weeks ago.  Oddly enough I received 4 or 5 emails in the span of 1 week to review recipes, products and lord knows what.  I have to be honest with you guys; I don’t always care to review stuff because if I don’t like it I somewhat feel bad being brutally honest…yet I remind myself that this is why they contacted me.  I also don’t really care to fill my blog with reviews.  It is just boring to me.  TO ME!  Don’t send hate mail if you like to fill yours with reviews…more power to you!

Here’s the exception: this lasagna.

#1: it is DELICIOUS!

#2: Reader’s Digest Canada asked…my home land, the glorious Northern neighbor to my current “homeland”…how could I say no?  Well, I could have said no…but I said yes, if it had been tasteless or bad I would have not posted about it…turns out, it’s scrumptious!  As you know I have a weakness for anything roasted, which meant that I was already dreaming of this hitting all the right notes in the roasting department!

Here is where you can find this delicious recipe (and more!):  Readers Digest Canada

Ingredients:

2 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
3 Asian eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 sweet red peppers, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 cups cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 head garlic, top 1/4 sliced off
Sauce
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups 1% milk, hot
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 1/2 cups goat cheese, crumbled (12 oz)
3/4 lb  fusilli or other curly pasta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano

How to:

Combine onions, zucchini, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes in a large bowl.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme.  Spread on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Wrap garlic in aluminum foil and place on one of the baking sheets.  Roast in a pre­heated 400 degrees F. oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until tender and nicely browned.  Unwrap and squeeze garlic out of casing into vegetables.  Reserve.

that’s a LOT of veggies! I ❤ ❤ ❤ roasted vegetables

For béchamel sauce, melt butter in a large sauce­pan.  Whisk in flour and cook gently 2 to 3 minutes but do not brown.  Whisk in hot milk and bring to a boil.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper or more to taste. Season with Worcestershire and Tabasco.  Cook, stirring often, about 8 minutes.  Add goat cheese.  Stir to combine.

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just tender.  Drain well.  Toss with vegetables.

To assemble, spread about 1/2 cup sauce over the bottom of a buttered 9- x 13-in. baking dish.  Spread pasta/vegetable mixture over pan.  Spoon sauce over top.  Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano.

Oven Ready! Already smells delicious!

Place casserole dish on a baking sheet lined with foil.  Bake uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F. oven, until bubbling and lightly browned.

Beautiful crust and amazing aromas filling the house.

Review: Matt loved the dish, went back for seconds.  Didn’t even mention the fact that it is a vegetarian dish.  Sunshine and Bear also loved everything but the tomatoes (it was mentioned twice in their “report”!)  I also loved this dish, if I could only say one negative is that in my opinion it is not a “lasagna” but really a baked pasta dish…but I always fuss over such technicalities!  I love all the veggies and the goat cheese is such a great taste in the sauce!

Let’s dig in!

Printer Friendly: Roasted Ratatouille Lasagna

Peace and Be The Exception,

Isabelle

I shared my recipe on this lovely linky party, go check it out:

Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

You know when you go to bed hungry and your start thinking about delicious food ideas….THIS is how this recipe came to light.  I must say I didn’t sleep much last night because I kept dreaming of goat cheese and roasted vegetables over french bread but all and all it was a delightful and tasty dream. (that just sounded weird but I’m not changing it…)

I have a slight obsession with roasted veggies.  It’s under control for the most part and I haven’t tried to make roasted vegetable cookies…YET…but I don’t want a yuck factor to hurt my magical little morsels of pure delight…OK…as you can tell this “no-cookie” business till Easter is starting to affect me…let’s move on to the Bruschetta, it’s safer for now.

Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Ingredients:

1 pound asparagus (more or less)

1 red pepper cut into large chunks

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and Pepper

1 serving Balsamic Reduction (see: Balsamic Reduction Post ) for printer friendly see below

6-ounce Goat Cheese

French Baguette, sliced

Olive Oil (for brushing on baguette)

1 garlic clove, peeled and cut in half

How to:

Before I start I should mention that this is not an exact recipe.  I did give you quantities but in all reality go with your guts on this, you can’t mess it up.  Bottom line is: you need a lovely french bread that needs to be grilled, then you top it with goat cheese, a little bit of roasted veggies and drizzled with a lovely balsamic reduction….it’s all good in the neighborhood!

So here goes:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchement paper or silpat.

Put your vegetables in your pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Add your salt and pepper and using your hand (or whatever else) gently toss to coat everything well.  Put in your preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Let cool to room temperature and cut into small bite sizes.  Put both asparagus and peppers in a serving bowl.  (you may want to mix them up a little bit so the beautiful colors are nicely distributed)

before….

after…

sizing things up….

a little bowl of magical veggies

Make balsamic reduction (see previous post or printer friendly for directions)

Time to grill your bread, you can either do this on the grill (which I did) or in a pan, either ways work.  Slice your bread about 3/4 inch thick (no rules just slice) Using the cut side of your garlic rub on both sides of each pieces.  Using a brush “paint” the olive oil also on both sides of your sliced bread.  Grill slowly until your get a beautiful crust.

the garlic

the olive oil

and the delicious bread

Time to assemble: Put a good “schmear” of goat cheese on each piece of bread, top with a spoon full of roasted vegetables and simply drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

A platter of delicious bruschetta

Please note: that you MUST assemble at least one bruschetta just for yourself and taste it quite selfishly to see how delicious this simple appetizer is.  Now finish the rest of them and serve to your guests, all along pretending you have no idea how amazing it will taste!

the selfish bite

Printer Friendly (contains both Bruschetta and Reduction): Roasted Asparagus, Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Printer Friendly for Balsamic Reduction: Balsamic Reduction

Peace and Schmear,

Isabelle

p.s. This is how I luckily enjoyed this lovely appetizer.  My sweet husband and I sat down with a crisp glass of Chardonnay and this amazing snack!

quiet and peaceful…how do you like the make-do table? 🙂

Find my recipe here as well (go check it out!)