a recipe from the artisan goat cheese queen! ::::
Goat cheese? Did you say goat cheese? Maaaaaa-aahh!
The creativity and industriousness of some people amaze me. I have little business sense except to take care of my family’s finances, pay my exorbitant student loans, look for the on sale items when shopping. When I see start-up companies flourish, I wish I had the wherewithal and gumption to manage something in the same frame. One such person is Tasia Malakasis. She learned the art of cheesemaking and took the reins of cheese company Belle Chevre in her native state of Alabama. Since then, the company has garnered numerous awards and accolades for the carefully-crafted goat cheeses. The Belle Chevre website gives the story in more detail.
She is a dynamo of a woman, recently releasing her cookbook Tasia’s Table. I was invited by the company to try one of the recipes, blog about it, and offer a little something to you all….maybe a cookbook? I chose the black bean and goat cheese recipe to try. It’s very simple; of course, I complicated the process by cooking with dried beans. It was a nice deviation from the canned and worth a try. You have my comments in the recipe to help you through the cooking process, if you decide to try the dried bean version versus the canned beans.
The goat cheese takes the dish over the edge (excellent!) and the cilantro oil is a nice touch (especially if using dried, cooked beans that might be a little more dry than the canned version). Some sources report the herby epazote over cilantro may help mitigate the development of flatulence expected with bean consumption. (I’ve heard certain spices also do the same in lentil soups.) No matter your fart tolerance, beans are a great source of protein and nourishment. And if you want to veganize it, try some roasted tomatoes on top instead of the cheese. Don’t miss out on Tasia’s new book — you might find some other keepers. Hey, it could be yours free if you comment here! What you have to do: comment on my blog on your favorite goat cheese recipe OR send me a facebook “friend” request by 12:01AM on October 14. Tasia’s group will get in touch with you if you are the lucky winner! (Maybe a nice early Christmas gift — to yourself?)
Here are my general back bean conversions (I’m sure there are others of you with similar experiences):
1 15-ounce can black beans = approximately 1/2 cup dried black beans, uncooked. It’s about 1 1/2 cups of beans after cooking. (1 part dry is 3 parts cooked.) Using dry black beans? 2 cups of dry black beans (about 1 pound or 454 grams) before cooking is about 6 cups of beans after cooking (or 4 15-ounce cans). So what do we need in Tasia’s recipe? She calls for 2 15-ounce cans of black beans. I converted this to 1 cup of dried black beans uncooked = 3 cups of dried beans cooked.
Tasia is having a virtual potluck today, so you may see other blogging about her recipes today (and perhaps more books to give away….) Do you want more of my goaty recipes? I’ve highlighted the cheese in my raw and appetizer showstopper goat cheese-stuffed red peppers, the lovely honeyed goat cheese tart with a pistachio crust, and the warm pepper-glazed goat cheese gratin. Here is yet another winner, with the inspiration from a artisan cheese company tucked in the goaty hills of Alabama.
- 2 cans black beans, drained (Tasia uses canned -- she didn't mention the ounces, but I assume it's the standard 15 ounce can. I like cooking with dried beans, so instructions for both are below.)
- 1 onion, chopped (Tasia doesn't say how big an onion - I went for a medium one weighing 215 g or about 8 ounces)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 6 ounces goat cheese (So many choices! Try a mild goat cheese. Or maybe a soft, stinky one. You choose.)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup olive oil plus 1 tablespoon
- ½ teaspoon salt (plus more if you are using dried beans instead of the pre-salted canned ones)
- IF USING DRIED BEANS: Soak beans overnight (or at least 8 hours) covered in 2 inches of water. Drain the next day and immerse in fresh water before cooking. Bring to boil, then simmer for approximately 40-50 minutes, or until beans are softened but not mushy. Forgot to soak overnight (me!) and have a couple of hours? Quick-soak the beans instead: rinse and cover beans with water (about 4 cups), bring to a boil, and boil for 2 minutes. Turn off heat and allow to sit for 2 minutes, covered. Remove from burner and allow to sit for 1 hour. Drain, cover with new water, and cook, covered, for another hour, checking tenderness at 45 minutes. Caution: the beans may break up more easily with the quick-soak method. If you don't care what the beans look like (for dips or mashes), then no worries. Otherwise, use the overnight soak method. And remember: no salt or acid when cooking! Don't toughen up the beans! We'll add this later.
- IF USING CANNED BEANS: Crack open those cans with a can opener, and give them a rinse under water.
- AFTER YOUR BEAN CHOICES HAVE BEEN MADE, PROCEED: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over med high heat and sauté the onion and garlic until tender.
- Add beans and salt and pepper to taste (if cooking from dried beans, you may need to add more salt).
- Mash with a fork or blend coarsely in a food processor, if desired.
- Purée cilantro, oil, and salt in clean blender, scraping down sides of blender several times.
- Pour oil into a sieve set over a bowl and let drain 15 minutes. Discard solids. Sprinkle warm beans with goat cheese and drizzle with cilantro. If cooking dried beans, you may need a little more goat cheese.