Archive for the 'cheese' Category

Butter Chicken Tarts with Gouda


(I’ve been a tad obsessed with vintage cookbooks lately – especially those from the fifties and sixties, with their overuse of food colouring and vivid food photos. Although there are no frankfurters or gellies here, don’t you think this photo could be circa 1963?)

I was on the road for a chunk of last week, talking on TV about local cheese and the myriad of ways it makes people happy during the holidays. Cheese is generally the focal point when people gather at our house at this time of year – almost always melty, and in enormous quantities. I tend to fall back on the usuals – goat cheese with warmed herby, garlicky olive oil, a skillet fondue, baked brie with maple-pecan praline and the omnipresent homemade Raincoast crisps – but among the recipes we made was a butter chicken tart, smothered in Gouda. That’s right.


I can’t take full credit for these – the recipe was developed for the Dairy Farmers of Canada (they put together 30 holiday recipes, divided into 5 party menus, from casual to fancy), and the food stylist brought them to the set premade along with ingredients to start from the beginning. After we finished taping, she let me bring the assembled tarts home to bake for a Christmas party last night – let me tell you people become very excited when presented with a platter of warm tarts filled with butter tart filling and topped with golden, bubbling cheese.

Gouda Butter Chicken Tarts

15 homemade or store-bought tart shells
2 Tbsp. butter
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts or thighs, diced
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/3 cup 35% cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 1/4 cup grated Canadian Gouda, divided

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place tart shells on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet melt the butter over medium-high heat. Sauté the chicken with the onions, garlic and curry powder for 4–5 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and cream and season with salt and pepper. Stir, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes, until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro and half the cheese. Divide among tart shells and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake for 10–15 minutes, or long enough to melt the cheese. Makes about 15 tarts.

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December 07 2014 | appetizers and cheese | 12 Comments »

Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

marinated goat cheese 2

Blooms on apple trees are like ripening avocados – notreadyyetnotreadyyetnotreadyyet – BLOOM! One day they explode from their buds, and then the next day the wind picks up or the rain washes all those little white petals away. All over the deck you just finished staining – with sticky, oily $50-a-pail stuff that says right on the label “do not paint if weather is threatening”.

patio Collage

But we did anyway, and then we invited some friends over for Prosecco and bourbon lemonade and summery nibbles on said patio, namely this goat cheese with warm garlicky-pepper-herb olive oil that takes approximately one minute to make. And isn’t it pretty? My friend Gwendolyn makes this with her family every Christmas Eve – to her it tastes like Christmas, but to me it tastes like awesome – and perfect for summer when pots of fresh rosemary and thyme are sitting on my windowsill. I like to put a few sprigs in a little jar with some peppercorns and a couple of garlic cloves and let it wait.. then when you’re opening the wine, pop it in the microwave to warm for 30 seconds and pour it over a log of goat cheese. That’s it. And though it’s simple, it tastes so much better than the sum of its parts.

marinated goat cheese 3

Those dates? Whole Medjools sauteed in olive oil with sea salt – an idea that came in the first chapter of Molly‘s new book, Delancey. I added a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary and they’re divine – warm and soft and somewhat crunchy on the outside from the oil and the heat of the pan. Sweet and savoury and perfect with cheese.

marinated goat cheese 1

Once made, this becomes one of those back pocket recipes you make all the time – at least I have – the sort that you don’t need to refer back to the original to make. The very best kind.

Goat Cheese with Garlicky Herbed Olive Oil

Adapted from Gourmet, via Gwendolyn Richards

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed or thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
leaves of 2-3 sprigs of thyme
8-10 whole black or pink peppercorns
¼ tsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed (optional)
1 250g log soft goat cheese

crusty bread or baguette slices

In a small saucepan, heat the olive oil with the garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper and coriander; place the goat cheese in a shallow dish and pour the warm oil overtop. (Alternatively, combine the oil and herbs in a jar; keep in the fridge until you’re ready for it, then remove the lid, microwave the jar for 30 seconds, until the oil is hot, then pour over the goat cheese.)

Serve immediately with crusty bread or crackers. Serves 8.

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May 26 2014 | appetizers and cheese | 9 Comments »

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