Queso de Cabra

Posted by

Best. Day. Ever. OK, maybe not EVER, but today was definitely the best day that I’ve had all week! Today I gave my first food demonstration at the grand opening of the Briggs Community Garden in Durham. It went really well, but if you know anything about me, you know that my triumphs often have a dramatic story attached to them. Luckily, this time, the story is only semi-dramatic.

The drama started when I was approached to be the guest chef for the event (yes, I was anointed with the title chef !). My mission… to make a dish or two highlighting seasonal, local food. If I could potentially raise awareness about “non-traditional,” healthy food too, that would be great. Easy right?

Of course not! Although I specialize in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, I do not specialize in raw foods and what type of ‘cooking’ was I going to be able to do in a garden??!?!? Also, in my mind, raising awareness about “non-traditional” foods seemed to be a delicate line to tow. If the dish was too creative or eccentric or contained too many syllables, folks would frown and wouldn’t try it. So, I had to be gentle with my approach….

First, I prepped some of the food ahead of time. Heat source issue solved. I would just ‘assemble’ at the garden. Second, I decided on two dishes that highlighted the power of spices when making vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Both dishes featured local, farm fresh vegetables and packed major flavor. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters–sabor. If your food has it, people will like it, whether it’s vegetarian, vegan, or otherwise. Without flavor, you’re a goner. And despite waking up at 3:00 AM with heart palpitations because I was so nervous, I felt confident that I could pull off flavor, even in a garden.

In the end, my vegan curry couscous with local vegetables and vegan curry “chicken” salad wrap with grapes and pea shoots went over really well :) and I’ll be posting recipes for both dishes on Como Water soon. I’ll also be blogging about the event on the CFSA website later this week and will include the link on a Como Water post if anyone is interested in reading it. But now, onto the queso de cabra.

Queso de Cabra is the third recipe in my series from the La Primavera party (yes, I am still posting recipes from the party! and I still have more to go!!!). In college, my friend Christina and I worked at a tapas restaurant and this was one of our favorite dishes from that restaurant. It’s one of those non-recipe recipes (I have a lot of recipes like this!) where the ingredients are simple and the method is straightforward, but the flavors just make you sigh with satisfaction and comfort.

Queso de Cabra (Printable Version)

Ingredients:

8 ounces goat cheese

1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (see below for recipe or use store bought)

Fresh basil

Fresh bread

Olive oil

Method:

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the goat cheese into a 1/2-inch slice and lay in a baking dish. Spoon marinara sauce into the baking dish until to the top of the cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes uncovered until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Serve with fresh, warm bread (I served with ciabatta, a baguette is also nice) drizzled lightly with olive oil and fresh basil. Easy!

 

* * *

Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion–chopped

1 bell pepper–chopped

1/2 jalapeno–chopped

2 cloves garlic–minced

2 carrots–grated

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 28 oz can plum tomatoes

1/4 cup red wine

1 dry bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 tablespoons fresh parsley–chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil–chopped

Olive oil

salt/pepper

pinch sugar

Method:

*Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to large pot over medium heat. Add onions, bell pepper, jalapeno, and carrots. Saute approximately 1o minutes or until vegetables start to soften. Add garlic, oregano, bay leafs, large pinch of salt, black pepper. Cook until garlic is soft. Add tomato paste. Cook 2 minutes. Add plum tomatoes (squish in your hand as you add them…it’s very therapeutic!) to the pot with the juices, along with your red wine. Drop the heat to medium low and let simmer at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. At the end of simmering, add fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil. Adjust seasoning and serve.

Lastly, I wanted to thank Begona at Aroma y Cocina and Sandra at Sweet Sensations for the recent blogger awards they passed on to me. Both of these blogs are truly amazing and have mouthwatering recipes that you’ll want to try pronto, pronto!

Comments

Written by

Tiffany M. Griffin is the woman behind Como Water, Washington DC’s premiere veg-centric cuisine consulting company. Through cooking classes, demonstrations, catering, and consultations, Como Water gives people the opportunity to learn how to prepare veg-centric cuisine that boasts maximum flavor, with minimal effort. Tiffany is quickly becoming a go-to expert on the future of veg-centric cuisine, and is a regular contributor to Como Water, the blog, as well as to vegetarian and vegan sites across the Internet. For over a decade, this self-taught, entrepreneurial expert has developed a set of tried and true techniques for making simple, delicious, and sometimes decadent veg-centric dishes. Featured on the Steve Harvey Show and other leading media outlets, Tiffany was born and raised in Springfield, MA. She then earned Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Communications from Boston College and a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Washington DC, where she has worked in the US Senate and at a federal agency on issues around health, food, nutrition, and international food aid/development, and of course, as the owner of Como Water. Tiffany gets culinary inspiration from the food she grew up eating, and from her travels throughout Latin America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is dedicated to sharing her wealth of knowledge on veg-centric cuisine with others and to help others live by her mantra—love life, live long, and eat veg-centric cuisine!

Comments

  1. This is my kind of recipe simple and delicious. I will have to give this one a try.

  2. I could sit in front of your Queso de Cabra with a hunk of sourdough bread and take up residence there! Yumola—And you’re welcome:)

  3. I’m sure you rocked the garden party, Miss Chef! Can’t wait to see the recipe you used :) Well done!

  4. congrats on your first demonstration! I also do a lot of local demos, trying to introduce my little island to some new ideas. So fun! Perhaps I’ll teach them your delicious Queso de Cabra next! Theresa

  5. A guest chef?!?! Thats awesome, and both the recipes sound wonderful! This Queso de Cabra looks wonderful too!

  6. Congratulations your chefness! Well done on a very successful demonstration. Sounds like you’re a natural.

    Lovely recipe too – lots of cooking is about how ingredients are put together and this ‘non-recipe recipe’ is a prime (and delicious) example.

  7. I’m sure you changed all their misconceived ideas about vegetarian & vegan food with your flavour packed dishes! That is my mission too! I am drooling over the queso de cabra, still got another 3 weeks of detox to go but I am not missing the cheese as much as I thought!

    • Three more weeks? YOU CAN DO IT!!! 😀

  8. Congrats on your successful demonstration! I had no doubt you would do splendidly! :-) As for this recipe… it looks so delicious I would eat it right now. Easy to make?? Even better!!!!! :-)

  9. Glad your inaugural demonstration went so well! Congrats. And this queso looks delicious.

  10. Oh, what deliciousness! Congrats to Chef Tiff!!!

  11. Chef Tiffany, Congrats!! :)
    Your queso de cabra sounds really good… I would love to dig in right about now!

  12. Really ” Como Water”, ” Como en casa”. Excellent sauce.
    Glad to know about all your success!
    All the best.

    Begoña

  13. There is no way this could suck! I’m pretty sure i could bathe in that Queso de Cabra, great job!

  14. Congrats on the food demonstration. Sounded like a fun opportunity. The queso de cabra sounds delicious and love how you add carrots to your marinara. Yum!

  15. Easy yet appetizing! You can buy green bean or mung bean flour from Indian grocer, hope this helps…….

  16. Congrats on your successful demonstration Chef Tiffany! I enjoyed reading “semi”-dramatic story. :-) Your Queso de Cabra looks delicious and looking forward to the recipes!

  17. Tiffany, proud of you Chef! Way to go. Sure did sound like a challenge and now that you’ve got over the initial nerve barrier, you’ll be rocking onto many more! Can’t wait to see the recipes with grapes and pea-shoots? Wow. Another great recipe with your Queso. Bravo!

  18. This looks so good, I want it for breakfast right now! Congrats on your guest-chef experience. Looking forward to seeing what you made!

  19. That is so exciting! I can’t wait for the “chicken” salad recipe :)

  20. Congrats on your demonstration, that is so cool:)
    Plus dish looks fantastic….great:)

  21. Congratulations on your successful cooking demonstration! :-)
    This queso de cabra sounds fantastic.

  22. How fun that you got to be the “chef” at a fun event like that, and you worked around your limitations of having to prepare the food in a garden. Your queso de cabra looks great too. I’m a fan of goat cheese, and these simple, fresh flavors put together looks so delicious.

  23. Hello Chef Tiffany 😀 … that sounds like fun! And this recipe has got me tingling for pasta tonight!

  24. This has to be delicious.. bread and goat cheese? This definitely beats what I ate for dinner tonight!

  25. Thanks for the comments! You all have no idea how wide my smile is as I read through each and every one of them! 😀

  26. Great sauce recipe. My Sicilian roots are proud. Which tapas place inspired this? In Boston?

    • Tasca on Comm Ave!

  27. Congratulations on the huge success with the garden cooking! The dishes sound wonderful and I can’t wait to see them.

    That dip (?) looks fantastic and like something I could easily make for a gathering. Thanks for sharing the recipe.