Posted by: gdevi | May 15, 2010

Beet and Goat Cheese Salad

To me the most delicious part of any meal is cheese and bread. I bought a lot of different types of cheese yesterday: smoked Gouda, soft Brie, Danish Rocquefort, some soft Camembert, some Emmentaler, some Gruyere — I want to make a fondue one of these days. Some Feta and some good old goat cheese, Chevre. I have eaten many kinds of cheese over the years and I like all cheese generally speaking, but I have to say that my favorite cheese has got to be goat cheese. In fact, if the city permits it–I don’t think they will; farm animals are not permitted within town limits–I would like to keep a goat and make some goat cheese. I used to have a goat when I was in India; I must have been eleven or twelve –my parents got me one, in Kerala it is very common to keep goats. People use goat milk as much as they use cow’s milk.  Goat milk is in fact closest to human breast milk and often diluted goat milk is given to infants if new mothers do not produce any milk for the babies.  My goat had a sweet gentle philosophical face.  I loved rubbing her face; very soft coat and beautiful black eyes and a soft moist little nose. She was a beautiful goat. We kept her in the backyard in a little shed next to the chickens.  We had to watch her because everything you have heard about goats eating everything under the sun is absolutely true; she could eat anything at all and she did. She preferred the young, tender leaves of the jackfruit tree which we would cut down in huge piles because she had a voracious appetite. Then she would move on to our other plants and gently work her way through them all. She ate newspaper for sure and I think she would have eaten metal cans and cardboard cartons too if we had offered her some. She had a seemingly endless pit for a stomach. There were some plants that could kill goats and we restrained her from approaching these. It was beautiful to touch her belly, soft and taut and the down on her belly was so smooth and beautiful. I loved my goat. One day, there was this man who came to my parents and told them that Ammini–that was my goat’s name–was ready to be mated. Apparently this was this man’s job-to get goats mated and to breed them. So he took Ammini away to this other house that had a billy goat that needed a mate. They mated and the man brought Ammini back home that evening. The next day Ammini died; she suffered heavy internal bleeding. Apparently she was not ready to be mated at all. The man obviously was clueless and so were we to have let him take her away to be mated.  We buried Ammini in the backyard. It would be wonderful to keep a goat again and to mate her properly and then to get her milk and to make some goat cheese for myself.

Here is a great goat cheese salad recipe. Melted goat cheese tastes very good with beetroots.

A bunch of tender spinach or arugula leaves

6 beetroots, skinned and diced

2 avocados

2 Tbsp roasted walnuts

2 Tbsp dried cranberries

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp fresh black pepper

Reserve 1-2 Tbsp of fresh goat cheese per each serving of the salad.  Goat cheese should always be kept wrapped in plastic wrap or wax paper and in general all cheese should be set out an hour before serving; this way they’ll become soft to the room temperature.

Oil-lemon-garlic salad dressing: Always use oil-lemon juice in the following proportion- 3:1. The dressing becomes really tasty if you make it this way: put one garlic clove with a bit of sea salt at the bottom of a salad bowl and then crush it with the back of a spoon. Crush and mix the garlic and the salt well to make a fairly smooth paste. Then add the lemon juice to this mix and adjust salt and mix well together with the paste. Add the olive oil and mix well to emulsify it. Always add the dressing just before you serve the salad. If you prefer vinegar to lemon juice, go ahead; I like the taste of lemon juice more than vinegar.

Cook the beets until they are tender. Skin and peel the avocados and dice them the same size as the beets. Pile the spinach or arugula leaves; add the walnuts and cranberries. Add the avocado pieces. Pile the warm beets on top. Immediately add the goat cheese on top of the beets–the goat cheese will melt ever so slightly in the warmth of the cooked beets. Pour the dressing over the salad. Add crushed black pepper. Mix lightly but well until everything is coated with the dressing. Eat with any kind of wholesome bread.


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