Everyone is all excited about produce right now. And they should be – growing season is a pretty big deal. The Farmers’ Market’s season opener is this Saturday and while I like the idea of the Farmers’ Market being open, this is Michigan. We aren’t growing much of anything yet.
I reserve the right to be excited, though. We’re still a bit shy of enjoying even asparagus, but we can start chowing down on another spring treat: goat cheese. Some of you already know all about this fantastic little cheese, and a few of you think it sounds gross to eat cheese made from goat’s milk. You’re the ones I want to work with right now (but cheese-plate veterans please check back in momentarily for a delicious recipe).
So why the spring? Well, you know how your allergies are driving you crazy? It’s all of the stuff blooming, right? Bad for your nose – good for the goats. They love all the yummy wildflowers and tasty things popping up in their pastures. The mama goats start producing milk for the spring babies, and the taste of their spring snacks gets into their milk. Is this doing anything to entice you to try it? Maybe I should try another approach.
Goat cheese is soft, and creamy. If you’re in West Michigan, try and find some from Dancing Goat Creamery. It’s so yummy. There are different varieties, but they all have a slightly tart taste. And if that isn’t enough, I read that goat cheese is hip and it doesn’t smack you in the face. I’m telling you, I am a barometer of food trends. No one believes me. Actually, I don’t care. I just want you to try new things. And avoid foods that smack you in the face. Who needs that?
So will my kids eat it? Yes and no. Yes, there is a way I can prepare that so that they will eat it but no, they will not just spread it on a cracker and chow down. I found this recipe years ago when I had some vegetarian friends over for dinner, and everyone – my kids AND the vegetarians – liked it. I don’t use canned beans because they are 1) expensive 2) salty and 3) mushy and I think it is a culinary crime to use goat cheese and fat-free sour cream in the same breath, let alone recipe. Other than those two changes, this is the recipe I have used many times:
BLACK BEAN AND GOAT CHEESE QUESADILLAS
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup salsa
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (19-ounce) can black beans, undrained
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 (4-ounce) package goat cheese, crumbled
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 3 minutes. Stir in /2 cup salsa, cumin, and beans, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until thick. Mash the bean mixture slightly with a potato masher. Remove from heat; stir in the cilantro and goat cheese.
Spread the bean mixture evenly over 4 tortillas; top each with 1 tortilla, pressing gently.
Heat 1/4 teaspoon olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 quesadilla, and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Repeat the procedure with the remaining olive oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into 6 wedges. Serve with fat-free sour cream and 1/2 cup salsa.