Early last month a representative from Paint Valley Farms, a local creamery, reached out to me with a few samples of their product. I received a small tub of “Chevre”, a smooth and creamy French-style goat cheese that I have always loved, and this product was exceptional! He also brought a sample of goat’s milk feta cheese. Most feta seems to be made from cow’s milk these days, robbing feta cheese of its distinctive pungent flavor, replacing it with a weak and overly salted flavor. The Feta cheese from Paint Valley was everything you could hope for in quality cheese. Both samples had me hooked, so I had to figure out how to incorporate them into our current menus.
For our new Juniper Lounge small plate menu, I created a Tomato and Goat Cheese tart using the Chevre. The creaminess of the cheese is a perfect balance for a punch of the balsamic glazed shallots and the acidity of the lemon vinaigrette. All of these factors paired with the buttery crust, and the fresh heirloom tomato seasoned with chopped rosemary make it a perfect excuse to enjoy some local cheese and a cocktail in our new lounge.
We incorporated the feta cheese into our popular Four Cheese and Broccoli Quiche, and it made a great dish even better. I loved this feta so much, that I also made a tomato salad dish that isn’t on the menu yet, but will be soon: Heirloom Tomatoes topped with cucumbers, red onion, kalamata olives, extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, and goat’s milk feta. Simple, but so good.
When Paint Valley Farms dropped off those samples, they made a great month even better.
I am so excited about this new product, and I hope the next time you visit, you enjoy it too!
Until then, Happy Cooking!
Chef Bret Andreasen