Posts Tagged goat cheese

Vine Ripened Tomatoes With Goat Cheese, Pistachios, Fresh Basil and Balsamic Drizzle

Vine_Ripe_TomatoOkay, I have not yet taken a photo of this appetizer. I promise that I will as soon as possible, but I made this on a whim for a cookout and just didn’t get the chance. So, you will have to visualize this for the time being. You’re not going to layer these tomatoes in slices. You’re going to literally put the tomatoes back together after you cut them and dress them with goat cheese, pistachios and balsamic drizzle.

These are not only very easy to make, but also seriously addictive, I warn you. A friend of mine made these and told me that their guests ate so many of these appetizers that they never got to the main event.


6 vine-ripened tomatoes

1 cup pistachios, roughly chopped

8 oz goat cheese

2 tbsp Tuscan Seasoning (McCormick’s makes a great product)

Balsamic drizzle

8 large fresh basil leaves, trimmed and cut in strips

6 toothpicks


The first thing you want to do is slice off a bit of the bottom of each tomato so that they will stand up without rolling on their sides. Set aside.

Take the goat cheese out of the fridge and remove it from its packaging. Allow it to sit for about an hour until it comes to room temperature and becomes soft. Once it has reached that point, blend in the Tuscan seasoning. There’s no need to add salt. The Tuscan seasoning incorporates enough salt.

Slice each tomato into three layers, leaving the stems on the top piece. Spread goat cheese on the bottom layer, add pistachios, a few pieces of fresh basil, and some balsamic drizzle. Do the same with the second layer and put it on top of the bottom layer. Put the top piece on and put a toothpick through the top to hold it all together. Repeat for all tomatoes.

Just before serving, apply some balsamic drizzle on top of the entire batch. If you have any chopped pistachios left over, just distribute them around the edge of the plate. This is great served with crusty Italian bread and a nice glass of red wine.

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Bacon-Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese

Dates wrapped in baconThere isn’t an easier appetizer on the planet. And there isn’t one more delicious than this. In fact, these are downright addictive, and you might not have any room for the main course. These are crazy good. The contrast in taste between the sweetness of the dates and the saltiness of the bacon is amazing. The goat cheese may seem to simply be along for the ride, but it’s a pretty important ingredient.

I like to use Carando Apple Cider cured bacon, but any bacon will do…except turkey bacon. Sorry, it just doesn’t cut it. Save that for some other dish. Some recipes call for plain goat cheese. I like to use the herbed goat cheese for this recipe. Either way, you can’t miss.


1 package of Medjool Dates (about 20 per package)

Ten slices of bacon, cut in half

1 4-oz package of goat cheese, warmed to room temperature

1 tbsp half-and-half


Once the goat cheese has been brought to room temperature, add a splash of half-and-half and mix. Slice the dates and remove the pits. Using a teaspoon, stuff each date with some goat cheese. You’ll know when enough is there. Wrap in bacon.

Place in a 350-degree oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, checking occasionally. You’ll be able to tell when the bacon is cooked to perfection.

Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate. People can take these with their fingers, if you want. I prefer to stick a toothpick through each one on the serving dish.




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Baked Whole Beets

When I was a kid, I used to eat pickled beets cold out of the can, or my mother would put them in a salad. When I talk about beets now, people wrinkle their noses and say, “Ew!” That’s because they haven’t had fresh baked whole beets, which brings out their sweetness. This is an amazingly nutritious vegetable and they are plain delicious when cooked fresh.

I warn you that fresh beets require at least 1 to 2 hours of baking time. You need to keep checking them with a fork. Know what I’m saying here? But they are worth the effort.


Fresh whole beats (small, medium or large)

Olive Oil

4 Cloves chopped garlic

Salt and pepper to taste


Trim the leaves off the top and cut off the bottom of the beets. Scrub the beets to clean off any dirt, leaving the skin on. The skin will easily peel off once they are baked. If some of the beets are large, cut them in half.

Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil, and place the prepared beets in the pan   in a single layer. Toss the beets with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Cover the beets with another sheet of aluminum foil, and crimp the edges to seal.

Bake for 1-2 hours, depending upon the size of the beets. Check frequently with a fork to see if they are tender. Once they are tender, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool until they can be handled. The skin should slip right off.

Slice into pieces and serve as a side dish. Feel free to add some goat cheese. It’s a delicious combination.

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