Friday Food Find: Goat & Cream Cheese Pate

I first saw this recipe in Gourmet Magazine years ago.  Always looking for fabulous party dishes for my catering company this one caught my eye immediately.  It’s visually inviting, tastes heavenly (especially if you like goat cheese) and it’s perfect to have or bring to a party.  I generally serve it with garlic toasts or multi-colored vegetable chips.  Really you can use anything that you find pleasing.  It’s gone through a lot of tweeks since I first made the recipe from the magazine.  And by trial an error I learned a few things which you will see below under “Tips”.  Have fun and enjoy!


4 - 8 ounce packages of cream cheese
1.5 C of goat cheese
¼ to ½ C of whipping cream
1-2 Tbls of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper
1-2 small containers of sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and patted between paper towels
½ to 1 C of pesto
Fresh herbs or flowers to garnish


Line the inside your favorite ceramic or pyrex dish with plastic wrap (7"x10” rectangle or a square works great). Make sure that the plastic wrap is very smooth on the insides & pressed smoothly up and around every edge. Leave enough plastic so that it hangs over each side and over the edge of your dish.  Set aside.

In a food processor process cream cheese, goat cheese until smooth.  Drizzle in whipping cream to open up the cheese mixture. Which will make it smoother and more airy.  Drizzle in up to ½ C although you may not need it. Add one TBLS of lemon juice at a time for flavor only.  You may not need the second one.  Stop machine at intervals to scrape down the sides with a spatula.  Mix in salt and pepper to taste.  Place cheese mixture in to a pastry bag with a large round tip.  

Place your plastic lined dish in front of you, very gently pipe in your cheese mixture with your pastry bag so that you have one even layer on the bottom of your dish. I generally begin piping from the outer edge of the bowl.  And then move inwards towards the center following the line of the dish you are using.  On top of your 1st cheese layer gently finger or spoon in the sun dried tomatoes so that they are spread evenly over the cheese layer. Then pipe another layer of cheese mixture over tomatoes.  Repeat this process with the pesto.  Then pipe one more layer of cheese over the pesto. This will be your last layer.  Smooth each cheese layer out with a small off-set spatula and cover tightly with the overlapping plastic.  Place in refrigerator overnight.

The next day take pate out of refrigerator and peel plastic from the top.  Place a serving platter (large enough to cover the pate dish) over the ceramic dish and gently invert.  Gently pull the ceramic dish from the pate and set aside.  Very carefully pull the plastic wrap from the pate.  Smooth pate with a spatula.  Garnish with herbs and flowers.  Serve with parmesan toasts.

*The smaller & deeper your dish the more layers you may have or excess ingredients.   
*Always drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes & pesto prior to using in this pate.  Excess oil will seep out of the final pate if there is too much.
*Use the added liquid (cream, lemon juice) sparingly.  You only want the cheese mixture to be “spreadable” not too soft.  If it is too soft add more cream cheese.  It will spread somewhat once unmolded if too soft. 

Friday Food Find: Sticky Rice with Preserved Lemon & Basil

Here’s the scenario: Husband home late from work, bushed and maybe a little cranky. Wife had worked hard on a recipe that day for her blog post.  Finished dish waiting on the counter as her husband comes through the door. Husband drops work gear, picks up a spoon and  scoops up a generous amount of the sticky white.  He brings it to his mouth and chomps down.  He seems thoughtful…maybe even blissful? And then he says, “Beth, you can make this for me all the time!”

Well now, pretty good praise coming from one of my favorite constructive critics.  So I thought I’d post it for you!

But first I’d like to share that this recipe is certainly not for the faint-of-heart.  Sticky rice has a very distictive texture.  And preserved lemon, while absolutely fabulous, may be an overly strong flavor dynamic for sensitive palates.  That said, this dish is so worth a try. And for those of you who have no concerns about texture and/or strong flavor dynamics this is a must!  Here’s what you use and do.


4C sticky rice
1 medium preserved lemon, rinsed thoroughly & minced
1/4C of fresh basil, rough chop (or more if you really love basil-I suggest another 1/4C)
1tsp of fresh ground pepper
1Tbls of good olive oil
1/4tsp of kosher salt (optional)


Place sticky rice into a medium bowl (sticky rice can be warm or room temperature).  Add preserved lemon, basil, pepper and olive oil.  Mix thoroughly.  Taste for salt level.  Add more salt if you deem necessary.  Otherwise omit. The preserved lemon with lend a deep salty almost briney flavor.  Serve immediately. 

Yields 8 1/2C servings. 

Ingredients, sticky rice and prepped ingredients:

Quick Tips:
*If you have any leftovers, wrap well and place in the refrigerator.  It will last up to 4 days. 
*Remember to gently re-warm leftover rice in the microwave.  This will soften the rice.
*Don’t be afraid to eat the basil if it turns dark.  This happens when you mix the herb into anything that is warm or hot.

A Red Tomato Gazpacho

OMG! You’ve got to try the gazpacho!  This is the BEST gazpacho I’ve ever tasted! 

These are but a few of the exclamations that I heard at a recent holiday party hosted by our friends Mike and Liz.  Now I’m sitting in a small coffee shop preparing this post a tad puffed up and smiling ear to ear.

I made that gazpacho. Which apparently was full of fabulocity! 

But here’s the deal, a super flavorful gazpacho is based on good technique and most importantly on the quality of ingredients. So obviously I can’t and shouldn’t take primary credit (puff and smile still goin’ strong).  The true stars of this recipe go to the number one ingredient: the tomato (in season) and to Mike and Liz.  They grew 9 varieties of tomatoes with their special kind of tender lovin’ care.   Thank you for sharing some of the best tomatoes I’ve ever had. They rocked the gazpacho. Here’s to you!  Enjoy!


4 lbs of large fresh tomatoes, stemmed & rough chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded & rough chopped 
½ bunch of green onion, rinsed, patted dry & rough chopped 
3-4 large cloves of fresh garlic, peeled  
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded & rough chopped 
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, stemmed, seeded & rough chopped 
Up to ¼ C of red wine vinegar 
2-3 tsp salt  
1 tsp fresh ground pepper  
3 Tbls of extra virgin olive oil
cucumber & tomato for garnish, seeded & minced (see picture above)


In a large bowl mix all tomato, vegetables and gently toss.  Divide mixture up into 3 equal parts.  Take 1 part place in blender and puree until smooth. By its nature it won’t be completely smooth.  Pour mixture into another bowl. Repeat with remaining 2 parts.  Once you have all the mixture in the bowl add salt and pepper.  Mix in thoroughly.  Add ½ of the vinegar stir thoroughly.  Taste for seasoning.  Add more vinegar if necessary.  Add olive oil if you like.  This will add a bit of richness and a more round mouth feel.  Chill for as little as one hour or up to eight hours.  When ready to serve pour into individual bowls and garnish with minced cucumber and/or tomato.
Yields: 6-9 servings.

Tips & Tidbits 

*Add salt, pepper, vinegar & olive oil to your own taste preference. 
*To check heat level of a pepper slice in half, seed, take pepper and touch the inside part of the pepper to your lip; very gently.  You will immediately feel the intensity of heat - if its there.  Be careful doing this because you can burn yourself if the pepper is super strong.
*Gazpacho is a traditional summer “salad/soup” of Spanish origin. 
*The tomato is a fruit. 
*A tomato is also known as the “fruit of love”.

p.s. I used at least 5 of the 9 varieties that Mike and Liz grow for the party. That’s certainly extravegant. Just remember each gazpacho is going to have a different flavor profile dependent on the variety of tomato you use. Experiment and have fun!


A Summer Roasted Vegetable: Broccoli

Do you really want to turn on the oven in the middle of summer?  You’re probably not like me, I say, “Yes”!  I’m helpless for a savory piece of roasted broccoli.  And I’ve been roasting vegetables for so many years, both in the Texas heat and in a commercial kitchen where it’s always at least 10 degrees hotter, I’m unfazed.  There are more solutions for you but I’ll give you two:  either turn the oven on in the “cooler” morning or evening or  wait for the cooler months – that’s just fine!!!!  Here’s a super simple recipe for the ultimate roasted vegetable – the broccoli floret.  Enjoy!


4C of broccoli florets, w/ 1-2” stem 
¼-1/2C extra virgin olive oil 
3tsp of Kosher salt 
1 1/2tsp of freshly ground pepper


Preheat oven 375°
Rinse, clean and gently dry the broccoli.  In a large bowl, toss broccoli with a 1/4C of olive oil. If broccoli seems dry drizzle a little more until florets are moist. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the florets.  Mix thoroughly.  Place broccoli florets on a baking sheet and spread so they are separated (ok, they can touch a little-but not much).  Place on middle shelf of oven. Roast florets for 20 to 35 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  Take out of oven and cool.  Arrange florets nicely on a plate and serve.  Broccoli can be stored refrigerated for up to 3 days. 
Yields 4 people

*this technique can be used for most vegetables.
*use your own judgment on how much olive oil, salt & pepper you should use.