GOATS AND CARAMEL Week!
October 5-11: The Corner is celebrating “Goats and Caramel” Week! Now that it is upon us, I don’t quite remember what made goats and caramel such an obvious pairing. Was it the color brown? Was it a craving for Cajeta, a Mexican goat milk caramel? Or were 2 of us just talking over each other? In any case, we’ve got all sorts of “carmely goaty” things on special and we’ve got a couple recipes for you, including cajeta…….
First, the specials:
RAW GOAT MILK (quarts) by our own Whiskey Hill Goat Dairy (outside Port Townsend). You will need a quart to make your cajeta. I promise – you won’t be sorry. “Grown-up” caramel with a “farmy” flavor.
MYSTERY BAY CHEVRE (plain, honey, chives, and thyme/white pepper) made locally on Marrowstone Island. You’ll need this to make Tassie’s “Fondue in a Pumpkin”!
CARAMEL APPLES! The apples are “Chehalis” apples (a Yellow Delicious variety) from Marrowstone Island, and they are being “carameled” by Port Townsend’s “Candance”. YUMMM! No promises we’ll have any more after this week.
CHOCOLATE SERENADE CARAMELS – 3 flavors: plain, salted, and pecan made by Jim of Port Townsend’s Chocolate Serenade. Really, really good. I tested them, just to make sure!
EAGLEMOUNT PERRY – There’s just something about pears and caramel that go together. Chimacum’s Eaglemount Winery makes “Perry”, a hard pear cider. Now that this post is nearly finished, and the photo taken, I may just crack open this bottle.
Second, the tasting:
On Sunday, October 9th, from 11-1, Rachael from Mystery Bay Farm will be giving out samples of their cheese. Don’t miss out!
Third, the recipes:
TASSIE’S GOAT CHEESE FONDUE IN A PUMPKIN
- 1 small pie pumpkin, washed & hollowed w/ a lid
- 1 T butter for greasing inside of pumpkin
- 2 logs Mystery Bay Thyme & White Pepper Chevre
- 3 large locally foraged Chanterelle mushrooms, sliced, sautéed in hot butter, & liberally seasoned w/ sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 5 slices Pane D’Amore Baguette, lightly toasted in a 400 degree oven, then crumbled
- 2 T minced Oatsplanter or Compass Rose garlic
- 1 pint heavy Fresh Breeze cream
- Olive oil for greasing outside of pumpkin
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Grease the inside of the cleaned pumpkin with 1 T butter.
- Layer the cheese, garlic, sautéed mushrooms, and crumbled toast evenly inside the pumpkin, packing down lightly as you go. Leave about 2 1/2 inches of space between the top of the filling and the rim of the pumpkin.
- Pour cream over the filling until there is 2 inches of space left between the filling and the rim. Shake a little salt & pepper on top of the cream.
- Put the lid on the pumpkin a bit off-kilter so that steam can escape, and polish the outside with olive oil.
- Bake on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven until pumpkin is a deep orange (hinting at brown) and the flesh is soft but still holding form. The filling should be hot and bubbly.
- Serve whole at the table. It will look amazing until you try to divvy it up.
CAJETA – Goat’s Milk Caramel Sauce From Rick Bayless’ Frontera
(Makes about 3 cups)
- 2 quarts goat’s milk or a combination of goat’s milk and cow’s milk—or even with all cow’s milk (use whole milk in all cases)
- 2 cups sugar
- 2-inch piece of cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican canela
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon water.
- Simmer the cajeta. In a medium-large (6-quart) pot (preferably a Dutch oven or Mexican copper cazo), combine the milk, sugar and cinnamon stick and set over medium heat. Stir regularly until the milk comes to a simmer (all the sugar should have dissolved by this point). Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the dissolved baking soda—it’ll foam up if the goat’s milk is acidic. When the bubbles subside, return the pot to the heat. Adjust the heat to maintain the mixture at a brisk simmer (too high and the mixture will boil over; too low and the cooking time will seem interminable). Cook, stirring regularly, until the mixture turns pale golden, more or less one hour.
Now, begin stirring frequently as the mixture colors to caramel-brown and thickens to the consistency of maple syrup (you’ll notice the bubbles becoming larger and glassier). Stir regularly so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Test a couple of drops on a cold plate: When cool, the cajeta should be the consistency of a medium-thick caramel sauce. If the cooled cajeta is thicker (almost like caramel candy), stir in a tablespoon or so of water and remove from the heat; if too runny, keep cooking.
- Finish the cajeta. Pour the cajeta through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl or a wide-mouth storage jar. When cool, cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve. Warming the cajeta before serving (a microwave oven is efficient here) makes it extra delicious.
- Working Ahead: Cajeta keeps for a month or more in the refrigerator. Keep it tightly covered to keep it from absorbing other flavors.
Notes: I made half the recipe which worked well, except that it took significantly less than one hour to come to temperature. I overcooked it which made it too thick, but it thinned with water (took ~1/4 c water before it thinned to the desirable consistency).