Thursday, May 27, 2010

OVEN ROASTED GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH BABY GREENS AND PEAR VINAIGRETTE

May love surround you...
May faith sustain you...
May hope encourage you day by day

May has always been a month that brings me closer to home, I mean in the spiritual sense. Mother’s Day and my Mother’s birthday are occasions that my sister, April, my best friend, and I celebrate together with the woman, our best friend, our mother, Lenore (we share the same name). She has been the most influential person in our lives. She reared us with a sense of enduring love, grace and integrity, as well as the ever quoted line “don’t do as I do, do as I say”! Laughter has always a great motivator in our household and with a smile on our faces we could accomplish anything. She showed me how to cook by example, by attraction not solicitation. I grew up fearless in the kitchen, a little of this and a little of that and with that smile on my face it will be always stir up delicious. And with an ace up her sleeve… if it doesn’t “make a reservation” she would say. Still to this day she is my inspiration and my sister and I are fortunate to celebrate her life on May 7th “womping it up” in the kitchen and creating some of her favorites. This is one of her favorite recipes I share with you. Remember “Love” is the main ingredient. Enjoy!

OVEN ROASTED GOAT CHEESE SALAD WITH BABY GREENS AND PEAR VINAIGRETTE

12 oz. soft mild goat cheese
½ c. each finely chopped pecans and toasted breadcrumbs
½ tsp. cracked black pepper
1 tsp. each basil, thyme and rosemary
¼ c. olive oil
12 oz. organic wild greens
1 pt. fresh raspberries
½ c. toasted pecan halves

Pear Raspberry Vinaigrette:
3 pears peeled, seeded and diced
¼ c. water
1 c. brown sugar

Combine the pear, brown sugar and water over medium heat and cook, covered until the pear softens, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and add the next 4 ingredients.

½ c. rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
½ c. fresh raspberries
1 tsp. Dijon mustard

While the machine is running add the next two ingredients & process until smooth.

1 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme
Season with kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the cheese into 6 equal portioned patties. In a bowl combine the breadcrumbs, nuts, herbs and pepper and mix well. Dredge the cheese well into the breadcrumb mixture. Chill patties for one hour. Heat the olive oil in an oven proof sauté pan and over medium low heat add the cheese and cook on just one side. Flip the cheese and set in the oven 3-4 minutes until warmed through. Toss the greens with the half the vinaigrette. Place the greens on a plate. Top the salad with the goat cheese and ladle some vinaigrette over each goat cheese patty. Scatter pecans and fresh raspberries.