"Peonies are known as the flower of riches and honor. With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage." - So, here I am wishing you all that joy and happiness because the sun is on the cheek and the sweetness in the air!
For me Summer heralds a not-so-subtle switch in lifestyle. Outdoor fun, roof top gatherings, long long days for long long amusements, days when you can be dine with work and still have time to play in the light! More, importantly though, this is season, I become more vegetable focuses, swept away by the abundance of variety and richness of flavor that marks this season.
I also start my herb garden and distinctly look forward to using as much of it as possible. The sweet distinct aromas that simply make the dish from ordinary to elegant. This is my joy.
Today's recipe was one such inspiration I stumbled upon through Jul's blog. As you can see from her and my creations, it is an all weather recipe using the best herbs of the season. However, the line that struck a chord with me was that the flavors of fresh goat cheese is akin to lamb. In fact, that is why it makes so much sense to pair them as is often done.
I chose to run away with that thought. Mint and lamb are my favorite pairing and I decided it the way to go with goat's cheese. And, how right she was with the comparison to lamb. Emboldened by the silky olive oil and smoky sumac and brightened by the mint, the cheese transforms to become richer and deeper. Not really meat like but with full body of flavor.
I marinated it overnight and then stored for a few more days in the fridge. The flavor only builds nicely over time and the oil is a perfect preservative. And, when you have used up all the cheese, you can either recycle the oil for the next batch or cook with the oil. It's fantastic!
They are great served with crackers or on a salad and I even rounded off a pesto spaghetti meal with it. So much more you can do in sandwiches, tar tines and such.
Mint & Sumac Marinated Goat's Cheese
The recipe is approximate and indicative. Use as much mint and sumac as you like the taste of. I find that trying to slice a cold log of goat cheese resulted in crumbles rather than discs. So, let it warm on the counter for at least half hour until it has softened around the outside before slicing. But if you waited too long and it has thawed completely, then wait to firm it up a bit before slicing, so it does not get mushy on you.
8 oz fresh goat's cheese log, softened
3/4 - 1 cup light olive oil (extra virgin)
~ 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, julienned
~ 1 T sumac
Cut the log in to ~ 1 inch discs. In a jar pour some olive oil at the base. Add the first disc in. Sprinkle with sumac and fresh mint. Top with olive oil. Add the next disc. Repeat the process and finish with enough oil to reach the lip of the last cheese slice.