Cheese and crackers is a snack I grew up on. I remember being as young as 3 or 4 years old when my dad started making cheese and crackers for me. How nutritious can you get with saltines and Cheez Whiz? Ah, good stuff!
Naturally, as my eating habits have changed over the years, and drastically in April 2009, the saltines and Cheez Whiz no longer graced my cupboard shelves.
But I'm still a sucker for cheese and crackers, and recently I've found my Cheez Whiz replacement. Goat Cheese! (Or chèvre.)
I had lunch with a friend at a fancy downtown restaurant a few weeks ago. We got the salad bar and there was some soft, white cheese there, which was delicious. She thought it was goat cheese.
Last week I was planning a menu for a Saturday breakfast I was providing for a small group of people. While perusing Pinterest for ideas other than donuts and bagels, I came across the idea for cheese and crackers. I remembered the goat cheese at the restaurant so I picked up a small package at the grocery store to try. It was really good, and definitely what we had at the fancy restaurant. (It was a big hit at the breakfast, too! I also served oatmeal, fruit skewers and muffins.)
Goat cheese can be a little crumbly, but when at room temperature (which also gives it the best flavor) it spreads like Cheez Whiz or cream cheese. (You can also buy goat cheese crumbles.)
Goat cheese is presumed to be healthier than cheese made with cow's milk. It has a slightly different flavor, but very mild. It may also be slightly higher in vitamin A, riboflavin and potassium. Goat's milk has less sugar (lactose) than cow's milk, so some people who are sensitive to lactose can drink it, and eat the cheese, without too much trouble as it's easier on the digestive system. (For more on the health benefits of goat cheese, see this article, or Google "goat cheese benefits".)
Interested in goat cheese for more than just a cracker spread?
At Thanksgiving and Christmas my kids like onion roll-ups with green onion, cream cheese, and Louis Buddig meats wrapped around it. My son thinks goat cheese would be a great alternative to the cream cheese.
I also came across some of the following ideas:
- Broiled on French bread and served with a salad.
- Rolled into balls with spices (like basil, marjoram, chives, etc) and marinated in olive oil.
- Add fresh herbs to soft goat cheese.
- Spread it in place of butter or mayonnaise on a sandwich.
- Use the crumbles on salads or pizza.
- Use it in lasagna.
- Add some to mashed potatoes.
For tons of recipes, Google "goat cheese recipes".
For now, I'll just be snacking on a few crackers!
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