One great idea I ran across recently was an initiative in the food blogosphere called Goaterie. Based on the book Goat:Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, it was started by Rachel at La Fuji Mama and Barb at Creative-Culinary, and is an initiative to raise awareness of, and promote all things goat. It's an open invitation to create posts about recipes using goat and then link them all together. It doesn't matter if it uses meat, milk, or cheese, as long as it's from a goat.
I'm an avid hunter, and love exotic and wild game, so I immediately got on board with this wonderful idea. I had visions of Roasted Goat, Goat Jerky, and Goat Stroganoff, but, like a possum run over by a dump truck, my big city dreams were smashed by small town reality. You guessed it, Nobody sells goat meat in my area. I found one goat farmer nearby, but he only sells 'on the hoof', and isn't available when you try to hook up. I really wanted goat meat; for my own pleasure, and because I figured most people would choose the cheese or milk options first (I have absolutely no justification for this assumption). Despite my roadblocks, however, I was determined not to miss this great project all together, and started on plan B.
Obviously, you now realize my choices were down to cheese and milk (my readers are smarter than the average South Carolinian), so I went with the heartier of the two. Yes, goat cheese (you really are smart!) Now, if you've been a reader or twitter follower long, you know that I love appetizers as much as goats love grass, kids love candy, and Smokin Hot Wife loves....well, you know! So, I immediately focused my efforts in that direction. Since I was also hungry at the time, I needed something I could make now, not a future project. Suddenly, as if being head butted by a billy goat, I remembered the profusion of Jalapeno peppers languishing in the garden and crying out to be used in a worthy manner. Jalapeno Poppers de Chevre! Yes, Perfect!
I rushed to the fridge like a Nascar fan running to a Budweiser, and was happier than one who still has all his teeth, when I discovered several leftovers that would take my appetizer revelation over the top. There before me, so many of my faves; Pancetta, Cream Cheese, Parmesan, Shrimp (oh yeah), and the star attraction, Goat Cheese.
Once the plan was in place, it went together quick and turned out better than I had hoped for. I made the filling out of cream cheese (a mild, creamy binder), parmesan (a salty compliment), fried pancetta bits (bacon makes everything better), chives (a garlicky onion touch) and several shrimp chopped small (for some meaty ooomph and texture). After each Jalapeno half was filled with this mixture, I topped each one with a slice of tangy goat cheese and a strip of sweet basil for contrast, sprinkled with paprika, and baked to yummy perfection. (Adding the goat cheese separately allows people who don't care for goat cheese to remove it and still have a tasty treat treat without diminishing the tangy delight for us goat lovers) .
Jalapeno Poppers de Chevre
6 Jalapeno Peppers
3 oz cream chz
2 TBSP shredded Parmesan
2 TBSP Pancetta pieces-fried crisp
2 Fresh chives-chopped
4 med cooked shrimp chopped
1 sweet basil leaf
Tip: after cutting peppers in half, use a serrated grapefruit spoon to remove the core and seeds. use gloves if you're overly sensitive to spicy things.
After baking at 375 F for 13-15 minutes, allow to cool several minutes, then enjoy! The range of flavors and textures in every bite is wonderful. First is the spicy kick from the jalapeno immediately mellowed by the creamy filling. Almost simultaneously, you experience the unmistakable and longed for tanginess of the Chevre. Interspersed are heavenly surprises of crisp, salty Pancetta, and meaty shrimp. What's not to love?
So, what happens when you pop a goat? You're welcome to try it and find out. I may be from South Carolina, but I'm not that stupid! I bet that really gets your goat, don't it? :-)