Tag Archives: cheese making

Farewell to Summer Fig + Feta Salad

With the fall equinox, the season finally seems to be turning in Southern California. It seems as though the rest of the country has moved past apples and onto pumpkin, but we are still picking tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. (Complaining of SoCal problems sounds like humble bragging.) I’m sharing my favorite fig and feta salad as a farewell to summer. Our tree’s fruit are in their last stages and our mint barely survived the last heat wave. I had wanted to first post my feta recipe, but at this stage of my pregnancy, I don’t have the time or focus for a long cheesemaking post, like this one on chèvre.

fig + feta salad with mint and balsamic

Little Bird thoroughly enjoyed figs straight from the tree this summer. There is something lovely about eating them slightly warm from the sun. Here she is showing one of her best buddies where to find the ripe ones:

Picking Figs

As I wrote the recipe (below), I felt a little silly typing out the ingredient list. With only the four ingredients in the title, it seemed a little pointless. This combination is so flavorful and balanced, it doesn’t even need salt and pepper!

fig + feta salad with mint and balsamic

Fig and Feta Salad with Mint and Balsamic Vinegar

  • Figs
  • Feta
  • Mint
  • Balsamic Vinegar

Gently rinse figs. Cut off stems and then cut in half. Arrange in a shallow bowl or plate. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and chopped, fresh mint. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar or a balsamic reduction. Gently mix and serve.

fig + feta salad with mint and balsamic


Part Two: Making Cheese with Young Kids

Thought I’d share some quick pictures I took on the second day of making chèvre with my daughter. Check out my original post on making goat cheese for step by step instructions and the recipe. I recently shared how she liked to sprinkle in the chèvre starter and stir the pot. Today she spontaneously played cheesemaking with her toy pot and spoon, saying, “Stir milky.” She also enjoyed putting salt on a plate for rolling the logs. (Check out this post for more ideas on cooking with babies and toddlers.)

homemade chèvre hand formed logs

Here are some of the logs we made out of the goat cheese. Shown are one plain, two with black truffle salt and Little Bird’s cranberry. This batch came out a little dry, so I mixed in a few splashes of fresh milk along with some salt before shaping the logs. Can you guess which one Little Bird helped shape? She loved getting the cranberries ready, but once we formed the log she had a minor temper tantrum when I wouldn’t let her stuff the entire log into her mouth, squeezing it in both hands like a burrito.

Homemade goat cheese with cranberries.

She finally got to enjoy the fruits of her labor during her after-dinner cheese course. She’s Euro like that.

Making Cheese with Kids

Making fresh goat cheese (chèvre) at home is so easy even a young child can do it! My toddler LOVES to be involved in the kitchen and we believe it helps teach her healthy habits and attitudes about food. It is time to make a fresh batch of chèvre and here are some quick shots of Little Bird demonstrating how we enjoy making cheese with kids.

Making Cheese with Kids

In the above picture, Little Bird is holding a digital thermometer in the milk to make sure it is the right temperature. (I accidentally overshot 86°, and had to put it in a cold water bath to bring it back down. I learned the hard way, do not put your starter in milk that is too hot, i.e. over 90°, or it won’t set. It won’t “go bad” or make you sick but it will be more like buttermilk or runny sour cream than nice, sweet cheese.) Below she is sprinkling in chèvre starter.

making cheese with kids - adding chèvre starter

For all the details of how to make chèvre, including step by step instructions with pictures, please click here. And for more on how to involve very young children and babies in cooking, please read this post.


Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles

I love chocolate. And these chocolate and goat cheese truffles are one of my favorites.

Goat cheese and chocolate truffles

Goat cheese sounds like an odd ingredient to have in truffles. But having made these at a time when traditional truffles, made with cream and butter, were in my home, I can honestly say that these are a billion times better. The cheese balances the sweetness of the sugar and compliments the richness of the chocolate with a subtle tang. If using a mild cheese, it almost disappears into a “secret ingredient.”

Since I have been making homemade chèvre, I measure and reserve 6 oz before rolling logs, however, “store bought is fine.”

I usually cut a little extra chocolate to allow for “shrinkage” from nibbling.

I do recommend paying a little extra for quality chocolate. When making a recipe, such as this, where chocolate is such a high percentage of the finished product, you will really be able to taste the quality. How can you tell if your chocolate is good enough? If you enjoy eating it straight, then it will work.

Chocolate and goat cheese truffles

Tip: If you don’t have a double broiler to melt the chocolate, use a stainless steel bowl that fits well over a pot.

Chocolate and goat cheese truffles

Whip the cheese with a little powdered sugar.

Goat cheese and chocolate truffles

Add in the melted and cooled chocolate.

Goat cheese and chocolate truffles

Mix until well combined.

Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles

Let the mixture chill in the fridge for an hour.

Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles

 Form walnut-sized balls with a spoon and then roll in shifted cocoa powder.

Goat cheese and chocolate truffles

Goat cheese and chocolate truffles

Here’s my idea of a perfect dessert:

Goat cheese and chocolate truffles

Check out Parsonage Village Vineyard for more of my favorite wines.

Chocolate and Goat Cheese Truffles Recipe

Recipe from foodnetwork.com

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 6 ounces fresh (mild) goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sweetened cocoa powder, sifted

In the top of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water (make sure the water does not touch the bowl), melt the chocolate, stirring until it is smooth. Set the melted chocolate aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

In a bowl whisk together the goat cheese, sugar, and vanilla until it is light and fluffy. Whisk in the melted chocolate until it is well combined. Chill, covered, until it is firm, at least 1 hour.

To form the truffles, take a heaping teaspoon of the chocolate/cheese mixture and lightly roll it into a ball with your hands. Roll the finished truffles in the sifted cocoa powder, set them onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper, and chill until they are firm, about 30 minutes. The truffles can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Cheese Making: Chèvre Recipe Step by Step with Pictures

Making cheese is both simple and tricky. Let me show you this easy chèvre recipe, step by step.

Chèvre Recipe Step by Step

A hand formed log of chèvre rolled in fresh herbs from the garden.

And chèvre, the cheese we think of simply as “goat cheese”, is delicious, with a taste that is both true and complex, sweet yet tangy. If you haven’t yet tried it freshly made, you are in for a treat!

homemade chèvre goat cheese

I love cheese, and ever since we have been receiving more goat’s milk than we can drink, I have been experimenting with making fresh cheese at home. I have had some high points, some disappointments, an extremely low point, and have finally managed to get some consistency. I’m excited to finally share what I’ve learned here!

homemade chèvre goat cheese

This recipe is extremely simple. Just a few ingredients. Follow the technique carefully and you will get excellent results. Although I love to improvise in the kitchen, a word of caution: Even if you drink your milk raw, please consider pasteurizing for the purpose of makingcheese. If you think about it, growing cheese is growing bacteria and you want to make sure that you are only growing the bacterium that you want. It is also VITAL in cheesemaking to sterilize EVERYTHING that touches the cheese. By sterilize I mean using bleach, not just soap and hot water. Spoons, pots, colander, jars, dishes, etc… My husband and I learned the hard way. Please check out my first home dairy post on How to Pasteurize Fresh Milk at Home for more of that story and to learn how to make raw milk safe for cheesemaking.

Special Equipment:


  • 1 gallon of goat milk (raw or pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1 package of chèvre starter
  • cheese salt (or non-iodized salt)
  • (optional) fresh herbs, pepper, truffle salt, etc. for rolling around the outside of the finished logs

Shopping Notes:

Where? Click on any of the links to purchase these supplies through Amazon. Full Disclosure: I make a small commission on any completed purchase made from a link off this site or from our Store. If you are in San Diego, you can also buy all these and more at Curds and Wine. The owner is also very generous with her knowledge and has even helped me troubleshoot a ricotta a that wasn’t setting over the phone.

Why special ingredients? My first attempt at cheese was a chèvre recipe I googled that just used lemon juice. Let me tell you, it did NOT work. My second attempt was a ricotta using vinegar. It worked somewhat but it was rubbery and unpleasant to eat straight. Give the real stuff a shot!


(Goat Cheese) Chèvre Recipe Step by Step with Pictures

1. Sterilize all of your equipment with hot water and a little bleach.

2. Bring the milk up to 86° F into a large stainless steel (non-alluminum) pot. (If using raw milk: filter milk and bring it up to 145° F for 30 minutes in order to pasteurize it. Let the milk cool down to 86° F.)

3. Sprinkle a package of chèvre starter over the milk. Let it sit for 2 minutes to rehydrate and then stir it to mix it in. Then let the milk sit at room temperature, or 72° F, for 10-12 hours. (I prefer to do this overnight.) The cheese will be “ready” when a small amount (1/4 inch) of whey has pooled at the top and a knife or spoon inserted into it can make a “clean break” or crevice in the thickened cheese. It will look a little like greek yogurt.

homemade chèvre goat cheese

4. Gently ladle all of the curds (the thickened part) and whey (the liquid part) into a colander lined with a double layer of cheese cloth. Tie up the cheese cloth with twine and hang so that the whey drips into a large pot or bowl. Let hang for 6-8 hours.

5. Cut down the twine and unwrap the fresh cheese. Transfer to a bowl. (Cheese can be covered and stored in the fridge at this point.)

homemade chèvre goat cheese

6. Hand form the cheese into logs. Roll each log in cheese salt (or salt that has not been iodized.) You may also put fresh herbs, coarsely ground pepper, truffle salt, dried berries, or another topping on the plate with the salt.

7. Wrap the finished logs in cheese cellophane and secure with scotch tape. (Regular cellophane is not breathable and will cause the cheese to get slimy.)

homemade chèvre goat cheese

Click on any of these images to see them bigger.


Chèvre produces a relatively large yield of cheese, as opposed to some hard cheeses. You can easily halve this recipe (using 2 quarts of milk). I got 1.75 pounds of cheese from 1 gallon of milk this last time and have gotten about 1 pound of chèvre from 1/2 gallon of milk.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I promise to post the chocolate and goat cheese truffle recipe next!

Update! The chocolate and goat cheese post is now up. Click here for the chocolate…