About 3½ years ago, my friend Jen asked if I would be interested in co-hosting yoga retreats with her at her Bainbridge Island studio. I have known Jen since seventh grade and we have been very close friends since we spent three months riding on bikes through the French countryside. She is one of my favorite people in the world and I have nothing but respect for her as a teacher and a business owner. So it took me about four seconds to say yes.
On Saturday, we did our 13th retreat. Once a quarter for three years. We have slipped into a well established pattern. The morning starts at 9:30 with introductions, followed by an intense hot yoga class. The group gets to take part in a meditations exercise of some kind while I run up to the house, shower, and get lunch going. When I first started doing these retreats, I realized that people would be hungry and I would not necessarily have every 100% ready by the time they were ready to eat. So I always plan on having some kind of nibble in case I need to buy a little time.
Now you see it.
Now you don’t.
This was my nibble on Saturday. A smooth layer of goat cheese topped with an unusual but incredible mixture of sweet jam, spicy peppers, mustard, and onions. I did a test run of it the night before so I knew it was super delicious but I did not anticipate how quickly it would be inhaled. I had intended to get a shot with a few swipes of dip taken out but by the time I started bringing out the lunch food, the dip was all but gone. One of the things I like best about making lunch for yoginis is how hungry they are. In my experience, women can sometimes be funny about food. Dieting and all that. But not this group. They eat with gusto and deep appreciation and those are the best kinds of people to cook for.
One Year Ago: Cheddar Crackers, Kaye Korma Curry, Stir-Fried Sesame Broccoli and Tofu with Rice Noodles
Two Years Ago: Corn Salad Sandwich with Poblano Peppers, Chickpeas with Lemon and Pecorino Romano
Three Years Ago: Mexican Brownies, Quinoa with Grilled Zucchini and Chickpeas, Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Pepper-Glazed Goat Cheese Gratin
Food & Wine
About 8 servings
I made this using 30 ounces of goat cheese and roughly doubling the topping. I put it in a 8×12-inch casserole dish and it fed about 20 people. But I could have made more easily and I’m sure it would have been devoured. The combination of creamy, sweet, and spicy is amazing.
1 pound creamy fresh goat cheese, softened
6 tbsp. apricot preserves
4 Peppadew peppers, finely chopped
1 pickled jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp. minced cocktail onions
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1½ tsp. dried sherry
Pita chips, crackers, or baguette slices for serving
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spread the goat cheese in a 5-by-8-inch gratin dish in an even layer. In a small bowl, whisk the preserves with the Peppadews, jalapeño, onions, mustard, and sherry. Spread the mixture over the goat cheese and bake on the top rack of the oven for about 5 minutes, until warm. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes, until the topping is bubbling and lightly browned at the edges. Serve hot.
(DT: I assembled the dish the night before, refrigerated it, transported it to Bainbridge and baked it off there. Worked beautifully.)