Goat Cheese with Pistachios and Figs in Balsamic-Maple Syrup

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Spring means fresh maple syrup is on tap …. wonderful paired with figs and goat cheese!  Photo by White Point Imaging

A sweet and savory hors d’oeuvres reminiscent of Tuscany.  The balsamic-maple reduction makes this dish special.  Place a jar of syrup on the side for extra dipping and drizzling.  Serve with fresh figs if desired.

10 ounce log of goat cheese
1 cup pistachios, finely chopped plus whole nuts
1 cup dried figs, halved
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup maple syrup

Macerate figs in balsamic vinegar for 1 hour or more. Meanwhile, roll goat cheese log in chopped pistachios. Wrap and refrigerate.

Place maple syrup and vinegar in a small sauce pan. Stir and add figs. Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove figs and continue simmering until 1/4th of liquid is reduced, approx. 15 – 20 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for 1 hour. Note: Be careful not to overcook or balsamic-maple syrup will thicken to taffy like consistency when cooled.

Sprinkle whole pistachios on the plate and serve goat cheese log with figs and drizzled syrup.

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Roasted Tomato, Goat Cheese & Basil Crostini

Use garden plum tomatoes or your local farmer’s stand small heirlooms in this simple, delicious crowd pleasing appetizer.

This appy can’t be easier! Tomatoes become sweeter when slow roasted and fresh herbs add savory garden flavor. Try plum tomato varieties found at your local farmer’s market like sweet Juliet’s.

1 quart plum tomatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
garden herbs (oregano, thyme and parsley), chopped fine
extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces goat cheese
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
1 baguette
1-2 garlic cloves
sea salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place tomatoes in single rows. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Slow roast for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until tomatoes are roasted through but not mushy or dried out. Remove from oven and let cool.

Increase oven heat to 350 degrees. Slice baguette 1/4 inch thick, brush each side with olive oil and rub cut garlic cloves on each slice. Place on a cookie sheet and brown tops approximately 5 to 10 minutes, then flip and brown the other side. Remove from oven an let cool.

Assemble crostini by spreading goat cheese on slices and layer with basil leaf topped with a roasted tomato. For variety, leave off basil leave or goat cheese on some crostini. Serve.