Tangy Summer Snack

Sometimes I'm lucky and August hands me ideal temperatures — which, for me, is under 80° F with a gentle breeze — and I can happily putter in the kitchen most any time of the day. Then there are those days that flirt with 90° (or more) and the humidity has me wringing out my shirts at the end of the day. When I'm handed weather like that, I reach for my canning jars and make refrigerator pickles (everything from cucumbers to beans to carrots to beets) and pair those with marinated cheese. Goat cheese, to be precise.

Creamy, tangy chèvre is a delight on its own, but becomes a canvas for additional flavor when you start to experiment with layering other flavors onto it. How? It's incredibly simple. Slice your cheese into little rounds and layer it between other stuff you enjoy. Then douse the whole mixture in extra virgin olive oil and give it a little time. Mmmm!

Now, you may have noticed that there wasn't a lot of direction there. That's mostly because I can't tell you what you like. I can, however, tell you what I like. I love grabbing fresh thyme and savory from my garden, some dried bay leaf, freshly cracked pepper, and finely minced garlic (plus some full cloves 'cause my husband will totally just eat those) and layering it with about 12 ounces of chèvre. I usually set the finished jar in the fridge for about a day before I dig into it. I put some of the cheese and the flavorful oil on a plate, add bread or crackers alongside, put a bowl of olives nearby, maybe some sliced fresh fruit or a small salad (that olive oil from the marinade is amazing on salads), and a glass of chilled white wine. Now that's a fantastic summer lunch or light dinner!

If light isn't what you are looking for, drop a round of that amazing cheese on a freshly-grilled steak and wonder how you ever ate beef without it. Whether the August heat is making me beg for autumn or not, this marinated goat cheese has become a staple in my house!

Marinated Goat Cheese

  • 8-12 oz. goat cheese (the type I usually get is sold in 4 oz. logs, so 2-3 of those will do nicely)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced (you can use some whole cloves for a pretty presentation)
  • 5-8 sprigs of fresh herbs
  • 1-2 tsp. coarse dried herbs
  • Sundried tomatoes, dried mushrooms, nuts, and/or olives, chopped as fine as you prefer
  • Coarsely ground pepper (you can use some whole peppercorns for a pretty presentation)
  • Salt
  • About 1/2 c. extra-virgin olive oil

Using a sharp knife or a bit of fine twine, cut the goat cheese into about twelve 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Set the rounds aside.

In a clean 8-oz. jelly jar, layer some of your chosen additions - making sure you haven't entirely covered the bottom of the jar. Carefully add a round of goat cheese. Repeat this process until you've filled the jar with cheese rounds and flavoring additions. Carefully fill the jar to the rim with olive oil and seal tightly.

Refrigerate the jar and use within one week. Great paired with crackers, bread, grilled meat and vegetables, olives, and more.

  • Yields: 1 8-oz. jar of marinated cheese
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes