Life without Goat Cheese? Here’s the latest CTB post: The U.S. of Arugula

“Food is anything that nourishes the body.”     –Fannie Farmer

Certainly at one time in American history, this quote was correct.   Food was sustenance and little more.    Time had to be taken to eat, but when early colonists, settlers and pioneers supped, it was not usually an enjoyable repast.   Most likely, it was “vittles” for nourishment only.

Wow, we have come a long way baby.

Can you imagine a world where chevre,  shallots, pasta (not macaroni), balsamic vinegar, sundried tomatoes and even EVOO were not known to us?     What about the process and technique of cooking with wine?   What if that was unheard of as well?

We would still be in the dark foodie ages eating for nourishment alone.

Let’s welcome the Enlightenment and all those who brought us out of the Dark Ages.

The current Cook the Books (CTB) Club’s selection is The United States of Arugula by David Kamp.

CTB is hosted by Rachel, Deb and Joand is a book club for the avid, ardent, impassioned, and zealous literary foodie.   Everything we have read has been an awakening for me on some level.    (Check out my older posts here.)    This selection was no different.   What an education provided by Kamp!

The Unites States of Arugula  chronicles the foodie heavy hitters that helped bring about the Golden Age of Cuisine in the U.S.  (And more importantly,  those that brought us goat cheese!)   Although Kamp begins the discussion with the “humorless home-ec lady,” Fannie Farmer, he hits every prominent foodie from our recent history:

  •  James Beard
  • Craig Claiborne
  • Julia Child
  • Alice Waters
  • Jeremiah Towers
  • Wolfgang Puck
  • And many more!

Kamp also focuses on many different movements and trends throughout our history—from our Francophile days, through the aforementioned Enlightenment, to the current trend in farm-to-table.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but seriously, I can’t get pass the idea that I could have gone through life without goat cheese and dried tomatoes (and balsamic and EVOO)!

So in honor of David Kamp and The Unites States of Arugula and this selection for Cook the Books Club, I bring you smoked goat cheese.   If you have never tried this, you must.   Simply put, it is delicious.

Smoked Goat Cheese

8 oz. log of goat cheese
drizzle of good olive oil
Lots of fresh ground pepper (we use a tri-colored mix)
Fresh herbs (optional)

Heat grill/smoker.   We have done this at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or at 150-200 degrees for one hour.   It depends on what you have on the grill as you are doing this.   (The more smoke chips the better.)

I threw in two rosemary spears.

Place cheese in an aluminum tray, drizzle with olive oil, and cover with pepper.   You may place fresh herbs on top as well.   (Discard herbs before serving.)

Place open tray in smoker and smoke until it is golden and smokey!

Discard herbs.

Serve with crackers, pita wedges or toasts.

The original recipe for this excellent appetizer comes for Kate at Kate’s Kitchen.   Please check out her recipe.

I was on my own smoking this and I am not too adept at throwing in smoked chips.   Ours is not so smokey but it is still good. Check out Kate’s for a beautiful smokey version.

The first attempt.

We traveled to my sister’s over the weekend too and we tried this again with some very smokey hickory chips for flavoring:

This is really what it should look like.

Aside:   The nephew just called me to tell me that they threw the leftover smoked goat cheese in with some pasta, fresh snow peas from the garden, onions and olive oil.   He said it was delicious lunch.   Sadly, we were on the road and did not get to partake of this leftover deliciousness.

Kamp’s book was a great CTB pick and I told everyone I saw this holiday weekend about it!


The next Cook the Books Club  was chosen by Rachel, one of the hosts.

Rachel, The Crispy Cook, is having us put our foodie detective hats on for Death By Darjeeling  (A Tea Shop Mystery)  by Laura Childs.   Rachel says, “This cozy mystery is the first in a series of (now 13 titles) books featuring Charleston, South Carolina tea shop owner Theodosia Browning. Theodosia and her employees at the Indigo Tea Shop offers a wealth of teas and baked goods to sample at the shop and at various catered events, including an evening tour of historic homes. When an unscrupulous real estate developer turns up dead at this Lamplighter Tour, clutching an empty tea cup that held poisoned tea, Theodosia goes sleuthing to track down the murder.”  The deadline for “Death By Darjeeling” is Monday, July 30th.

Grab this novel, which sounds like a good beach read to me and join CTB for the next posting.

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