The 80 some-odd members of Catapano Farm’s dairy herd in Peconic Long Island, are some darn lucky goats. According to co-owner Dr. Michael Catapano (formally an M.D., but also a doctor of cheese), raising happy, stress-free goats is the key to great-tasting milk. And if the quality of Catapano’s handmade cheese is any indication, these are some seriously contented goats.
This theory was confirmed within moments of meeting the merry ruminants. Trotting over to greet each guest with a friendly head butt, these goats were more interested in a good nuzzle than a handout. And their spacious pen more resembled an inspired playground meant for children, rather than kids.
But the charms of the nautical jungle gym were not lost on the goats. In fact, the herd approached their recreational facilities with as much whimsy and delight as a pack of toddlers. On deck, clamoring sea-goats worked to batten down the hatches, while the ship’s captain bleated orders from the helm.
As I reluctantly bid farewell to goat playland, my arms laden with impeccably fresh cheeses, yogurt and a hunk of goat’s milk fudge, I couldn’t help but think that if a kid of my own species wasn’t in the future, a brood of dairy goats could do just as well. Perhaps mine will be fire fighters.
Flavored Goat Cheese Trio
Catapano makes various styles of fresh goats milk cheeses, like ricotta, gouda and feta, the crafting of which should be left to the cheesemaker. But they also offer a number of flavored chevres, from Sweet Fire Pepper to Lavender Honey, which can be easily recreated at home for an instant appetizer.
Slice an 8-ounce log of chevre crosswise into 3 equal pieces. Arrange slices on a serving platter, flat end down, and top each of the rounds with a different flavor combination. Choose from:
Sundried Tomato – roughly chopped sundried tomatoes packed in oil
Sweet and Spicy – red pepper flakes or sambal oelek and a drizzle of honey.
Garden Herb – finely chopped herbs like, chives, basil, parsley or tarragon
Cranberry Walnut - chopped dried cranberries and toasted walnuts.
Lemon Pepper – lemon zest and freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Dos Leches Milkshake
At Brats, a new Austrian weiner diner in Chelsea, you can get a “Milkaholic” shake made with a dairy trifecta of cow, sheep and goat’s milks blended with honey and a swirl of chocolate. Riffing on this three-milk shake, I used Catapanos’ goat milk yogurt to blend a rich and tangy shake flavored with caramel, reminiscent of a tres leches cake.
2 cups plain or vanilla goat milk yogurt (Coach Farm brand sold nationally)
3 cups vanilla ice cream
½ cup dulche de leche or caramel sauce, plus more for drizzling
Combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and finish with a drizzle of caramel. Serves 4.
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