Apples: Pork’s Favorite Muse

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“Pork chops and apple sauce, that’s swell”.  Those of you old enough to understand that quote from The Brady Bunch, are also old enough to have probably tasted enough tough and flavorless pork chops over the years.  Apples go great with pork. There is no question about that.  But how does a novice home cook combine the two without ending up with a pork chop so dry that you’d have to bury it in applesauce to make it edible?  The answer to that question has eluded me for many years until recently.  See, I’ve been brining turkey every thanksgiving for years, and the one benefit that brining a turkey has, is that is ensures a very juicy bird.  Even when you get caught watching a football game and forget about checking the bird.  A brine is basically a salt water solution.  When meat such as turkey, chicken or even pork is submerged in a mixture of water and salt, it opens up the pores of the meat, allowing for liquid to be more readily absorbed.  By adding other flavorings such as spices, you can add flavor into the liquid that then gets absorbed into the meat.  Take a walk down any meat isle and you’ll see many examples of this being done by every meat and poultry company out there.

So why not just buy store bought flavored pork?  Well, much like life, too much of a good thing can be bad.  Pork only requires about eight hours of brining to create really flavorful, juicy pork chops.  Any more than two days, and the meat becomes too salty.  Most flavor enhanced, packaged meat in the stores has been there for days.  It’s even more likely that it has been sitting in the solution for weeks.  This may help preserve the meat, allowing for a longer shelf life, but it does little to satisfy my desire to get the freshest, local food available.  It also does something else.  It raises the price of the meat you buy.  Packaged, raw meat is almost always sold by the pound.  So, imagine how that package weight increases by injecting the meat with liquid.  For these reasons, it is beneficial to not only know where your pork is coming from, but what is pumped into it.

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Apple Cider Pork Chop Recipes_Food Photographer_Little Rusted Ladle_Jena Carlin Photography_Rude on Food_3 96WM

Now back to pork chops and applesauce.  The best way to give pork chops apple flavor and make them retain their moisture is to skip the applesauce, and instead add apple cider to your brine.  Fresh apple cider has a very fresh apple flavor and goes great in brines.  Add some of uncle Bernie’s local maple syrup, a touch of bourbon, fennel seed, onions, red pepper flakes, black pepper and of course salt to water and you have a brine that will transform your boring, everyday pork chops into gourmet restaurant quality.  It also makes chicken, and turkey taste great as well.
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For the photos, we used a bone-in rib pork chop with the bones cut longer.  There is a reason for this.  Many meat departments now get their primal cuts already trimmed up and often already cut into chops.  This may be easier for them, but it rarely ensures the freshest pork.  We chose a local butcher shop called Sorg’s near Darien, WI for the chops because they cut their meat fresh.  If you order extra long bones in your chops, you’ll find out right away whether they get them in pre-cut of cut them in-house.  It is just another way of maintaining the highest quality.
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I know what you’re saying.  “Why all the fuss about pork chops?  Well, it is our hope that people realize that what you eat, where it comes from and what it’s flavored with is important.  Local products are all around us.  By using them in our cooking, we create better tasting, healthier food, while supporting local business.  What could be better than that?  Enjoy your pork chops and applesauce or cider.  Until next time, when Jena and I will delve into the flavors of Thanksgiving, remember to cook with love and live to cook.


Jim & Jena

Apple & Fennel Brined Pork Chops
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The flavors of apple cider and fennel are the perfect combination when brining pork chops or poultry.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
  • 1 qt. cold water
  • ¼ cup fine sea salt
  • ½ cup fresh apple cider
  • 2 tbsp. bourbon whiskey, optional
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. dried fennel seed
  • ¼ cup diced onion
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 2 8-12 oz. bone-in pork rib chops
  1. Combine all ingredients except pork chops in a 2 qt. container. Stir, then let sit until salt dissolves. Stir again, then add pork chops, making sure liquid covers meat. Cover and refrigerate for 8-12 hours or overnight.
Seared Pork Chops with Roasted Winter Vegetables
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The combination of apple brined pork chops and flavorful winter vegetables such as parsnips, brussel sprouts and cranberries is the perfect dish for a cool autumn night.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
  • 3 strips of applewood smoked bacon, cut into ½” pieces
  • 2 8-12 oz. pork bone-in rib chops, brined (see recipe above)
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 small parsnips, cleaned and halved lengthwise
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • 1 small red onion, cut into strips
  • ½ small bulb fresh fennel, top removed, halved and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh cranberries, halved
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 4 large brussels sprouts, stems removed, separated into leaves
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Transfer brined pork chops to a plate and dry with paper towels.
  2. In a large heavy bottomed skillet or frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat until browned. Transfer bacon to a small plate leaving remaining bacon grease in pan to brown pork chops.
  3. Meanwhile, combine curry powder, basil and red pepper flakes in a small dish. Sprinkle over pork chops. When bacon is removed from pan, add pork chops and parsnips to pan with bacon grease. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer chops to a plate and set aside. Add apple cider to pan with parsnips and scrape up any brown bits with a spatula.
  4. Transfer parsnips and pan drippings to a small roasting pan or shallow baking dish. Add onions, fennel, and cranberries to pan with parsnips. Add any juices from pork and toss to coat. Roast in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, place pork chops over vegetables, add brussels sprouts leaves and return to oven. Roast an additional 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are tender and pork is slightly firm to the touch and cooked to medium. Remove from oven. Serve topped with cooked bacon.
Since the pork chops have been brined in a salt solution before cooking, do not season with salt and pepper until after tasting.


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Apples: The Best Apple Cake Ever

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If you are like Jena and I, the excitement in anticipation for apple season is almost unbearable. It’s almost understandable why Adam took that first bite of an apple in the Garden of Eden. Apples are sinfully delicious. Wisconsin in October may not be Eden, but if you like a change of seasons, it’s pretty darn close. It’s the beginning of all that is fall. The colors, sweaters, football, pumpkin patches, corn mazes and an almost endless supply of local apple products. Products like homemade apple cider, apple butter, apple cider doughnuts, applesauce, apple pie, and caramel apples, just to name a few. The thought of any one of these makes our mouths water. We, like the hundreds of thousands of other apple crazed people, flock to the orchards that provide us with our apple fix on a given fall day. It becomes a family tradition. I have taken my kids Logan and Kennedy since they were able to walk. I’m sure baby Carlin will enjoy the same tradition in the years to come.
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There are over 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide. That’s a lot of apples. So, the question is, what do we do with the apples we get? Apples with salted caramel sauce, apple crisp, apple sauce, or perhaps an apple bourbon cocktail? They are all good options. No, this unbelievably versatile fruit deserved a special recipe that highlights the many options of apple products available. An outrageously rich and delish Apple Upside-Down Cake with Bourbon Apple Caramel Sauce.

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This cake is packed with apple flavor. If the most decadent cinnamon roll on the planet was fused with the most gooey caramel apple ever, it would transform into this cake! I adapted a recipe from King Arthur Flour’s website for the foundation. I simply added a couple of things, and then made it twice as good by making it twice the size. If you are wondering what boiled cider is, it happens to be one of the most incredible products ever. The intensity of the apple flavor is insane and you can use it in so many different ways. You can substitute apple juice concentrate, but trust me, it’s worth the investment. It also happens to go extremely well with that Apple Pie Bourbon from our Infused Booze II – Return of the Cocktail article from last year. Stop back next week for another amazing apple recipe. See you at the apple orchard. Enjoy, and remember to

Cook with Love and Live to Cook.

Jim & Jena

Apples: The Best Apple Cake Ever:
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This sinfully rich, apple intense cake combines four different flavors of apple in one recipe. Two kinds of apples, boiled cider, apple bourbon and apple butter. It’s then topped with a gooey caramel apple bourbon sauce. Try to resist, we dare you.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 10
  • Caramel Apple Bourbon Sauce
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tbsp. boiled cider, or thawed apple juice concentrate
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 oz. apple pie bourbon or regular bourbon whiskey, optional
  • 1 tbsp. apple butter, optional
  • Cake
  • ¾ c. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. apple butter, optional
  • 1 tbsp. apple pie bourbon or bourbon whiskey, optional
  • 1 c. light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 tbsp. boiled cider or thawed apple juice concentrate
  • 2 lg. eggs
  • 1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 lg. granny smith or honey crisp apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • ¾ c. chopped pecans, optional
  • ⅛ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ c. store-bought caramel corn, optional
  • 6-8 ea. dehydrated apple slices, optional
  • 5-6 ea. mint sprigs, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 6″ round cake pans at least 2″ deep. Line the bottom with parchment, and grease the parchment. Place apple slices in a circle around the bottom of the pan.
  2. Prepare the caramel apple bourbon sauce by heating the butter, sugar, boiled cider, cinnamon, corn syrup and bourbon together over low heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Pour ⅓ cup of the syrup mixture into the prepared pan, and set the rest aside.
  3. To make the cake: Beat the oil, apple butter, bourbon, brown sugar, boiled cider, eggs, spices and salt together for 2 minutes at medium speed.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking soda. Stir into the batter.
  5. Stir in the chopped apple and nuts until just blended.
  6. Divide batter into each pan by carefully spooning the batter over the apples. Cover them completely. Bake the cakes for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven, and run a thin knife or spatula around the edge to loosen.
  8. Let cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn one cake out onto a serving plate, bottom side up. Scrape out any sauce that remains and spread it over the cake.
  9. Spread half of the reserved sauce over the cake on the plate, then top with the other cake, bottom side up. Pour remaining sauce over the top.
  10. Garnish with caramel corn, dried apples and mint sprigs if desired and serve.


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3 Rustic DYI Herb Crafts: Wreath, Dried Soup Gift and Tea Swags

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Growing up my mom and I would be into all sorts of crafts. For a while we would make dried flower wreaths which inspired this blog post on dried herb crafts. Jim has an amazing herb wall where we gathered the herbs and started planing our creations: a home decor wreath, dried soup gift with mini wreath and tea swags.
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Start by gathering all of your herbs and cut string to ten inches long. For this wreath I made six bouquets, but you can add more for a fuller wreath. Take about two strands of each herb and go from largest to smallest, back to front to make each bouquet. Tie it together and hang upside down to dry. Continue until you have the desired amount of bouquets for your wreath. Let dry for two weeks. Make a circle out of thick wire. I used a jute wire from Jo-Ann Fabrics. Use a thin wire, like floral wire, to attach the bouquets to the circle. Keep overlapping the bouquets until you go all the way around to complete your wreath.
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Next, for our dried soup gift we made a mini herbal wreath to tie to the front of the jar. The mini wreath is meant to be used in the soup itself. For this mini wreath we used six tiny bouquets that included basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme. Follow the same instructions above but only using one piece of each herb. The jute wire circle should be about the size of a quarter. Click here for free printable tags for the dried soup gift.
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Lastly, our herbal tea swags are a mix of lemon verbena, lavender, mint and rosemary. Bundle and tie 1-2 pieces of each together. Tie the tags to the tea swags. Hang them upside down to dry for two weeks or use fresh. Add to hot water steep for 3-5 minutes and enjoy! Click here for free printable tags for the herbal tea swags.
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Now go out an decorate your kitchen, give a edible gift or have a tea party! Don’t wait until a special occasion, create one!


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Lana Barnabo-Knaack - thanks for the wonderful ideas :)

Grace Natoli Sheldon - Beautiful Jena…you are amazing!!!

Tailgating – Friends, Food & Fun in a Parking Lot

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Tailgating is as much a national past time as baseball, hot dogs apple pie or Chevrolet.  As a matter of fact, you’ll usually find all of those things at a tailgate party.  However, make sure not to forget the beer.  For those of you who have spent your life being raised by wolves in the jungle, “tailgating” is the excuse sports fans use to get to a ballpark hours before the scheduled game, so we can eat, drink and be merry before we eat, drink and be merry in the stadium.  Think of it as a pitcher warming up in the bullpen.  Is it really a coincidence that the person who throws the ball in a baseball game is also a vessel used to hold cold beer?  I doubt it.

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Tailgating Grilling Recipes_Little Rusted Ladle_Jena Carlin Photography_11 96WM
            Not really needing an excuse to have a party, we decided to take LRL on the road to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game at Miller Park.  No tailgating party is complete without a handful or two of fellow tailgating friends to add to the frivolity of the event.  Tailgating is really a simple concept.  Pack your favorite foods and beverages into coolers, dress in your best sports team attire, then drive to the stadium, park, and party till the game starts.  Then take your seats and party some more.  One must be careful not to be an overly enthusiastic partier, for fear of spending a few innings in the stadium jail.  Yes, they have one, and yes, I’ve seen it.  That was a long time ago and I was innocent, but that’s another story.  In reality, tailgaiting can sometimes be a much bigger endeavor.  For example, with this game, we had about 15 people attending and Jena and I were providing the food.  Ham sandwiches or even basic brats would have been fine.  Add some chips and plenty of beer, and everyone would have been happy, including Jen and I.  Apparently that wasn’t a challenge enough for yours truly, so I decided to take it to crazy town.  Oh sure, there would be the traditional Johnsonville brats simmered for hours in a spicy chile beer broth with onions and peppers.  However, I decided to add sassy sambal baby back ribs with fennel slaw, grilled Jamaican chicken satays, smoked morel cheese spread with crackers, fresh herb dip, homemade pickles, fresh veggies and assorted chips, pretzels and condiments.  Needless to say, there were too many options and too many recipes to post for this article, so I’ll stick to the ones that I thought worked the best.

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We were fortunate to have some great co-workers from Kohl’s photo studio join us.  A talented group of people who enjoy attending parties as much as we do. The challenge with hosting a tailgate party at Miller Park is time.  We arrived when the gates opened at 4:15.  From there it’s a mad dash to get the vehicle unloaded, the food cooked, the people fed and then repack the cars and get into the game before the game starts in less than three hours.  Knowing this, we did take steps to help make things easier.  The brats, ribs, pulled pork, sauce, pickles, dips and veggies were all cooked or cut up the day before.  I would recommend that for anyone hosting a lot of people.  When it comes right down to it, it really doesn’t matter if it’s brats on the grill, sub sandwiches or steak and lobster.  Tailgaiting is about having a ball before the ballgame with friends who have the same goal.  Watch their sports team win another one for the gipper, or in this case Jena and Jim & the rest of the hooligans with us.  In the end, we got what we wanted.  A Brewer victory.  We had a great time, at a great stadium, with great people.  Next time I’ve got the chips.  As always, remember to cook with love and live to cook.


Sassy Sambal BBQ Ribs
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These smokey barbecued ribs have some kick to them thanks to red chili sauce. They taste better smoked after they have been cooked in the oven, but they can also be grilled slowly over lower heat as well.
Recipe type: Meat
Cuisine: Far East
Serves: 8
  • ½ Cup Light brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup Paprika
  • 2 Racks Pork baby back ribs, cut in half
  • 1 Can Beer
  • Sauce:
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
  • ½ Cup Onion, chopped
  • ½ Cup Yellow Pepper, diced
  • 2 Cups Ketchup
  • ¼ Cup Sambal Chili Sauce
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Teriyaki Baste & Glaze with honey and pineapple
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. For rub, combine paprika and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  3. Place ribs on a jelly roll pan lined with foil.
  4. Sprinkle mixture over both sides of ribs and let rest at room temperature for one hour.
  5. Pour beer around ribs, cover pan with foil and carefully place in oven and cook for 90 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, add oil to a medium saucepan and turn heat to medium.
  7. Add onion and pepper, then saute for 3-4 minutes or until softened.
  8. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine, and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes or until sugar has melted and sauce has thickened slightly.
  9. Brush sauce liberally over cooked ribs, then place ribs on grill away from the heat. Cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes or until ribs are tender and sauce has baked on to ribs.
  10. Serve with additional sauce on the side.
Add wood chips to hot coals if using charcoal to add a nice smokey flavor to ribs.
Salsa Brats
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Brats are a staple food in Wisconsin. This version combines the tradition of cooking brats in beer, with mexican ingredients to add some zip.
Recipe type: Meat
Cuisine: German/Mexican
Serves: 5
  • Cooking liquid:
  • 1 Can(7 ozs.) Chipotle salsa
  • 1 Can (7 ozs.) Salsa verde
  • 2 Bottles (12 ozs.) light beer such as Corona
  • 1 Lime, quartered
  • 1 Fresh jalapeno pepper, sliced
  • 14 Ozs. Water
  • 1 Medium Onion, sliced
  • ½ Ea. Sweet red and yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 5 Bratwurst sausages such as Johnsonville
  • 5 Pretzel buns, split
  1. In a large saucepan, combine all cooking liquid ingredients.
  2. Add brats to liquid and turn heat to medium low.
  3. Simmer brats for 30 minutes or until brats are cooked through.
  4. Transfer brats to a plate and set aside.
  5. Turn heat to medium high and cook remaining liquid for 30 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool. Refrigerate mixture until needed.
  7. Grill brats over medium hot coals until nicely browned.
  8. Transfer brats to split pretzel buns and top with cooled pepper and onion mixture.
  9. Serve.


Fennel Slaw
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Nothing goes better with barbecues ribs than creamy cole slaw. This version adds the flavor of fresh fennel and the sweet taste of clementine.
Recipe type: Vegetable Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • Dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp. Fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Fresh clementine juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Sour cream
  • ¼ Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp. Honey
  • 2 tsp. Sciracha hot sauce
  • ¼ tsp. Chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 Bag Cole slaw mix, washed and patted dry.
  • ½ Head fresh fennel, cored, and finely chopped
  • 1 Bunch Fennel fronds from above, chopped
  • ½ Sweet yellow bell pepper, chopped
  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for dressing.
  2. Whisk until smooth, then add remaining ingredients and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve


Fresh Herb Dip
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The intense flavor of fresh basil, tarragon, chives and parsley shine through with this tasty dip. Try it on chips or veggies.
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 1 /14 Cups Sour cream
  • ¼ Cup Mayonnaise
  • ¼ Cup Fresh herbs such as Basil, tarragon, chives and parsley, chopped
  • ½ Cup baby spinach
  • 2 Tbsp. Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. Grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve


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Salsa Brat Grilling Recipe | Little Rusted Ladle - […] View the full post for Salsa Brats here! […]

Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups

Little Rusted Ladle - Jena Carlin - Jim Rude-White Chocolate Mascarpone & Watermelon Dessert Recipe

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word “dairy”?  Cheese, milk, farm, cows?  Ask Nicole Opie of Opie’s Goats that question and she would agree on all of those.  However, she would probably start with the word “goats”.  As we wind down another June Dairy Month and the celebration of dairy in Wisconsin, let us also acknowledge a rock star of the dairy family known as the goat.  There are more and more products available nowadays  that use goat milk.  Milk, cheese, lotions, and even soap, like my friend Nicole Opie makes.

Nicole owns and operates an organic goat milk soap company called Opie’s Goats on her farm in Beloit, WI.  She hand milks her goats, then uses the milk to make artisan soaps.  She recently spent three weeks in Africa teaching local farmers  modern techniques to care for their herds.  Nicole knows her stuff.  Her goats feed off the land on her farm.  Unlike large commercial farms that often use feed, she lets them feed themselves.  They eat leaves, shrubs, grass or just about any other kind of vegetation.  Things that help their digestive system, not destroy it.  This method not only helps the goats, but helps clear the farm of unwanted brush and things we call weeds.    It also gives the goats the nourishments to produce incredible milk.  If your looking for a natural farmer that is doing things in a responsible, sustainable way, she’s your gal.

I know what your thinking.  Jim, I thought this was a food blog?  You can’t eat soap!  Actually, many parents would disagree with that statement.  Why else would they ask their kids if they want it whenever bad words are uttered from their mouths?  “James, would you like me to wash your mouth out with soap?”  If I had Nicole’s cured goat milk soap at the ready, I might have said “sure mom”.  You see, the soap that Nicole makes from raw goat’s milk is completely edible, however, I’m not recommending that you eat it.  She uses all natural ingredients like homegrown berries, cinnamon, green tea, orange peel, coffee, ginger and a host of other organic herbs and spices.  It makes me hungry just thinking about it.  Her soaps are great, and you can buy them at a number of stores across the country, but I was interested in the milk her goats produce for this article.  As a matter of fact, let’s get to the other wonderful uses of goat milk, such as cheese.

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Little Rusted Ladle - Jena Carlin Photography Goat Milk Soap- Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups 9 96WM
            Knowing Nicole for a long time, I knew she has experimented with many recipes using goat milk, so I asked her for an easy goat cheese recipe.  Her answer was Labneh.  Labneh is basically yogurt cheese.  It is made by mixing yogurt with salt, then letting the whey drip out through a sterile cloth by hanging it over a bowl.  It’s really that easy.  You can use store bought yogurt, or do it the way Nicole does, and use raw, un-pasteurized goat milk, and make your own yogurt by adding culture, or yogurt you already have and letting it thicken.  For an easy description of how to make yogurt from scratch, check out the food blog Chef in Disguise.

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Little Rusted Ladle - Goat Cheese - Farm to Table - Food Photography - 07

(  Hers is made using cow’s milk, however, for this article, we used raw goat milk, which due to regulations, is not available for sale in Wisconsin(yet).  To learn more about the health benefits of raw goat milk, check out an article in Natural News at .  If you think about it, the best milk for babies is raw mothers milk.  Why then wouldn’t the same be true of all milk?  Just something to ponder.

Back to Labneh.  We made a batch of this creamy, goat cheese by adding 1 tsp. of sea salt to 1 quart of goat milk yogurt.  Feel free to use greek yogurt if you like.  Let it drain for 24 hours in the refrigerator.  The next day it was put it in a container and stored until we were ready to make something with it.  Creating recipes is not always easy.  Especially when you need to document everything.  This was the case with the Labneh.  I can’t very well add salt to yogurt and call it a Little Rusted Ladle recipe, so even though it tasted great on it’s own, it needed to get a boost.  Jena and I went to her local grocery store for inspiration.  Thirty minutes later, we came out with avocados, limes, baby cucumbers, and habanero peppers.  These were to be used for our Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups.  Thin slices of cucumber are spread with a mixture of the prepared labneh, fresh herbs, fresh lime juice and zest.  I used a ziplock bag with a small hole cut out as a way of applying the cheese spread.  Simply rollup the slices like a pinwheel, then lay them on their side and add a small sliver of habanero pepper.  Be sure to wear gloves when handling habanero peppers.  You may substitute jalapeno peppers, or eliminate the hot peppers all together.  The combination of the tart, creamy cheese, garden fresh herbs, and avocado are the perfect muse for the crisp cucumber slices.  The pepper adds a burst of fiery heat that is quite invigorating.   The mixture is great just on crackers. You can also eat the plain Labneh mixed with fresh herbs.  Either way, goat cheese is a delicious dairy delicacy that may well leave you taking a second look at the wonders of goat milk.  I know Nicole Opie would appreciate it, as would any other hard working goat farmer in the country.  To find out where you can buy Nicole’s goat milk soap, go to her site here.  Remember to cook with love and live to cook.



Little Rusted Ladle - Jena Carlin Photography - Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups 3 96WM
Little Rusted Ladle - Jena Carlin Photography - Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups 1_1 96WM
Little Rusted Ladle - Jena Carlin Photography - Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups 2 96WM
Little Rusted Ladle - Jena Carlin Photography - Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups 6 96WM
Fiery Goat Cheese Rollups
Prep time
Total time
The basic spread this recipe makes is a breeze and goes<span class=”Apple-style-span” style=”font-family: Georgia, ‘Times New Roman’, ‘Bitstream Charter’, Times, serif; line-height: 21px; “>great on crackers or pita chips. The rollups require a little more patience, but are a delightful appetizer for your next summer party.</span>
Recipe type: Dips and Spreads
Cuisine: Southwest/Lebanese
Serves: 12
  • 1½ cups prepared Labdeh
  • 1 Avocado, halved, scooped and mashed
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, finely chopped such as chives, tarragon, cilantro, burnet, etc.
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Habanero pepper, cut into thin slices.
  • 6 Baby cucumbers, or 1 large seedless cucumber, cut into slices with a peeler, then patted dry with paper towels.
  1. In a medium sized bowl, combine labdeh, avocado, herbs, and lime juice until smooth. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag. Cut bag at the corner to make a ½” opening. Squeeze mixture lengthwise onto cucumber slices. Roll up like a pinwheel. Top with a small piece of pepper and serve.








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