143.4…Goat Cheese Torta with Garden Pesto

We went over to Sherry’s house Friday night for another meeting of our “gourmet club”. The person hosting (Sherry) usually makes the main dish and we (Alicia and I) make the salads, appetizers or dessert.

I was in charge of the appetizer. I went through my binder of appetizer recipes that I’ve wanted to try and settled on one that I thought would go perfectly with our theme for the meal: Italian food.

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This Goat Cheese Torta with Garden Pesto was super easy to assemble…especially since I made the pesto 2 days ahead and the goat cheese part the day before.

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Goat Cheese Torta with Garden Pesto
Original Recipe: Southern Living, September 2004

For the goat cheese mixture:
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) package goat cheese
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Garnishes: fresh basil sprigs, pecans, pine nuts, etc.
  • French baguette slices
For the pesto:

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2/3 cup olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • Directions:
    1. To make the pesto,
      1. Bake pecans and pine nuts in a shallow pan at 350º for 12 to 15 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Let cool 5 minutes.
      2. Process basil, parsley, garlic, and 1/3 cup olive oil in a food processor until coarse paste forms. Add nuts and cheese, and process until blended, stopping to scrape down sides. With processor running, pour remaining 1/3 cup oil through food chute in a slow, steady stream; process until smooth. Cover and chill up to 5 days or freeze up to 1 month, if desired.
    2. For goat cheese mixture, process first 5 ingredients  in a blender or food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.
    3. Line a 2- or 3-cup glass bowl with plastic wrap, allowing 3 inches to hang over sides.
    4. Spread half of cheese mixture into bowl; top evenly with 1/2 to 3/4 cup Garden Pesto. Top with remaining half of cheese mixture. Cover and chill 8 hours.
    5. Invert chilled torta onto a serving platter; remove plastic wrap. Garnish, if desired. Serve with baguette slices.
    Printable Recipe

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    I served the torta with Tomato and Basil Bruschetta (recipe to come) and Toasted Baguette slices (recipe to come).

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    Talk about a party in your mouth. This appetizer recipe(s) is a total winner. I think everyone at the dinner party agreed. :)

    Alicia was in charge of bringing the salad. She brought two beautiful salads. The first was an arugula salad with grilled figs (from her own fig tree!) with a delicious balsamic dressing.

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    The second salad was a Caesar salad.

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    I had a bit of both!

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    Our hosts, Sherry and Rich, made the main course: veal marsala, spaghetti and asparagus.

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    Simply amazing.

    Sherry also made the dessert: crème brulee!

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    Does it get any better than this!?! I always love getting together with this group. The food is always amazing and the company is even better! Can’t wait until the next one!

    My breakfast Saturday morning was no where near as fancy.

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    Lucky Charms cereal with almond milk. I was in a bit of a hurry….I had 16 people coming over for a barbeque and still had to do the grocery shopping.  Lunch was fast too: turkey sandwich on wheat bread.

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    I spent the morning prepping and getting ready for my guests.

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    Appetizers galore! There were an assortment of chips and dips including this amazing slow cooker taco dip (recipe to come):

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    That one is always a hit.I decided to do pollo and carne asada tacos so I made My Favorite Guacamole to go with it.

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    To go along with my tacos, I served Creamy Cole Slaw:

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    As well as Mexican Bean Salad (recipe to come):

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    The finished product:

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    I had one of each tacos and both salads.

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    My friend brought over homemade Hershey pie and lemon pie. Had to have both!

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    So good!

    After everyone left, I cleaned up the kitchen and called it a night!

    Yesterday’s breakfast was toast with peanut butter. Easy.

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    We went over to my sister in law’s house for a barbeque. We enjoyed tri-tip, vegetable salad and the rest of my cole slaw.

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    After that party, we went to a neighborhood party for a couple of hours. I had an unpictured hamburger. :)

    Breakfast on this fabulous Labor Day morning was scrambled egg beaters with asparagus and salsa.

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    I’m spending the day doing laundry and going through emails. We aren’t going anywhere and I’m plenty happy about that.

    Lunch was taco leftovers that somehow escaped my camera. Weird….I swear I took the picture. 

    Did you enjoy some fabulous eats this Labor Day weekend?


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