goat cheese, pesto, and sun-dried tomato terrine

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Dave is, it should come as no surprise to me by now, quite a good match for me. I used to wish that he was as excited about food as I was. I’d ask him for meal ideas, I’d demand feedback after trying a new recipe, and I wished he’d cook with me. Invariably, his replies were, respectively, “salmon pesto pasta”, “good”, and “sure, someday.”

Which, actually – is fine by me. Do I really need someone picking apart each dish I make? Or adding even more ideas to an already overstuffed recipes-to-try folder? Or taking up valuable cooking opportunities?

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No, his uncritical, always-appreciative, open-minded attitude toward food is perfect. And when he does get excited by a dish, I know to take note, like when he came home from a work party raving about a goat cheese pesto spread someone had brought.

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What you do is line a bowl with plastic wrap, then spread some softened goat cheese in the bottom. You’re supposed to make the goat cheese spreadable by adding cream, but I used milk and it worked just fine. Over the first layer of goat cheese, you add some pesto, then more goat cheese, then minced sun-dried tomatoes and chopped toasted pine nuts, then more goat cheese. After chilling for a few hours, it inverts nicely, and you pull the plastic wrap off to reveal nice layers.

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Wow, what a great combination of ingredients. The sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes balances the tart goat cheese, and pesto is always delicious.  I served it with a whole wheat baguette, and we ate, um, a lot of it. It was completely irresistible.

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One year ago: Lavash Crackers and Pesto Goat Cheese Spread (Hi! I like pesto! And goat cheese!)

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Goat Cheese, Pesto, and Sun-Dried Tomato Terrine
(from Fine Cooking)

Dave did tell me, too late, that his coworker had advised that one of the tricks to making the terrine look neat was to not overfill the intervening layers. That would have been nice to know before I spooned in a bunch of extra pesto.

My personal preference would have been for one more tomato. Dave didn’t agree.

10 ounces goat cheese
¼ to ½ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade or store-bought)
5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

1. Line the inside of a 2-cup sharply sloping bowl (about 4 inches across the top) with plastic; let the ends extend over the sides a few inches. In a mixing bowl, mash the goat cheese and ¼ cup of the cream with a fork and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper; add more cream if the cheese hasn’t softened.

2. Spoon about one-third of the cheese into the lined bowl and pack it into an even layer. Spread the pesto almost completely to the sides of the first layer of cheese. Top with another third of the cheese, the sun-dried tomatoes, and all but ½ tablespoon of the pine nuts. Top with the remaining cheese. Pack down, fold the plastic over, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3. Half an hour before serving, take the bowl out of the refrigerator. Pull on the edges of the plastic to loosen the terrine from the bowl. Invert the terrine onto a plate, drizzle with a little olive oil, and let sit for ½ hour to warm up. Sprinkle with the remaining pine nuts, season liberally with pepper, and serve.

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  1. “…his uncritical, always-appreciative, open-minded attitude toward food is perfect. ”

    Damn right it is! He’d be a refreshing change as a judge on ‘Top Chef’ – they’re OVERLY critical, in my opinion 🙂

    Lovely terrine!

  2. My book club will LOVE this. Thanks Bridget!

  3. Beautiful presentation! For some reason, I always associate terrines with meats, so they’ve been off my radar. So glad you set me straight!

  4. Oh YUM, this looks so amazing! I adore goat cheese…and pesto…and sun-dried tomatoes!! This will be perfect for parties!

  5. That looks delicious! Your description of Dave sounds a lot like my husband. I always wish he’d be more forthcoming with dinner ideas & cook with me…but in all reality, do I actually want that?! Probably not…

  6. I’ve had something similar to this and loved it! I’ll have to try it myself. The combination of ingredients sounds incredible!

  7. This is really beautiful and I am sure the flavors are a hit altogether!

  8. My mother used to make something similar and I had totally forgotten about it (although hers didn’t have pine nuts…an addition I’ll be sure to include!). Looks fabulous 🙂 Thanks for taking me on a trip down memory lane!

  9. Perfect combination of flavors. Looks delicious.

  10. Goat cheese is so magical. As is pesto, truly. It looks great, and it may have to make an appearance at my place soon.

  11. Great appetizer idea!

  12. Anything with goat cheese is a plus in my book!

  13. This was absolutely wonderful!! A huge hit at the party and soooo pretty!
    Thanks so much, I love your blog and have been a bit hit among friends by passing your blog along to them!

  14. I make this all the time and am finally getting around to blogging it tomorrow. I’ve been trying to get a good picture of it since sometime early last year, but I always make it when I’m in a hurry, or I think that somehow I’ll have the chance to photograph it right before the party I’m serving it at/taking it to. Nope, it always gets devoured. Thanks so much for this recipe! All my friends go crazy for this one. 🙂