Spring last year in the North Fork Valley, western slope of Colorado, included one sunny, cool mid-April day cuddling with kids. Baby goats, that is. Just two days old, so sweet, and hilarious to watch!
The North Fork Valley is a gorgeous place! With often snow capped mountains overlooking about half of the sprawling, fertile valley below, orchards of apricots, peaches, pears, plums, apples and vineyards in patchwork squares abound across the land, plus, a large field of organic hops will greet you as you drive down the highway towards the turn off to Paonia, the long vines supported by tall poles and swaying twine tethers. Provisions for the local Revolution Brewery’s award winning beer. It’s this vista that I looked down on that sweet spring morning. Laughing at the antics of adventurous baby goats.
Jeanne and her husband Lincoln own a small farm up one of the western mesas just outside of Paonia. They raise goats, chickens, grow a beautiful vegetable garden plot, as well as tend a small orchard of fruit trees. A labor of love they truly cherish.
Jeanne told me that petting, handling, and in general lovin’ on the young goats is excellent for their well-being and socializing process. I was happy to oblige! It was a very sweet experience.If you’ve traveled along with me on this blogging adventure, you might remember I love making goat yogurt (as a filling for GF crepes with maple sugared violets) and fresh cheese (au poivre with local farm milk), as posts from last year can attest. This recipe is another original favorite. Try it with spring onions, or ramps, if you want it to sing of your local Spring, and with wild asparagus – possible to forage in many areas during this glorious season of the year. If you’re lucky enough to spot morels – those succulent, earthy wild mushrooms – popping up in wooded areas around and about (just make absolutely sure you have a positive mushroom identification handbook or app) by all means add them to the filling, too.
Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Leek Tart with a Potato Crust
Makes one savory, gluten free 9 inch tart, perfect for a spring brunch.
- 3 c. boiled, cooled and shredded organic potatoes
- quality butter, softened about 4-5 tbsp. total (olive oil can be substituted)
- 1/4 c. minced garlic shoots, if available, or green onions
- 1 1/2 c. sliced leeks, rinsed thoroughly (sub spring onions or ramps)
- 3/4 c. finely diced red bell pepper
- 5 organic eggs
- 1/2 lb. asparagus, washed and diagonally sliced
- 3/4 c. crumbled soft goat cheese
- 1 tsp. each fresh tarragon and thyme
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using approximately one tablespoon, generously butter (or oil) the bottom and sides of pie plate. In a medium sized bowl, work 2 tbsp. butter(or oil) into shredded potatoes with a little salt and pepper, along with the minced garlic shoots, then firmly and evenly press potatoes on bottom and up sides of pie plate. The shreds will resemble mashers at this point, and measure about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick.
Slide into oven on bottom rack to par bake while you prepare tart filling, about 15 minutes. Saute leeks and red pepper in 1 tbsp. butter or oil until softened and lightly brown. Stir eggs and asparagus with herbs, salt and pepper in large bowl until completely blended,
then add sauteed leeks, red pepper, and cheese. Pull crust from oven, pour in tart filing, and shower a few more generous grinds of fresh pepper over the top if you like. Return to oven, lower heat to 375, and bake approximately 20 – 25 minutes, until tart center is firm, and potato crust is lightly browned.
Breathe deep the amazing fragrance, cool slightly, and cut into wedges to serve.
….and hug a baby goat, whenever, however, drive a little ways to get there … you can. It’ll be worth it, I promise!