Cook | Farm to table with Israeli goat cheese

On our way back to Tel Aviv from Mitzpe Ramon, my brother-in-law Hanan, sister-in-law Rose and my husband, Max, were looking for a goat dairy farm that several people had told us about.

There was nothing but stark arid desert scenery for miles, and then suddenly we spotted a sign that read Kornmehl, in Hebrew and English, and heard some goats in the distance. We drove on an unpaved road wishing we were in a jeep until we spotted a few goats and a cabinlike structure.

Two young women offered us a cheese-tasting and then a menu containing all sorts of delicious-sounding dishes made with goat cheese. We decided we were hungry enough for lunch even though we just had breakfast a few hours earlier. We sat at a communal table and pored over the menu, which was divided into four sections: From the Oven, Only at Kornmehl, Cold Dishes and House Desserts.

We ordered something from each section along with a local wine. While we waited for our food we found out a little bit about Anat and Daniel Kornmehl, the cheese-makers and owners of the farm. Both are graduates of the Faculty of Agriculture at Hebrew University. Daniel acquired his experience in Israel and France. They believe that the health of their goats and the quality of their milk, which is hormone-free, comes from the attention they give to the goats’ food and living conditions.

They opened the restaurant in 1997, featuring a variety of cheeses from the dairy with an emphasis on using local, seasonal, fresh ingredients.

Note: These recipes are not those of the chef but my adaptation of the dishes we sampled.


Tsatziki (Cucumber-Yogurt Spread)

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups goat milk yogurt (may substitute conventional yogurt)

1 large English cucumber peeled, seeded, and diced

1 clove garlic, chopped fine

1 Tbs. mint, chopped

1 Tbs. dill, chopped

1-2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate overnight before serving. Serve with pita.


Strawberry Arugula Salad

Serves 8

2 tsp. strawberry jam

2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

6 Tbs. good olive oil

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced

16 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 cups arugula

4 cups romaine

4 oz. young goat cheese, crumbled

1⁄2 cup sliced toasted almonds

To make dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the jam, vinegar, lemon juice, pepper and oil until well blended.

In a large bowl, combine strawberries, tomatoes, arugula and romaine, and top with dressing. Toss with goat cheese and sprinkle with almonds.


Goat Milk Yogurt Panna Cotta

Serves 6

1 envelope unflavored gelatin (21⁄4 tsp.)

2 Tbs. cold water

1 cup heavy cream

1⁄3 cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped

2 cups goat milk yogurt

11⁄2 cups blueberries, raspberries, or a mixture

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water; let stand until softened, 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and vanilla bean and seeds to a simmer. Off the heat, stir in the gelatin until melted. In a bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth. Gradually whisk in the vanilla cream; remove the vanilla bean.

In each of 6 goblets place about 2 tablespoons berries.

Pour the mixture over berries and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours.

Garnish with a few berries on top and serve.

Louise Fiszer is a Palo Alto cooking teacher, author and the co-author of “Jewish Holiday Feasts.” Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Questions and recipe ideas can be sent to j. or to [email protected]