Cook | Jews and goats share a history

Something about summer just makes me want to eat goat cheese. Maybe it’s all the Chagall paintings my parents took me to see during the summer months of my childhood. Little goats float through so much of his work.

They bleat their way through Sholem Aleichem, too, and I.B. Singer, and “Chad Gadya,” the best Passover song ever invented, likely because it is sung after four glasses of wine have been consumed by your bubbe.

So what’s up with Jews and goats? Well, Jews lived with goats back in the day. According to the website, “even the poorest shtetl family kept a goat tethered in front of the house to provide milk for the children. The beloved Yiddish song ‘Roshinkes mit mandlen (Raisins and Almonds)’ tells of a small white goat asleep under a baby’s cradle. The image is less fanciful than it appears: on cold winter nights, Jews often invited their heymishe bashefenish, their innocent creature, to sleep inside the house. Jews identified with their small, humble, intelligent animals, until the tsigele, the small white goat, became a symbol of the Jewish people.”

Well, little goat, we of the lactose-intolerant tummies salute you!


Peach and Goat Cheese Scones

Makes 8 scones

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

6 Tbs. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 8 pieces

2 eggs

2 Tbs. milk

2 Tbs. sour cream

3/4 cup ripe peach, pitted and diced small

5 oz. goat cheese, divided in half

1 tsp. brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. With a pastry blender or a fork and your fingers, cut in cold butter until the mixture is a combination of sandy and flaky.

Add one egg, milk, sour cream, peaches and half the goat cheese; stir with a fork till wet ingredients are evenly distributed. Don’t overmix.

Flour a flat surface and place dough on top of it. Sprinkle with flour. With floured hands, pat the dough into a 1 1/4-inch-thick, 6-inch circle. Cut circle into 8 wedges. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet with at least 2 inches between each scone.

Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with 1 Tbs. water. Brush the scones with egg wash and dot with 5 small pieces from remaining goat cheese. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake until firm and golden, about 24-26 minutes.


Farfalle with Goat Cheese and Mint

Serves 4-6

1 lb. bow-tie pasta (farfalle)

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 Tbs. shelled pistachio nuts

3 Tbs. butter, room temperature

5 oz. goat cheese

1 tsp. grated lemon zest

1 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice

plenty of freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. olive oil

1⁄3 cup shallots, minced

15.5-oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tsp. salt

3/4 cup mint leaves, cut in a thin julienne

Cook pasta according to package directions. While cooking the pasta, pulse garlic and pistachios together in a small processor until chopped. Add butter, 1 Tbs. at a time, goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and black pepper. Pulse until uniform. Set aside.

In a skillet, heat olive oil until hot but not smoking. Add shallots and stir for 30 seconds. Add garbanzo beans, salt and black pepper; cook 5-6 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally until garbanzos begin to brown.

In a large bowl, toss drained, hot pasta with the goat cheese mixture. Stir until pasta is coated. Add garbanzo beans and mint. Stir gently to distribute. Serve garnished with mint leaves if desired.

Josie A.G. Shapiro is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet.” Her columns alternate with those  of Faith Kramer. Her website is

Josie A.G. Shapiro

Josie A.G. Shapiro won the 2013 Man-O-Manischewitz Cookoff and is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet.”