Heartbeet Kitchen
Marinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts + My Recent Experience with a Skin Cancer Check
October 31, 2017 in Appetizer · Gluten-Free · lifestyle · Recipe Box · Refined Sugar-Free · 17 Comments

Marinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts AppetizerMarinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts AppetizerThis post is sponsored by California Walnuts, a year-long partner of Heartbeet Kitchen. 

About this cheese, grapes and walnuts appetizer:

Roasted grapes have so much mojo. They turn an average fruit into something spectacular, and bring major flavor oomph to whatever you decide to pair them, like cauliflower steaks, or today’s recipe, marinated goat cheese with walnuts and thyme.

When roasted, a grape’s internal sugars caramelize, that thick skin softens and wrinkles (speaking of skin, I’m talking about my recent skin scare below), and the flavor matures into an intense version of its former self. Kind of like a fine wine. And the juices that emerge during roasting thicken on the baking sheet, yield a nearly jam-like result when mixed with the finished grapes.

Roasted Grapes with Thyme

All together, with the creamy tang of fresh goat cheese and nuttiness of toasted walnuts, it’s a real good situation. Why walnuts? Their savory, buttery toasted flavor was a great balance with the sweetness of the grapes. Toasting them improves their texture in staying crisp even amongst the olive oil. Bonus points for their health benefits, as they’re 15 percent protein and 64 percent good fat too!

To serve this cheese platter, I sliced a long, french baguette on the diagonal, brushed them with olive oil, and set in the oven for about 6-8 minutes. They crisp up to be sturdy enough for spreading the goat cheese, but soft enough to still have some chew. With the holidays right around the corner, I’m thinking this is a great way to introduce your guests to something different than the typical cheese-ball.

Marinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and WalnutsMarinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts // #holidayappetizer

About getting skin/moles checked:

I’d met my deductible this year for health care, so I looked into all the preventative kind of checks we “should be doing” but often skip when we’re paying 100% of the cost. A full body skin and mole check by a dermatologist is one of them, so I made the appointment. You can either tell them what parts of your body you want checked, or go with a full scan, including non sun-exposed areas, which I went with since I have fair skin and I’d never had a check like this before.

I wasn’t nervous about the appointment, as I’ve always been very good about wearing high SPF sunscreen and long sleeves as much as possible, and avoiding the tanning bed (except for before my senior prom). She went over my body, and made some notations about moles that were a bit large, but not concerning, just to keep an eye on them if they continue to grow. She was almost finished when she got to my stomach, and saw something that didn’t look right – a relatively large mole that was much darker than any other on my body. “The black sheep”, she called it, and wanted to remove and send to a pathologist for a biopsy. Moles that are asymmetric or have unusual or uneven color, jagged borders, or a large size (wider than the diameter of a pencil eraser), could signal melanoma.

I’d hear back in one to two weeks. A letter in the mail would mean it was benign, a phone call would mean something else.

Today I got the phone call, telling me that the mole was pre-cancerous. It’s a scary thing to hear, and a major gut check. The good news is they fully excised it when they took the biopsy (hence the large chunk out of my stomach that is trying to heal). I’ll need to do a skin check every year, and keep tabs on anything that appears that might look different.

And I feel like it’s also my due diligence to tell you to go and get a skin cancer screening, whether you’ve met your deductible or not, or your age or sun history. I know I shouldn’t have waited. And I’m lucky to have caught this before it progressed.

All the love,
Amanda

Marinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts

Marinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts

Author:
Preparation 10min Cook Time 1hr
Serves 8     adjust servings

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups red grapes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts*, coarsely chopped
  • bread for serving

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss grapes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Roast for 45-50 minutes, until skins are bursting and wrinkled. 

Meanwhile, slice goat cheese into 1/4 inch thick round, and place in a container. Pour remaining olive oil on top and let sit while grapes roast. 

When grapes are finished roasting, let cool for at least 10 minutes. Then arrange cheese plate by placing goat cheese down, then grapes and thyme sprigs, chopped walnuts, and remaining salt. Pour some of the olive oil remaining in dish where the goat cheese was marinating on top of all ingredients. Serve with toasted bread.

Recipe Notes

 To toast walnuts, spread them on a sheet pan and bake for 6-7 minutes, at 350 degrees F, until just fragrant. Remove them, and let cool - they'll continue to cook as they cool.

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17 thoughts on “Marinated Goat Cheese with Roasted Grapes and Walnuts + My Recent Experience with a Skin Cancer Check

  1. Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek

    These roasted grapes are something else. Gorgeous, and just the jammy thing that goes great with goat cheese! Also thank you for always baring yourself here. I’ve been meaning to get a mole check, and now I have much more inspiration. Glad they caught it early. xoxo

    Reply
  2. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    Glad you got checked out. So worth it. And thanks for sharing your experience. It’s an important reminder for us all to be more vigilant. I just adore roasted grapes. I make them at least 2X a week this time of year.

    Reply
  3. Abby @ Heart of a Baker

    I still haven’t gotten a skin check, but as a fellow fair skinned sister, I really should be and SOON. Thanks for the reminder sweet friend and I think this appetizer is going right into my holiday rotation! xo

    Reply
  4. Charlie

    Good that you were aware and checked!
    Great looking recipe, I will be making this for a ‘holiday tastes get together’ later in the month, thanks for posting.

    Reply
  5. Britt Roberts Brown

    So glad you went in for the screening! Question- what wine do you prefer serving with the roasted grapes and goat cheese? This sounds lovely and I can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      I’m glad too. :) Thank you for the kind words! And with this recipe, I love to serve is a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir for a a red. Both are relatively fresh and crisp, and work beautifully.

      Reply
  6. Sarah | Well and Full

    I’m so glad everything turned out to be okay. My grandpa died of melanoma, and it’s always been a fear for me and my dad (we’re both extremely pale). I’ve had a few moles checked but I definitely want to get the full-body scan, like you did. And above all, THANK YOU for bringing awareness to this…. In many cases (though not all) skin cancer is preventable, and treatable if caught early enough.

    Reply
  7. Emily

    So good of you to share about your skin test. Health can be such a personal thing, but we can learn so much from each other when we share- thank you! I love roasted grapes as well and you’ve inspired me to get some in the oven once again. I adore this season when I want to roast everything! So much warm and cozy everywhere. :) What a beautiful plate for the holiday gatherings.

    Reply
    1. amandapaa Post author

      The more we talk about it, the better we all are! And it helps to know that others have had similar experiences. It takes some of the scare away.

      And yes, roast all the things! xo

      Reply
  8. Meg | Meg is Well

    That’s scary and I’m so happy you went in and they caught it. Thanks so much for sharing, it really does have such a positive impact on raising awareness and getting people to take action. I hope your stomach heals quickly and with as little pain as possible. And this is my kind of cheese platter!

    Reply

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