Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, the prolific writing-cooking duo who brought us Ham: An Obsession with the Hindquarter last year, have just released their eighteenth (!) cookbook, Goat: Milk, Meat, Cheese.

Whether you love or hate Weinstein and Scarbrough's signature slapstick-tinged, conversational style depends on whether you like your recipes served straight up, or as we prefer, with a side of well-written storytelling. Consider the pan-roasted goat chops that are sautéed until golden brown in goat butter (“or unsalted cow butter, if you must”), seasoned with cinnamon and fresh sage then deglazed with dry white wine. (“The amount of liquid is tiny; it will boil instantly. Work fast.”) And finished off with a splash of goat milk and “fat, sweet fresh blackberries.” The dish is to be served with “a crunchy baguette” that you are then instructed to tear into pieces “so that some can accidentally fall into the sauce as you eat the chops.” We like these guys already.

Beyond The Cheese Course; Credit: Flickr user TheseDaysInFrenchLife

Beyond The Cheese Course; Credit: Flickr user TheseDaysInFrenchLife

As in Ham, the “Hunks” section of the meat chapter opens with a one-page personal reflection (“a goat is a bony critter, much like all the other four-legged, long-backboned types…” begins the first chapter) before shifting gears and getting to the recipes.

There's goat stewed in a red mole sauce, several takes on classic goat curries including dalcha gosht with channa dal (split chickpeas), chicken fried goat made from patties of sliced leg meat with goat milk gravy– Scarbrough grew up in Texas — and even a goat meat loaf, an intriguing combination of green lentils, ground goat, shredded carrots and spices.

The milk and yogurt section is filled with wheat germ-banana muffins made with goat milk, garlic and parsnip flan, and a celery root raita recipe. Desserts range from traditional Spanish cajeta (caramel sauce) to more modern takes like honey goat milk gelato. All that before you get to the cheese section of the cookbook.

Here, we found ourselves flipping back for another look at that radish and grape salad with goat cheese croutons, the goat milk and goat cheese gourgères, and briwat, a traditional Syrian appetizer of fried goat cheese and cilantro stuffed pastries (made from eggroll wrappers) and drizzled with honey. For dessert, there's a goat cheese cheesecake, of course, but also sweet goat cheese tamales. Yes, please.

Though Weinstein and Scarbrough pony up a list of specialty goat meat purveyors for those of us who don't have goat breasts, shoulders, legs and such available at our local markets daily, we know what that really means. We won't be trying out these recipes as often as we'd like. Which is why we are considering calling up Deborah Krasner for advice on getting a few goats for our apartment balcony. Take enough of those goat cheese truffles (the ganache filling is made with goat cheese, maple syrup and melted chocolate) or this butterscotch goat milk pudding to the neighbors, and surely they won't mind.

Butterscotch Goat Milk Pudding

From: Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough.

Note: This recipe didn't make the final cut into the book, but is one that the authors say brought home some very goat-specific cooking challenges. “It was hard to get to goat milk to set up in sauces and puddings. After interviewing countless cheesemakers and milk producers, we discovered that goat milk is made up of far smaller molecules than other milk.” As such, this is a soft pudding that “actually gets better the second day, as those flavors have a chance to meld and mellow.”

Makes: 6 servings

5 large egg yolks, at room temperature

1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 cups regular goat milk (do not use low-fat)

1/4 cup granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Use an electric mixer at medium speed to beat the egg yolks and brown sugar in a large bowl until creamy, thick, and pale beige, about 3 minutes. Beat in the flour until fully dissolved and smooth. Set aside.

2. Pour the goat milk into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until bubbles fizz around the inside of the pan.

3. Meanwhile, melt the granulated sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until golden–or even a little browner for a deeper taste.

4. Slowly pour the warmed goat milk into the hot sugar syrup, whisking all the while. The milk will roil up and can scald you; just keep whisking as the milk goes into that hot sugar. Once all the milk has been added, increase the heat under the large saucepan to medium-high and whisk until all the sugar has melted into the milk.

5. Whisk about half the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then whisk this combined mixture back into the remaining hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and whisk until bubbling and thickened somewhat. Never stop whisking so no sugar falls out of suspension and burns and so the eggs do not curdle. You're looking for several bubbles across the surface and a thickened custard, about the final pudding itself. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and salt. Divide among serving bowls or ramekin cups.

LA Weekly