A really yummy (and pretty!) appetizer or snack…perfect for the holidays.  I discovered this recipe in ‘Modern Potluck’, by Kristin Donnelly – enjoy!

Spiced Carrot and Goat Cheese Strudel

4 medium carrots, coarsely shredded (about 3 cups)

~3/4 c. olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 t. EACH mustard seeds AND cumin seeds

1/4 t. EACH kosher salt AND freshly ground pepper

1/4 t. red pepper flakes (optional) – the girls found this ‘spicy’, Brock and I loved it

1 log (300 g) goat cheese, room temperature

1/2 t. fresh or 1/4 t. dried thyme leaves

8 + sheets of thawed phyllo pastry

black sesame seeds or nigella seeds for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with parchment.  In a large skillet, heat a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat and then add in the garlic, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and cook, while stirring, for about 1 minute.  Add in the carrots and continue to cook and stir for a few minutes until the carrots are tender.  Season with the salt and pepper and red pepper flakes (if using), then remove the carrots from the heat and leave them to cool for a bit.

In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese and thyme, and then pour the remaining olive oil into a small bowl, and get out your phyllo.  Lay one sheet of phyllo down on a clean surface (or a large baking sheet to make for easier clean-up), with one of the longer sides towards you.  Generously brush the phyllo sheet with olive oil, lay another sheet on top, generously brush with olive oil, and repeat so that you have 4 stacked layers of phyllo, all brushed with olive oil.

Spread half of the goat cheese mix in a strip about a 1/2-inch from the bottom edge of the phyllo stack, leaving about 1 inch at either end, then spread half of the carrot mix alongside the goat cheese.  Roll the phyllo so that the goat cheese is on top of the carrot strip, then continue rolling tightly, tucking in the edges as you go.  Transfer your strudel to your prepared baking sheet and repeat the process to form a second strudel roll.  Brush both rolls with more olive oil and then sprinkle generously with whichever black seed you’re using.  Bake for about 25 minutes until golden and crisp and then allow the strudels to rest (and cool) for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  These are wonderful warm, but also work very well at room temperature if you need to make them ahead.

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