Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cheese straws and stress

I am not usually a stress eater. But three days into being stressed can do things to a girl, like make her a stress eater. Not big stress mind you, just those little things. For example, first you find that the only pair of black pantyhose you own already have a run in them...............right after you unwrapped the brand new sealed package. I know the deconstructed look is in but come on now even the pantyhose come with holes? Next after you decide to throw on a chocolate brown pair and just pretend they are black(I was a bit desperate) you realize that the shoes you were going to wear are in your trunk.........the trunk is currently at the auto repair center. It will be ok, you can just pick a different pair. At this point you find out that you have run out of coffee, this is also ok because you can just have tea. As you are brushing your teeth you get toothpaste on your you are at the kitchen sink taking your vitamins for the day you drop the glass and it shatters in the sink. Then as I am leaving I take a look at the calender and realize my meeting is next Saturday........*sigh* None of these things on their own would usually be enough to make me resort to shoving cookies, gummy bears and candy bars into my mouth as fast as possible however these little things have been going on for the last three days. Nothing big just every little thing possible. After indulging( know...same thing) in my sweet feast I realized the reason I wasn't feeling fulfilled is because I was craving salty cheesy goodness NOT sweets!!! So with one egg some flour,butter and some cheddar cheese I turned to the one recipe guaranteed never to disappoint(unless you have hoity toity taste buds) CHEESE STRAWS! This recipe is out of my DC(Daughters of the Confederacy) Cookbook. It is simple....there are much better recipes out there for cheese straws but this one is simple and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. If you have younger kids these straws with some ranch dressing are always a hit and the kids can help make them. They end up tasting like cheese nips only spicier depending on how much Cayenne you put in them.

This is what I had on hand........nothing fancy here.1 cup of flour
1 cup and an extra hand grab(you know that portion you would grab to eat) of sharp cheddar cheese
1 beaten egg yolk
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste(I like to use Jane's crazy mixed up salt for flavor but regular table salt works just as well)

In a bowl first add your butter, I smash mine up a bit just to make mixing easier. Then throw in your cheese.
Throw your flower in next.

Now smush is all around with your hand. You could use a fork or a pastry blender if you really wanted to but the heat from your hand really helps it all blend together. You will be able to tell when you see the little butter/flour clumps start to form that you are almost ready to add the egg yolk.
After your clumps have formed you can add the well beaten yolk.
Now you will add two tablespoons of ice water.
It's time to decide how spicy you want your cheese straws........I added half a teaspoon of each of these. Since this is a fairly basic dough you can add other things as well. I have added green onions and cooked bacon then served them with sour cream which was super super delish and got plenty of compliments!
This is what you should be looking at. At this pint you can use your hands again and start to mix and kneed it into a firm and crusty dough. The exact measurements are always different every time I make these things. You may have to add a bit more butter and more water to get it to the correct consistency.

When it all pulls away from the bowl but is not mush or wet you should be at the right texture.
You can now roll the dough out on a floured surface. I almost always use the top of my oven just because it's easy to clean and I don't really have a big enough counter to use for this. At this point I also add a bit extra cayenne and Jane's this adds a bit more color and some immediate spice when you bit into the straws. This needs to be rolled pretty thin because it will puff a bit in the oven and they are supposed to be thin crunchy sticks not bread sticks. (although I guess you could try for bread sticks if you wanted....I haven't tried that yet)
I use a pizza cutter to cut half inch strips horizontally across my dough. You can change your width depending on how many sticks you want to get out of this recipe.
Set your oven to 350....for this recipe the oven doesn't have to be fully preheated.

I spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. (the crisco stuff works just as good as pam and is a little bit cheaper....and they usually sent out coupons in the Sunday paper for it).

I twist my strips before I lay them on my cookie sheet, it just adds a little to the look of them. I also want to mention this pan I'm using. It's about 30 years old and it's made by a company called EverWare. They are kind of a coffee with milk color and they are the most amazing pans ever. Kind of non stick only the coating doesn't come off...........just amazing. If I can ever find more I will buy them all up. So you bake the straws at 350 for around 8 min a batch. They will be crisp to the touch but not hard. You will see the cheese start to brown on the tops when they are done.
I serve mine in tall glasses or on trays sometimes. Kids love love love these things if you don't make them too spicy. They are just fun to eat. This is all that was left after I made mine.......I ate them as fast as they came out of the oven......just kidding....mostly.

Tomorrow being Super Bowl Sunday and all the beau and I were invited to a Super Bowl party. I am so excited because I just adore the couple who is throwing the party. Since we were invited I am going to bring some kind of football treat. I am thinking a football shaped cake actually........and maybe Italian sausage balls. Either way I will share what I make with you all and the how to make it directions. I never thought I would blog so much about cooking......but I guess that's what I have been doing a lot of lately so it makes sense. Next week I will blog about other stuff I promise!

1 comment:

  1. those look wonderful, I will take an order for tomorrow please.