November 20, 2010 § 8 Comments
I’ve been in the food zone lately, researching recipes, populating my To Do list…oh, and most importantly, cooking! So, in the spirit of Heidi Swanson’s advice of cooking from recipes during the stages of learning to stand in the kitchen, so to speak, I’ve been scouring the blogosphere (and the library) for interesting recipes. A few of the things I am learning about cookbooks are: 1) there are way too many out there (my local library probably has a bigger selection of cookbooks than math books), and 2) most of the cookbooks are picture-less, or if they do have pictures, they’re finished products jammed into one paltry center section that doesn’t even cover 1/4th of what’s going on throughout the book. This leads a novice cook to turn to the blogosphere where traditional publishing doesn’t limit the how-to photo bandwidth, and now we’re also blessed with video! So, one of the blogs I’ve been really interested in lately is the Smitten Kitchen.
The Smitten Kitchen is a treasure trove of recipes, translated with amazing how-to images and notes on best practices. While trolling for chocolate recipes, no excuses there, I happened upon a section of homemade holiday gift ideas, one of them being cheesy straws. We’re big tea drinkers here (old English habits die hard) and are always looking for savoury snacks to make the experience a little more pleasurable for the palate. cheese straws are one of those excellent savoury accents to add to a well-balanced tea break. In a dash of inspiration from my refrigerator again, more so than a desire to put a personal stamp on the recipe, I ended up making a few adjustments. The original recipe is linked below if you’re a cheddar purist.
(adapted from the Smitten Kitchen,, makes a lot, but not too much, perhaps two small gift servings worth)
1 cup cheddar cheese (grated or cut into small chunks)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated or cut into small chunks)
1/2 stick of butter
3/4 flour (I guess you can add a layer of creativity here, I went with AP)
1/2 tsp of salt
1/2 crushed tsp red pepper flakes
3 tsps milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process all of the ingredients, MINUS the milk, until the mixture resembles coarse grain (as pictured). Add the milk, then continue to process until the mixture turns into a ball of dough.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/8th inch thickness. With a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 1/8th inch straws (as pictured). Transfer to a baking sheet (I lined mine with a silicone baking mat, I would suggest using wax or parchment paper). Bake for about 15 minutes or until the straws begin to turn golden brown.
Let the straws cool on a baking rack for a good 15 minutes at least, so that they can properly solidify. If you don’t do this they’ll break apart very easily.
Aside from being given away as awesome homemade holiday gifts (they’re wonderful and will be appreciated I promise you), they would be great with a spot of tea or served as a side with soup or chili.