Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cheese Straws

Ah...cheese straws....a favorite.  I don't make these will see why when you look at the ingredients.  And they are just so good.  In the past I would make these when a dozen cookies were requested...just because it's nice to have something savory on a dessert buffet at times.  In fact, when I was in the Whitefish Bay Woman's Club (as the youngest member...but that's another story), it was often requested that I make these.

The Whitefish Bay Woman's link to their website here.  It's a different generation of women...and they were a great bunch.  A friend of mine had the idea to join since we had been intrigued with their clubhouse within our village. friend is about 10 years older than I am (and a regular reader so I am kind on our age difference by a bit)...and she was the second youngest a lot of years.  It was delightful to get to know these women (and they were impressed by my ability to scale a ladder in just a few seconds) but life got in the way of me being able to participate.  It's a sad thing to me that many of these clubs just won't survive the way busy households are today, so I am glad that I was part of it when I had a bit more free time during the day.

Back to the cheese straws!
I have Wednesdays off work right now; however, there are some changes in my work department so I don't know how long I will have this schedule.  I LOVE having a day in the middle of the week to get a few things done.  It's been great to clean and catch up on laundry and get an extra grocery store run in the middle of the week.  Not to mention a nice day for fitness...body pump in the morning...returning to the Y in the afternoon during swim practice.  Typically I try to make a special after school snack for Eleanor on Wednesdays...and this week I was dreaming of cheese straws.  The way the three of us ate the rest of the batch that evening reminds me why I don't make these too often.  But we sure enjoyed them the other day!

The recipe comes from The New Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas.  Every time I use this book I remember how much I like it.  The recipes are arranged by menu ideas, so it's not a "go to" book for me.  However, when I have a few minutes to page through it I really enjoy it.  Believe it or not, I made it just like the recipe suggests.
2 c flour
3/4 t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 stick butter (1/2 c)
3/4 lb grated cheddar cheese
4 T cold water
1 t prepared mustard
1 t Worcestershire sauce

In a food processor, combine flour, sald, cayenne, butter and grated cheese and prcess until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

In another bowl whisk together cold water, mustard, Worcestershire.  Drizzle into the food processor until the pastry pulls together and forms a ball.  May need to add a bit more cold water if needed.

Take the pastry out and divide into two parts.  Roll each part into a rectangle...8 by 16 inches...between wax paper (I used silpat).  Each should be about 1/8" thick.  Chill both sheets at least an hour.

Peel back the paper and slice into strips about 1/3" wide.  Transfer to baking sheets on buttered or parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, until golden and beginning to brown at the ends.  Let them cool a few minutes before serving.

You can make the pastry ahead of time and slice and bake before serving.  Or you can make them ahead and recrisp them in the oven.  Anna Thomas recommends some pepper flakes, cracked black pepper, or a little Bleu cheese or Parmesan cheese.

She also recommends making a double batch if children are involved:)

BTW....I believe this to be post #500!!!!!

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