Day 51: “The Essential New York Times Cook Book”
February 20, 2011
Ever heard of cheese straws? I have and I always thought they were incredibly complicated to make. However this recipe converted me the cheese straws as an easy appetizer. Not super easy, but less complicated that you would think. The tool that is a must for this recipe is the food processor. I drug my feet for years on buying a food processor and I finally bit the bullet about 4 years ago. I seriously use it at least twice a week. Never thought I would, but I swear I do. I love it for grating cheese. Buying blocks of cheese is cheaper and the texture of the cheese is different. I think the store-bought grated cheeses have some kind of fine dust like corn starch on it. So if you just buy the food processor to grate your cheese you will save money and it will pay for itself over time. After I grated my cheese for this recipe, I grated some cheese for another recipe and then stored the leftovers in the fridge. After the cheese was grated I simply changed the blades and mixed the dough up….literally 30 seconds and it was all mixed up.
This cookbook weighs about 7 pounds….I think it should come with a warning on it. I have been dreading checking it out from the library because it is so heavy. But with the weight you get over 150 years worth of the recipes that have filled the pages of “The New York Times”. Amanda Hesser worked on this cookbook for a reported 6 years…..now that is dedication! This is the kind of book that you give as a gift to the foodie in your life.
The Ruling: We liked it. Some of us more than others. Youngest child just took a nibble of it and declared it ok. The other two kids liked it. It reminded us in taste of my homemade macaroni and cheese. Think of that, a comfort food in a stick form! The addition of the red pepper gave it an unexpected kick that we all enjoyed. I made a very rustic version as I rolled it out on parchment paper and roughly cut the straws out in varying sizes. If I was making this for guest, I may have tried for more perfection. But personally the lack of perfection is kind of charming….that is my story and I am sticking with it!
Cheese Straws, page 79
- 1/4 pound extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces and softened
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon half-and-half, or as necessary (I did need to add more to mine)
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. COmbine the cheese, butter, flour, salt, and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the half-and-half and pulse until the dough forms a ball. Add more half-and-half if needed.
- On a lightly floured surface, using a lightly floured pin, roll the dough out to a rectangle 8 by 10 inches. With a sharp knife, cut the dough crosswise into thin strips, 1/4 to 1/3 inch wide. Gently transfer the straws to an ungreased baking sheet, leaving a 1/4 inch between them. (The dough is fragile, so use the knife to slide the straws from the work surface onto the baking sheet.)
- Bake for 17 minutes, or until the ends of the straws are barely browned; check on them after 12 minutes to see if the pan needs to be rotated. Let cool.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at www.ididit-fargo.com . Need to contact MS. Simplicity privately, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For daily organizing tips find the MS. Simplicity fan page here