Posts Tagged by cheese

Southern Summer Cheese Straws

Southern Summer Cheese Straws

Cheese straws are a southern favorite.  I have memories of these cheesy sticks of yumminess that go back to the days when our extended family gathered for Homecoming in central Louisiana. Whether at my grandparents house or down by the creek, there was always fried fish and a big cauldron of gumbo – the Cajun kind, not the New Orleans-style Creole gumbo – blackberry cobbler from berries we’d picked the day before, served with ice cream we churned on the spot, fresh lemonade (or a bottle of Coca Cola if you were lucky) and cheese straws.

These days, we have cheese straws during the holidays, watching football, as a snack in the car, and sometimes just on a Tuesday.  Easy to whip up and keep in the freezer, they’re especially good with a glass of wine and a few fresh berries. The traditional “straw” shape isn’t a requirement, either. Just slice and bake anytime you crave a little taste of a sweet, simple, southern summer.

Southern Summer Cheese Straws

Ingredients

1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated, room temperature (about 4 cups)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper                                                                                                                                     1/4 teaspoon paprika
Dash or two of garlic powder

Directions

Combine the grated cheese and softened butter in a food processor until blended.

In a large bowl, sift 3 cups of the flour with the salt, cayenne pepper, paprika and garlic powder. Gradually add the seasoned flour to the cheese mixture by large spoonfuls, blending well after each addition. Add the final 1 cup unseasoned flour incrementally until the dough is somewhat stiff, not crumbly, but still soft enough to be pushed through a cookie press. Remove the top of the food processor and feel the dough – you may not need to add all the flour.

Spray cookie sheets with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment/Silpat. Add a portion of the dough into a cookie press fitted with the star-shaped disk and press the dough onto a cookie sheet in long strips the length of the pan.

Cheese Straws Cookie Press

Alternately, roll into teaspoon sized balls, place on a cookie sheet and flatten into discs with the tines of a fork. Repeat until the pan is full. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until straws are lightly golden brown and crisp, about 20 minutes.

Break or cut the long strips into shorter lengths. Remove the cheese strips from the pan and cool on a wire rack. When they are completely cool, serve or store in an airtight container.

Tips:

Gruyere cheese is also delicious in this recipe.

If you don’t have a cookie press, form the dough into 1-inch balls and flatten them with a fork.

This dough keep wonderfully in the freezer.

3 Ways to Make a Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate
Unless you’re escaping on a six-week vacation soon (if so, send me a postcard!), you’re likely celebrating the holiday season with a mix of friends, family, neighbors and coworkers. While your charming personality is the greatest contribution to a festive gathering, a tasty and memorable cheese plate is a close second. I always enjoy kicking off a dinner party or friendly gathering with a flavorful and low-maintenance cheese plate, because the stress of cleaning the house, timing dinner and wondering how personalities will mesh is quite enough before adding on the expectations of the holidays.
However, picking flavors, mixing and matching accoutrements and navigating textures can befuddle even the most enthusiastic cheese whiz, so remove the guesswork and try one of these winning combinations to bring the cheer and cheese to your holiday party:

The Classic

Cheeses

  • Soft Cheese: Isigny Sainte-Mère Bonhomme Brie
  • Aged Cheddar: Borough Market Clothbound Cheddar
  • Goat Gouda: Yodeling Goat
  • Creamy Blue: Fourme d’Ambert

Accoutrements

  • Walnuts
  • Raspberries
  • Olives
  • Salami
  • Bread and water crackers

Around the World

Cheeses

  • Raw Milk Soft-Ripened: Mons Camembert (France)
  • Aged Manchego: El Trigal (Spain)
  • Cave-Aged Emmentaler: Kaltbach (Switzerland)
  • Blue: Gorgonzola Dolce (Italy)

Accoutrements

  • Marcona almonds
  • Prosciutto
  • Organic fig spread
  • Baguette rounds
  • Raincoast Crisps

Globally Inspired Cheese Plate

The Bold and the Beautiful

Cheeses

  • Aged Cheddar: Black Creek Cheddar
  • Aged Goat Cheese: Vermont Creamery Bonne Bouche
  • Roquefort: Papillon Organic Roquefort
  • Soft-Ripened Brie (with a rustic, bloomy rind): Cellars at Jasper Hill Harbison

Accoutrements

  • Honeycomb
  • Cornichons
  • Chocolate-covered nuts (Tip: look for Piedra des Lunas!)
  • Figs
  • Peruvian drop peppers
  • Dried fruit crisps and sliced bread

Cheese Plate

Choose Your Cheese Adventure

Although those are fail-proof options, don’t be afraid to build your own cheese plate. Set yourself up for success by reading these eight tips first:

  1. Mix it up! Offer a selection of different styles of cheeses. Three to four options work, and plan on two ounces per person.
  2. Let them breath. Letting cheeses “breathe” for an hour before serving enhances the flavors. They should be served at room temperature.
  3. Label each cheese. This way your guests know what they’re enjoying.
  4. Buy at the right time. Purchase cheeses just a day or two before your event so they are at their best.
  5. Befriend our cheesemongers. They can point out what’s best to eat now.
  6. Serve both bread and crackers. Different textures enhance the experience. Some favorites are crostini crackers, water crackers and the baguette.
  7. Don’t forget the savory details. Additions like olives, roasted nuts and marinated vegetables are key.
  8. Add some sweets. The sweetness in fruit complements the saltiness of cheese.

Source: BlogsRelease