Saturday, February 9, 2008


Multiple posts today and all about New Orleans. Lagniappe means something extra, so this post is the something extra for the day. I served cheese straws as the appetizer for the Mardi Gras gathering at my home on Tuesday. They went well with the hurricanes. Other additions included bread pudding and Doberge cake. I eventually got around to making dirty rice.

I have to admit (and my aunt reminded me for emphasis) that I did not like cheese straws when I first tried them. I know, New Orleanean and other Southern women are just gasping right now. I'd never tried them until I lived in New Orleans. I was unimpressed. Granted these came from a bag (I'm telling you -- I have some discriminating tastes when it comes to processed food. Except for Velveeta. Velveeta is a necessity.)

Enter one of my role models, Paula Deen. Say what you like; that woman has built an empire around Southern food and family. She made cheese straws on her show that looked so good. Besides, I'd get to use a piping bag. I had to give it a shot.

This can all be done in a food processor. Miracle was up for the task. First shred sharp cheddar cheese. I used extra sharp white Wisconsin cheddar. Make sure the cheese is at room temp. Mine was straight from the fridge and the dough was too stiff for me to work at first. I had to microwave it for a few seconds.

Switch to the metal blade and add room temperature butter, flour, salt and cayenne. Take everything for a spin.

Put the dough in a piping bag, cookie press, or cut the corner out of a food storage bag. I used a piping bag with a 1M tip. Pipe the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. I'm a Silpat and parchment kinda girl. With all of the butter and oil from the cheese, I doubt that you really need and extra oil, but insurance is always good. Paula made 2-inch straws. I wanted mine longer.

Head to a 350 degree pre-heated oven. Baked 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Boy, are these good!

Tools of the trade:

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