Fall has officially arrived. Not sure why I always have a hard time saying goodbye to summer but each year it is challenging for me. On Saturday in the Bay Area we had our first good down pour of rain. With the rain, it made the entrance of fall just a bit easier to adjust too. I love the recipes that are predominately fall inspired by pumpkin, squash, Brussels sprouts to name a few, along with enjoying homemade soups, braised dishes and the smell of baked goods permeating the house.
Speaking of baked goods, I made the most incredible cheese straws over the weekend. The recipe comes from Feast on the Cheap and happens to be my match this month for the Secret Recipe Club. If you are not familiar with this secret club, let me share a quick snapshot. Essentially there are about 200 food bloggers who are in the club and each month are paired with another blogger and it is a secret, until reveal day. Once reveal day hits, you can see who had you and what recipe they chose from your blog. It is my favorite time of the month when group C has their reveal. Wonder what recipe will be picked this month? Hum.
This month I was paired with the mother and daughter duo from Feast on the Cheap. Mary Ann has been a professional caterer and an operating room nurse. She is one busy bee, but I can sense from her blog that she has a true passion for both and makes it happen. I have to imagine that her co-workers at the hospital are a lucky bunch and well fed. The other half of this dynamic duo is her daughter Mariel who learned to cook from her talented mother and experimentation. Mariel earned a B.A. in English and puts it to good use with her contributions to SELF, Martha Stewart Living, Redbook and Good Housekeeping to name a few.
I was excited to have these lovely ladies food blog to browse through and choose a divine recipe. They did not make it easy, since the choices are endless. With my love of appetizers, I kept coming back to that category. I had not made cheese straws in many years and their recipe intrigued me. They used bread crumbs which I soon learned helped to make these cheese straws crispy and crunchy. The original recipe yielded a lot of cheese straws and I knew I wanted to roll them out very thin and narrow, so I decided to cut the recipe in half, which is the recipe included below. In addition, I increased the spice factor and added parmesan cheese to kick up the flavor another notch. Instead of adding to the mixing, I decided to roll it into the top of dough. The result was pure perfection. Thank you Mary Anne and Mariel for an amazing recipe and inspiration!
Spicy Cheddar Parmesan Cheese Straws
Makes about 7 Dozen
1 Cup Shredded Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, grated
½ Stick Butter, room temperature
1 ½ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
¾ Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Milk
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese
Use a food processor with a metal blade, add the panko bread crumbs and pulse lightly. Next add all of the other ingredients (except the parmesan cheese) and pulse. It should be well blended and able to form a ball with your hands. If you need to add more milk do so at 1 tablespoon increments until dough combines, but not sticky.
Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Let chill 30 minutes. Position the oven racks in the middle. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the disc between 2 layers of plastic wrap and roll the dough to about 1/8th inch thickness. Sprinkle about ½ of the parmesan cheese on top and roll to ensure it permeates the dough. Cut the dough into strips using a ravioli wheel cutter. Cut into 5 inch strips lengthwise and about ½ inch at the width. Place onto a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on a wire rack. Repeat process until dough is all used.