Happenings (Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton’s French Cheese Puffs)

Being on surgery has done a funny thing to me. It hasn’t turned me into a morning person; it’s just made me a particularly grouchy night owl who is waking up close to when she prefers to go to sleep. It hasn’t driven me to coffee; I tried that on my last rotation and it still just tasted like burned water. It hasn’t driven me to drink or cigarettes or gambling. It has driven me to sleep early. I roll into bed and stare out my window about the time everyone in the building across from me are just starting their evening lives. I watch as fifteen floors of people come home, change out of their clothes and into their loungewear, brush their teeth, play with their cats, water their pot. They make dinner, watch tv, fix bikes, fold laundry, study, giggle at babies and shut their blinds. I see couples talking, roommates fighting, animated phone conversations and small parties. 

It’s odd to climb under the covers and watch these tableaus unfold like a bizarre lullaby. I feel that I, too, should be cooking and cleaning and reading and talking and scrubbing tiles with toothbrushes and knitting scarves and skyping with my family. Instead, I’m shutting it all out. It feels like life is going on around me and I’m a little stone in the middle of a big river of happenings. 
When some friends invited me to a dinner party last Sunday, in that same building that I watch every night, right as the evening news is ending, of course I said yes. I could be a happening for one night instead of a not-happening. And I made these cheese puffs. 
The next morning, after the cheese puff party, I get out of bed, and that neighbor building is one giant not-happening. I, alone, on the whole street, am a happening, and I strangely love it. 
These are light and airy and crispy and chewy and cheesy. There were no leftovers. If a doughnut met cheese and got divorced from sugar and then had an affair with air, these would be the odd little love child. 
I added cayenne pepper to the original recipe, because I like the extra spice. I also used cheddar and parmesan as my cheeses, but you can use any hard cheese you like. 

French Cheese Puffs
Adapted from The Canal House
Allow 30 minutes. Makes 2 dozen. 

1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 cup grated hard cheese

Preheat the oven to 400F and line two baking sheets with silicone or parchment paper. Put the butter and milk in a saucepan and heat over medium-high until melted together, then bring to a simmer. Add the salt and cayenne. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the flour, and stir vigorously until the dough has formed into a giant ball and pulls away from the side of the pan.

Remove from heat to a beater safe bowl.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then continue to beat until the dough is thick and satiny. Stir in the cheese. Spoon tablespoon size heaps of the dough onto the baking sheets, leaving a small amount of room between them.

Lower the oven temperature to 375F. Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Remove from oven when puffed and lightly browned. Serve warm.

Every Friday, a group of women writers is blogging their way through 50 Women Game-Changers of Food – find more information, as well as a complete listing of who has participated and links to every recipe we’ve made so far, here. This is who is  joining this week.
Mary of One Perfect Bite | Joanne of Eats Well With Others | Val of More Than Burnt Toast | Susan of The Spice Garden | Heather of girlichef | Miranda of Mangoes and Chutney | Jeanette of Jeanette’s Healthy Living | Kathleen of Bakeaway with Me | Sue of The View from the Great Island | Linda of There and Back Again | Kathleen of Gonna Want Seconds | Barbara of Moveable Feasts  Linda of Ciao Chow Linda | Deborah of Taste and Tell | Nancy of My Picadillo | Mireya of My Healthing Eating Habits | Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen |  Annie of lovely things | Claudia of Journey of an Italian Cook | Alyce of More Time At The Table | Amrita of Beetle’s Kitchen Escapades

Posted from: New York

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This entry was posted in 50 Women Game-Changers, Hors d'ouerve, New York, Party Food, Quick and Easy. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Happenings (Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton’s French Cheese Puffs)

  1. bellini says:

    The first thing that popped into my mind was envisioning you sitting at your window like the classic movie with Jimmy Stewart Rear Window where he observes his neighbours..then I was distracted by these cheese puffs:D

  2. Jeanette says:

    Love your writing style – beautiful just like your cheese puffs!

  3. What a great narrative! And, tasty looking puffs to go along with it.

  4. Beautifully written…and I MUST make these, they sound fantastic.

  5. I love your description of these Taryn! Now I have to make them, great choice.

  6. MeghanM says:

    ME, TOO!!! Jimmy Stewart all the way.

  7. You had me at cheese puff. They look just like you so eluquently describled them soft and airy. You picked a great recipe. Thanks for sharing with us.

  8. BeetleBuggy says:

    I did exactly what you did when I was working at a PR agency too. I was totally not a happening but watching others be a happening more often than not! I'm sure the group loved the cheese puffs because they sound delightful! That was my second choice for the group challenge 🙂

  9. Claudia says:

    How did I miss these? I am thinking – while no one is here and I am working at home – I could make them and no one will ever know that I gobbled them all up.

  10. I can believe there were no leftovers —they look sooooo good! And I'm sure they taste even better.

  11. Dear Taryn, How far along are you on your surgical rotation? They actually let you go home and sleep? LOL Please take care of your self and eat lots of your French cheese puffs and they look dreamy. Take care, BAM

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