Salient Points (Edna Lewis’ Cheese Straws)

I have nothing clever and no expressive writing today, just a few facts.
-My camera broke. There go all my dreams of being a fantastic photographer. Here come cell-phone photos of food.
-I’m on a surgery rotation and the longer I’m in it, the less time I have, as evidenced by the not-even-once-a-week posting here. Sorry, y’all.

-I never know how much to post about my medical life and how much to pretend it doesn’t exist. Do y’all want to read about my experiences, the patients I meet and the character I interact with? Half the time, it’s really depressing, but it’s still life. I’m not a very good food blogger. I talk about things other than food too much.
-5am is EARLY.
-I am eating so badly. I leave the house at 5am and might eat lunch at 3pm, then come home and collapse. There’s a lot of vending machine food throughout the day and I rarely, if ever, have time to cook when I get home 8 hours before I have to leave again.

I did make these fish crackers myself, though, out of left-over
cheese straw dough. That means they’re not junk food, right?

-Surgery is wicked cool. I’m not allowed to actually talk about it, because it will make my dad pass out, but trust me.
-I’m at that point tonight where I’m not sure sleep will help. It might just make me punchy. Really punchy.
-24 hour call really means 28 hour call which really means get up at 5am on Monday, get off work at 10am on Tuesday, and then try not to screw up your sleep cycle, so don’t go to bed til 9pm on Wednesday. Then get up at 5am on Thursday. I feel like the math involved here is wrong, but I don’t actually know if there’s math in this.

And with that, I leave you with my one indulgence from last weekend. (Actually, it was my second indulgence for the weekend. The first was not setting an alarm on Saturday morning.)

The mustard and cayenne pepper in these straws lead to a distinct, yet interesting, mildly bitter aftertaste. These are goldfish for adults. They are light, crunchy and addictive, and very easy to whip up. 
The only change I made to the original recipe was adding a dash of nutmeg and omitting the salt, as cheese is fairly salty already. 

Feed Others: Throw a casual get together, and serve these cheese straws, along with a nice little bowl of Orange Salad, a few Stuffed Zucchini to wow the vegetable eaters, some to-die-for Nectarine Bars for a sweet nibble, and cold glasses of Vin d’Orange cut with selzer and garnished with zest. 

Cheese Straws
Adapted from Edna Lewis
Makes 50-70 straws. Allow 40 minutes.

8 oz Cheddar cheese, grated
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons cold water

Preheat the oven to 425F. Beat together the cheese and butter at a low speed until well blended. Sift together all the dry ingredients, then beat slowly into the butter mixture. When the dough has come together and is forming crumbs, add the water, and beat for one minute.

Knead in the bowl or on a floured countertop just enough to bring the dough into a cohesive mass. Between two sheets of waxed paper, roll the dough into a 9″x12″ rectangle. Slid the dough into the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and cut the dough in half the short way, then cut 1/4″ strips, so your final strips at 6″x1/4″. Transfer strips to parchment lined baking sheets.

Bake one sheet at a time until the straws are golden brown and crispy, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Can be kept in an airtight container for up to one week.

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

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. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Salient Points (Edna Lewis’ Cheese Straws)

  1. bellini says:

    These were delicious Taryn and my first foray into this Southern treat. My only regret is that I didn't double the recipe.

  2. Aw! I like the little shapes you made.

  3. Gold fish for grown-ups? I'm in. I love that you put nutmeg in, that sounds like a fabulous little improvement. Get some sleep!

  4. These things are very addictive. You picked a great recipe to showcase. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. Mary says:

    I am all for goldfish for grown-ups. These sound delicious and you sound stressed and overworked. The wonderful part of blogging is that you get to write about whatever you wish. Those of us who love you and enjoy your company will come regardless. I'll bring smelling salts for you Dad. Have a good weekend. Blessings…Mary

  6. Oh, the life of a doctor in training …. poor you! I have great sympathy for you and your sleep deprived life – I guess you must just grab sleep when you can get it and make food that stores well so you can grab it on the fly … these bread sticks fit the bill nicely!

  7. Claudia says:

    I will be making this – so far – I have not been able to resist one Edna Lewis recipe. And you know what – it's your blog – talk about what you want – especially if it is wicked cool!

  8. BeetleBuggy says:

    Oh man, I used to live a life similar to yours even though that was in PR, but we had long long hours at work and the worst was, you take work home with you even on weekends. It was never-ending! I lived on a lot of junk food and mismatched meal times, so I can feel your pain. But, it's so cool when you look back on what you've achieved at the end of the day and it almost makes up 😛 Sorry about your camera though! I hope the cheese straws made you feel an ounce better because they look really good!

  9. To tell you the truth, I don't even know where you find the time to cook and then blog about it. I think your octopus is very cute!

  10. Miranda says:

    I absolutely want to make these – sound delicious. You need sleep – but you're doing a great job!

  11. Epicurea says:

    sooo cute, especially the octopus, just brought a smile to my day and worth a mental note for those who have to feed kids!

  12. MeghanM says:

    These look super yummy! And I vote yes on hearing about your life.

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