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Monday
May082017

Parmesan Garlic Cheese Straws

 

Why have I never written about these before in a post?  These are a family favorite as an appetizer and are a snap to make.  They are also - bonus - something you can make when you need an appetizer and have nothing available.  Because if you always keep frozen puff pastry sheets in your freezer (you should) and you always have a hard grating cheese in your fridge (I bet you do), you can totally make these in about an hour and a half from start to finish.   You can also make these ahead of time and stick them in the fridge before baking.  They hold all day in the fridge until you're ready to pop them in the oven. 

 

 

You can use a hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano.  I also like Pecorino Romano for its sharpness and saltiness, so sometimes I will blend the two cheeses.  Make sure you grate the cheese finely because it will adhere better to the puff pastry.  You can grate this on a box grater, but I like to use a food processor because it's faster. And for such a small amount of cheese, I especially like to use my immersion blender - it has a small bowl attachment with a sharp blade to grind cheeses and nuts and it's perfect for small jobs when my big food processor would be overkill:

 

There's many different ways people make these, but I like to lay down some cheese on the counter, place the puff pastry sheet on top, lay some more cheese on the puff pastry and then fold the sheet in half.  I lay more cheese on top of that and press it all together with a rolling pin.  Then I just cut into strips with a sharp knife, twist the strips and bake.  If you want to double this recipe, you defrost two sheets instead of one and just lay one sheet on top of the other and follow the same method.  

Hope you enjoy these. 

Thanks for dropping by!
Elaine

 

ceramic plate from Fifty One and a Half

 

Parmesan Garlic Cheese Straws

for a printable recipe, click here

Makes about 14 - 16 cheese straws, depending on how wide you cut them

1 sheet frozen puff pastry
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (sometimes I use half Parm and half Pecorino cheese for a sharper taste)
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon onion powder
1 large pinch of fine sea salt

 

Remove wrapping from the puff pastry sheet and lay out on the counter for about 30 minutes to defrost, until you can open the pastry sheet easily.

While the puff pastry is defrosting, prepare the cheese filling.  You can grate the cheese on the file holes of a hand grater, but I like to do mine in either the food processor or, for such a small amount of cheese, I use my grinder attachment on my immersion blender.  Grind cheese until very fine.  Add the garlic and onion powders and grind until blended.

Line two rimmed baking sheets with baking parchment.  

Sprinkle a third of the cheese mixture on the counter.  Lay the pastry sheet on top.  Sprinkle another third of the cheese on top of the pastry sheet.  Fold the pastry sheet in half, top with the rest of the cheese and press the cheese into the sheet with a rolling pin.  This will also enlarge the pastry size.  

With a very sharp knife, cut the pastry sheet in half vertically and then cut each half into ½ inch strips horizontally.  Twist each strip, rolling in the cheese as you go, and place on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cheese.  (Save any leftover cheese for another use.)

Refrigerate the pastry for about 30 minutes (puff pastry rises better when cold).  Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F.  (You can also keep these in the fridge all day until you are ready to bake.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap so they don't dry out.)

Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve immediately.  

 

Tuesday
Apr042017

Bunny Fold Napkin for Easter

 

 

 

The last time I hosted Easter at my house, I made these cute little bunnies out of napkins and put one at each place setting.   Especially if you have children in your home, you may want to try these this Easter.  They are simple to do and you get better after each one!  Thinner napkins work a little better, if you have a choice.  

Also, this is the time to start thinking of making Italian Easter Bread.  If you have never made this delicious bread, give it a go this year.  It is slightly sweet and a real treat. If you are looking for additional Easter recipes, you can try my Pesto Stuffed Eggs, which are so pretty at Easter.  You can also try these pretty Edible Easter Egg Nests, which I have made and placed on the table for dinner.   Enjoy!

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Wednesday
Feb082017

Pasta alla Gricia

There are a handful of classic Roman pasta dishes that you will find in almost every good trattoria in Rome: Cacio e Pepe, Bucatini all' Amatriciana and Pasta alla Gricia. These dishes are what I like the best - simple to make and with just a few ingredients that you already have in your pantry and can make at the last minute. No fancy recipes here - these recipes are all about technique.  This delicious pasta has just four ingredients, but it's essential to prepare it properly. 

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