I know a little bit more about Beaujolais Nouveau: It's French. It comes out in the fall of every year. It doesn't really age well, so you need to drink it fairly soon. It's red, and kind of fruity or berry-y. And - I just learned this this week - although liquor stores may get it in early, it can't go out on the shelf until a mandated specific day (much like the latest Harry Potter book, or a Black Friday television).
Here is a bottle of this year's vintage:
|You can tell it's from this year, because it's November 18th, and there's just a little rain outside, no snow. (You can also tell because it says "2016" right on the label.)|
Oh, and one other thing: people tend to have parties to celebrate the release of the new vintage. And, in fact, Christopher and I were invited to one for tonight. We were asked to cheese or crackers along with our bottle, and so - as we are wont to do - we decided I should whip up some "cheese straws" for the occasion.
Cheese straws are... well... they're like a homemade cross between crunchy Cheetohs and Cheese-Its. And, really, they're pretty easy to make, especially if you can reach over and pull The Joy of Cooking off your shelf (and you happen to have a pound or two of Cheddar cheese in the fridge left over from your last Costco run).
|"4 dozen" is a bit optimistic, I think.|
|Six tablespoons of butter, just hanging out and softening...|
With the butter softened (and yesterday's dishes washed... and insulating film put up on the bedroom windows... and the dog walked - it's amazing what you can do while waiting for butter to soften), I started working everything together. Yes, with my hands.
I worked the butter and cheese together, first, then dumped everything else on top.
|I know that it kind of looks like I murdered something in there, but it's the Cholula hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce on top of the flour.|
It's kind of strange, though - I put in a lot more than a "dash" of hot sauce, and followed the rest of the instructions, but the "dough" still mainly tasted of cheese. So... well... I'll tell you about that later.
|Not quite as old as the cookbook, I've had this press since grad school - so maybe 1991?|
I'm not going to lie - I'm glad we chose the mid-sized tip, because the cheese dough was hard enough to get through that one. I can only imagine what it would have been like to get it through the smaller one.
I started out by piping the dough out in long strips on my ungreased cookie sheets (I contemplated using parchment paper, which I might do in future), then cut each to approximately two inches in length (leaning very heavily on the "approximately" factor).
They headed into a 475-degree oven, and - after making the entire house smell like cheese - came out about twelve minutes later looking (mostly) like this:
Remember how I said the dough was a little bland? Well, we remedied that by sprinkling them with some flavored salt right as they came out of the oven. There was a quick debate between salt or cayenne pepper, but I found a "five pepper salt" (really, it's mainly salt, but has cayenne, chipotle, red pepper, and some other things in it) in the cupboard, and so I used that. It added just enough extra zing to really make these work.
|I feel this should have one of those box cover notices that says "enlarged to show texture" - but I'm guessing you all figured that out, already.|
Now, assuming that we're not piled under a foot of snow in the next 6 hours, we'll be able to celebrate the Beaujolais Nouveau with cheese straw style.
REMINDER: I'm on the lookout for random things to bake/cook. If you've got a recipe that you're afraid of because you're not sure how it will turn out, or if you have a recipe that turned out odd and you want someone else to try it, let me know and I'll see what I can do!