Monday, February 11, 2008

Getting ready for Valentine's Day

The Big Boy and I have been (legally) married 20 years this month...there is significant time before that. We have three kids, the oldest and youngest 20 years apart. We have parents and siblings and lots of little kid relatives running around and so Valentine's Day today is...about our family. About the people we love/hate/fight with every day of the year.

We have spaghetti, with salad and bread and chocolate desserts but then last year I bought a chocolate fountain and GOOD LORD! What did we do for entertainment before that? No idea. I have token gifts for everyone...small plants or special foods or just something that says, Fun Night. It's madness and mayhem and I was gonna SKIP IT this year but everyone nearly had a heart attack so...we're on.

These bread sticks came from somewhere, at least 20 years ago. I make an early batch, for the plunderers, and then a couple of batches for the meal. They're comfort bread, warm, yeasty, soft and just good. Really good. (And, not that it MATTERS, easy.) So there.

Parmesan Bread Sticks

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup powdered milk
3 tablespoons butter, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package yeast
1/4 cup water
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. In a mixing bowl, beat one cup flour, dry milk, butter, suger, salt, egg, parmesan and yeast with enough water to make a soft dough. Add remaining two cups flour and enough water to maintain a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. (Obviously, I do this with a mixer and dough hooks.)

Let rise until doubled in bulk, usually one hour. Punch down, pat out and cut into strips. Roll the strips between your palms into long rolls, then twist and lay out on lightly greased cookie sheets. Let rise until doubled again, usually 30-45 mintues. Bake at 375 degrees until light golden brown.

When I first started making these I had never heard of Asiago cheese. Then Atlanta Bread Company moved in next door and...they have a good idea. So now we use Asiago when we can get it.

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