Monday, May 11, 2009


You can now find Foodie and Cooking posts mixed in with our impatient rants and social observations at Country Girl / City Girl.

Y'all come on over!

Monday, May 4, 2009

The beef over noodles thing

Picked up a pack of stew meat, marked down. A big pack. The Big Boy isn't THAT fond of any beef other than tenderloin, but this was on sale and hey, he's only one vote. THIS WAS SO GOOD. I used to have a recipe for something like this, lost it, then kept thinking I needed some special stuff to make this right. WRONG. They all took this to lunch the next day.

Beef Tips Over Pasta (aka Stew Meat & Noodles)
1 pound diced stew meat
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 can beef or chicken broth
1 cup red wine
4 bay leaves
1 tablespoon chopped garlic

Heat some oil in a Dutch oven, add the garlic and lightly toast. Add the meat and saute until brown. Add the tomatoes, red wine, broth and bay leaves and bake in a 300 degree oven for three hours. Cook a package of egg noodles according to directions. Pour up the noodles to drain, put half a stick of butter in the pan and let it melt. Return the noodles to the pan and coat with the melted butter. (Scream at your kids here to LEAVE THE NOODLES ALONE. Kids LOVE buttered noodles.) Arrange the noodles on an oval platter and pour the meat down the middle. Bread. A salad. A bottle of red wine. Fruit or cheese for dessert. Life is good.

I am not a wine snob. I like good wine, I like rich wine, I like liquid wine. I do NOT do sweet, but that's just me. There are a couple of "two buck chuck" wines available here...not the real thing but Oak Hill and Five Oaks make $3 wine that cooks just fine. So there. Also, had there been a package of mushrooms in the refrigerator? They'd have been in here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I came in here to post a beef-over-noodle super recipe for people who have kids. They (the kids) don't have a CLUE about the half-bottle of red wine that's in it. But now I have to go take a shower and run to the store because CityGirl has given me a REASON TO LIVE. Or at least, go buy mushrooms.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Leftover Night

Now that I'm cooking three meals a day, seven days a week (3/7?) we have a fridge FULL of leftovers.

And as tomorrow night is date night - and I KNOW Hubster will take me out for date night since he totally blew me off last Friday - this stuff needs to be eaten, post-haste.

So here's the dilemma: How to tie together roast pork, roast chicken, barley salad, biscuits and gravy, and fruit salad.

I guess I'll freeze the gravy and serve the biscuits... OOOO!!!! No! I'll put the pork on the biscuits for breakfast tomorrow with poached eggs...sort off Eggs Benedict, but more like Eggs Dumpster because their primary purpose is to use up leftovers. With the fruit. Brilliant.

So tonight, roast chicken, the barley - I could saute green beans in butter, shallots and thyme - to tie that mess together. Loving this idea.

This is like playing Door Knock Dinners. All by sad.....

Tomorrow afternoon's project: Pierogi assemby. This house has run dangerously low on Polish carbs.

Image Credit:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Filling the Lunch Pail

"Lunch meat is the protein of the devil."
- City Girl

If you follow us at Country Girl/City Girl, you know that instead of one full-time job with a full-time commute, I'm now working two part-time jobs...basically from home.

How wonderful it is to - and this sounds crazy - eat breakfast. Sitting down. At a table, not in the car. Tea and toast (and a fried egg, truth be told) have been elevated to "sit down meal" status!

Hub's only request when I signed on for this new odd work situation was that I put breakfast together for him in the morning and pack him a lunch. I can do that. I used to do that...a decade ago.

Apparently he has finally - thank you, sweet jeebus - reached The McDonald's Tolerance Threshold and is ready to begin eating real food during daylight hours.

So Saturday I scoured cooking websites and magazines (see Food and Wine post below) for cold lunch ideas, but didn't find anything I really liked, so I got ::cue the spooky music:: - creative.

First I roast (roasted?) a loin of pork for sandwiches, because:

I. Hate. Cold Cuts. Except for salami, lunch meat is the protein of the devil. Ugh. Gah. I can't even THINK about what they do to a perfectly good turkey breast to get it shaped like that.

Ahem. Sorry. Then I made a barley salad with toasted walnuts, feta and a vinaigrette - wasn't sure how that'd work out, but it is de-lish, hot or cold. (Recipe to follow if I can remember what I put in it).

Finally, I cut up a pineapple, half a dozen oranges, a quart of strawberries and mixed in a $5 thimble full of blueberries then dished the salad into individual containers.

And then I baked brownies.

Ya gotta balance all that good with something bad.

The result? A pretty kick-ass lunch menu, if I do say so myself. Today I added leftover asparagus and roast carrots to the barley. Vegetables. For lunch. Hubster's system might not be able to take it.

Oh, as for breakfast? Biscuits and gravy. Not exactly healthy, but at least I know what's in it, since I made it.

CityGirl's Half-Cheater Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies

1 Box of Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix (I used the Target store brand)
+ The Eggs, Water, Oil, etc. called for on the box

Random Butter

2 8 oz. Blocks of Cream Cheese, at room temp
1 Cup of Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 tsp. Vanilla
3 tsps. Lemon Juice (fresh, pleaseandthankyou)
1/2 tsp. Salt
4 Tblsps. All-purpose Flour

1/2 Cup Raspberry Jam

Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13 baking dish.

Preheat oven according to brownie box instructions.

Prepare brownie mix according to instructions on box for "cake-like" brownies, not "chewy" brownies. Spread brownie batter in prepared dish.

(This dessert, she is easy, no?)

Combine cream cheese and sugar - it would probably be best to use a mixer, but I just use a wooden spoon - add eggs and combine. Add vanilla and lemon - combine. Finally, add salt and flour - combine.

Spread cream cheese mixture on top of brownie batter in pan.

There is no benefit to being neat here, as a matter of fact, it is better if you let the two batters mix it up a bit.

Think Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

Lastly, dollop teaspoonfuls of jam in 1" increments on top of cheesecake/brownie goodness. It will melt and spread a bit when baked.

Throw the whole thing into the preheated oven and bake according to - what? - that's right: brownie box instructions plus 10 minutes. Check when the timer goes off.

If the middle of the mix jiggles when you shake it, pop it back into the oven for another 10 minutes. Check every 5-10 minutes after that.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Eggs - They're What's for Dinner

Usually when I'm thinking "eggs for dinner" I go for the old Neapolitan-American classic, Uova in Purgatorio.

But in this month's issue of Food and Wine - which I look forward to getting in the mail like a crack whore looks forward to getting her monthly government check...that is to say, anxiously - I found an article for Sherried Mushrooms with Fried Eggs on Toast.

So I made it last night, and it was goo-ood.

Slight CityGirl modification to the recipe: Used pre-sliced baby bellas and threw a handful of fresh-out-of-the-garden thyme into the mushroom mixture.

Made the eggs sunnyside-up rather than over medium, and the presentation was really lovely.

Hubster loves him some eggs, and really liked this dish. His only request was fewer mushrooms next time. (This does serve four, but I divided it between two. *I* can never get too many mushrooms).

PS - My apologies to Food & Wine for referencing your fine publication in context with crack whores...but it really is an accurate analogy!

Image Credit: Tina Rupp

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Moroccan Night

The Hubster and I were invited, a few years ago, to join a newly-organized Supper Club. It's just us, three other couples and occasionally a "wild-card" couple.

Every month we rotate hosting and when you host, your reward for spending three days super deep-cleaning your house for inspection by your friends is that you get to pick...The Theme.

Damn, but I love a theme.

So yesterday the party came to our house and The Theme was Moroccan.

Why Moroccan? Why not? I have two great Moroccan stew recipes that appear in the regular rotation at Chez City and every time I prepare one for Hub I think, "Damn, this would make a good Supper Club" entree. (One is chicken-based, one is vegetarian).

It is the perfect Company Dish: One pot, minimum investment, highly flavorful and served with couscous. I'd cook camel hump if the recipe called for it to be plated on a bed of couscous.

Everyone took the Moroccan theme to heart - it was amazing. The Appetizer Couple brought a whole pineapple studded with shrimp - the presentation was spectacular. Accompanying the fruit-and-prawn sculpture were three African-themed dipping sauces.

Salad Couple brought a carrot dish they found at Marrakesh, a restaurant in Philadelphia.

Dessert Couple were the stars of the night - rose petal ice cream. OMG. It was exotic, beautiful, the texture of frozen silk and so sweet and subtly flavored. Heaven.

All-in-all, an amazing meal.

I don't remember where I originally found this recipe, but I've tweaked it enough over the years that I feel pretty confident in calling it my own.

Moroccan Chicken Stew Serves 4-6, depending on the size of the thighs

12 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs - Rinsed and Patted Dry
1 Large Eggplant, Cubed
Kosher Salt
1 14 oz. Can Chickpeas, Rinsed
2 Large Onions, Sliced or Frenched
6 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Tbsp. Sweet Paprika
1 Tbsp. Hot Paprika
2 tsps. Turmeric
2 tsps. Coriander
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Ginger
1 tsp. Fennel Seeds, Toasted
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Tbsp. Kosher Salt
2 tsps. Marjoram
1/4 Cup Fresh Minced Parsley
1 28 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes in Sauce
1/2 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
Olive Oil, Preferably Spanish
1/2 Cup Blanched, Slivered Almonds - Toasted
Half of 1 Lemon

Cooked Couscous

Preheat Oven to 400, coat rimmed baking sheet with oil, toss eggplant with additional oil, spread eggplant on sheet and lightly salt. Bake for 10 minutes, stir, bake for an additional 15 minutes.

In your largest saute pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil, add onion and garlic, cover and cook until soft and translucent - about 15 minutes.

Add paprikas, turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel, ginger and salt and pepper. Cook until aromatic, 1-2 minutes.

Add undrained tomatoes, water and lemon juice, cover and bring to simmer.

Add chicken in one layer and cool on medium-low for 10 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for another 10 minutes.

Add baked eggplant, chickpeas, marjoram and parsley. Simmer for final 15 minutes.

Serve over couscous, top with almonds.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Evolution of a Cake

It's called That Damn Cake because of the year I made so many. Sixty-three, I think. Or four. But like so many things you do over and over, it has evolved. Through mistakes or ingredient shortages. And this version is, trite as it may seem, new and improved.

I actually made this for a friend (whose birthday party I missed) last week. Turns out? She gave up sweets for Lent. I will NEVER get used to these Catholics! (I actually thought they all quit drinking for Lent.)

Really the Best Strawberry Cake
1 Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Butter Recipe Golden cake mix
1 small box jello
2 whole eggs
4 egg whites
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 package frozen strawberries
1 box confectioners sugar
1 stick butter, room temp
3-4 ounces cream cheese, room temp
2 tablespoons cherry preserves

Dump frozen strawberries into a bowl and chop. Let thaw.Preheat oven to 325. In large mixing bowl combine cake mix, jello, oil, eggs, whites and one cup strawberries. Mix to combine and then beat for two minutes, scraping down sides. Grease (WELL!) and flour a tube pan. Bake cake for one hour. Remove from oven, let cool in pan for ten minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Cool completely.

While cake is baking, beat 1/2 cup strawberries, butter, cream cheese and confectioners sugar until light and fluffy. Refrigerate. Combine remaining strawberries with cherry preserves and set aside.

After cake has cooled, use a long serrated knife to slice it into two layers. Spoon strawberry/preserve mixture onto the bottom layer. Spoon dollops of icing over the strawberries and top with the second layer. Ice the entire cake and refrigerate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Red Beans & Rice

I have a friend who is in New Orleans today...Ash Wednesday...his (I think and at least) 40th Mardi Gras. For real. And one of the things we research and save is...the best recipe. For whatever dish or food or selection it is but, we want the best recipe.

(This is going to be really hard to post because Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, the real one with Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, is on. And these might be the two most beautiful people God ever put on this planet and it's hard not to watch them together.)

Red beans and rice is the dish of poor people in Louisiana, on Monday wash day. They took the leftover Sunday ham and put it in a pot with some red beans and let it cook all day, while they washed clothes in a cast iron pot over an open fire. True story.

So in keeping with the spirit of things...keep it simple. Good and simple.

Red Beans & Rice

1 bag red beans
1 large onion
Cooked ham...literally cut off the scraps from the bone, before you cook white beans w/it!
Garlic...I use chopped from a jar, a big scoop
2 bay leaves
Smoked sausage

One of the things I've realized with people who have...issues...with their food is that beans? Put 'em in the pan, cover them with water and bring them to a boil. Let sit for an hour and then DRAIN OFF THE WATER. That's where the digestion-dissenting things are. Recover with fresh water. Bring to a boil again and cook for an hour. Then...add the chopped onion and garlic, the ham and sausage (cut into your preferance of dice) and the bay leaves. Cook on really low heat, what you're doing here is melding flavors, and every now and then while the beans are simmering use a spoon to mash beans against the side of the pan.

When you have this lovely, thick, soupy mix...salt and pepper to taste and add Worcestershire.

Cook sticky rice. The Big Boy likes jasmine rice; rinse it, cook it and it comes out in sticky clumps. Put some in a bowl, spoon the red beans and rice over. Serve with french bread...RE THE ARTISAN BREAD I love!!!! and life doesn't get any better.

The "Other" Hot Reuben Dip

With all due respect to and admiration for those who came before me - this is THE best Hot Reuben Dip out there.

You could, if you wanted to but I'm not recommending you do if you have a weak heart, use it to top a baked potato and call it dinner.

This is my Hot Reuben Dip recipe - Dip Reuben a la City Girl, if you please.

I doubled it for our Superbowl party, served it with toasted cocktail rye bread and it vanished.

I'll never make another hot dip again. Sayonara, Spinach and Artichoke dip. Adios, Velveeta-Rotel Dip-o. (Yes, we actually eat that - it's football food - stop wincing).

Hot Reuben Dip
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Drained Sauerkraut
2 tbsps Worcestershire Sauce
1/4 cup Milk
1 cup+ Chopped Dried Corned Beef (I use a package of Buddig instead of the jar)

Loosely combine all ingredients in a bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes or until cream cheese softens. Stir to combine. Microwave another 2 minutes - 4 minutes until hot. Stir.

Mixture will appear thin, but it thickens as it cools.

Serve with toasted cocktail rye slices.

Serves 1 - 12 as an appetizer, entree or breakfast hangover remedy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Old Fashioned Bread Pudding...Fat Tuesday!

Several years ago...The Not Nice Kid was less than a year old...a couple of my best buds and I went to a wedding in Jackson, TN. The rehearsal dinner...which one of my friends was catering as a wedding gift...was held in an old building that used to be a library...and was round!! Lots of shiny old wood and tall windows and...a refrigerator with a wired-up shelf that when you sat 40 pounds of pasta salad on it? Collapsed. Different blog.

But one of the best ideas I've never had (again) is this bread pudding, which was a specialty of the mother of the groom. The secret? The one people do NOT believe when they try it? Hamburger buns. Nasty white soft spongy cheap hamburger buns. Cut into cubes with kitchen scissors. They make for a light and airy bread pudding which not only tastes great out of the oven but freezes well...that's why we had 19 of them in the back of the van on the way to the wedding. (This was the wedding where we went out for breakfast the next day and I lay in the back floorboard of the van until they found me a Taco Bell. I can't do that anymore.)

Sharon Raines Old-Fashioned Bread Pudding

2 cups milk, scalded
2 large eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package hamburger buns
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons bourbon

Lightly grease an 11x9 glass baking dish. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until butter is melted. Let cool. Mix sugar, salt and cinnamon together. Pour milk and butter into beaten eggs; add sugar mixture. With kitchen scissors, cut buns into cubes. Put bread cubes into a large bowl and pour liquid mixture over. Toss to moisten, but don't overdo! You'll get mush.

(You can always throw in extra things that make your family happy. I like a few toasted pecans. Dried cranberries are good, too...but that's because I don't like cooked raisins.)

Pour into baking dish, place that dish into another baking pan filled half full of water. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 mintues. Remove from hot water. Best served warm with Whiskey Sauce.

Whiskey Sauce: Melt one stick of butter, add two cups powdered sugar and bourbon. Mix until smooth and serve warm. (Sharon insisted on Jack Daniels and she would NOT forgive us, but I'm a bourbon person so that's what I use.)

If you freeze this, remove from the freezer and let thaw and then pour the Whiskey Sauce over it. Reheat.

Monday, February 16, 2009

I have a new best friend. Country Girl meets raclette.

I have NO idea why I know what raclette is. No clue. But the weekend I was in Bham I went to Whole Foods (yeah! cheer!) and there it was...a display of raclette. So my best bud Mary and I each bought a chunk. And came home.

This household runs on perpetual chaos so for whatever reason, we didn't eat it last week. I checked out the potential and while the computer stressed boiled potatos and pickles, I kept looking at that cheese. Got home Friday night and The Big Boy had eaten half of it, cold and salty and lovely to the tongue. Damn.

Tonight we made the artisan bread and IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN LISTENING, this needs to be one of the top five things you do every week. Then I took a small oval black cast iron skillet that I got in Texas to cook fajitas, took the bread out of the oven and put the raclette in and gave the bread five minutes to crust up and the cheese five minutes to melt down and...oh. Y'all. This is one of the five best things I ever had in life, including sex. This just ROCKED.

The Big Boy is on the road this week and you better believe he has been given instructions to be on the lookout for Whole Foods/gourmet shops/cheese places. Of any kind, but if you can find me a couple of blocks of raclette?

You gonna get real, real lucky.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SW's Hot Reuben Dip

This should NOT have been so good...but having said that, IT'S FAT AND SALT! How wrong can you go with this?

Had this at a birthday party Saturday night, at a house famous for its spreads, and this simple dip was the hit of the bar. It is SO good...and how easy is this?

Hot Reuben Dip

1 (18-ounce) can sauerkraut, rinsed/drained/patted dry
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
1 (8-ounce) package corned beef, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Spread misture in a 13x9 baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Serve with cocktail rye or baquette slices.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The closest to summer I can get right now...

And having said that, The Little Kids requested a repeat. Tonight.

The Big Boy picked up some fresh mozzarella somewhere. Sometime last week. And I've been sitting here rolling my eyes because, Hellloooo! We only do that in the SUMMERTIME. Dumbassss.

But since it was here and it needed to be used and I walked into the new Publix in Athens last week and they had potted herbs...we're on. I SHOULD have my own potted herbs but I don't, so I bought a pot of basil. And Cherry Berries which, in the winter-time in Alabama, are the only tomatoes worth eating.

So last night, we halved the Cherry Berries, large-diced the mozzarella, chiffonaded(?) the basil, and grated us some black pepper. A pinch, or two, of kosher salt which reminds me I need to buy more, a spritz or five of Ricatoni's olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar.

The Big Boy didn't even eat the lasagna because he gorged on the salad. The Little Kids ate their designated helpings and then ate what was left in the bowl. I need to go take a shower so I can buy more mozzarella before I pick up from school. We're doing this again tonight.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

German food for now

Get thee over to Slashfood and check out the spectacular article on German food for the times. My grandmother used to make kraut, but I'm pretty sure insane amounts of vinegar were used...this article talks about simple kraut you can do at home for fun. There's also a recipe on pickled mushrooms and that sounds like a REALLY good thing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Obama-Rama

It has been mentioned that I'm missing the shopping gene. I'm also missing a sweet tooth. Neither of these, I have discovered, is required for a happy life.

Another thing I don't do is mixed drinks. Probably because 99% of the time, it comes back to that "sweet" thing. This weekend, I had a lovely brunch with the ladies in Birmingham, and one of them ordered this drink.

Turns out, the NYT had run the recipe in an article. The Pink Door (must) be a restaurant in D.C., and this drink has become a national fad. The problem was, at brunch, that the drink calls for a specific vodka...Crater Lake, a handcrafted vodka from Oregon...of which I have never heard. Neither had the bartender. And then there was the fresh-squeezed grape juice thing (I got tickled and swallowed the wrong way picturing a grape juicer...wonder if it gets lost in the drawer like my lemon juicer?) and...something else.

At this point, the waiter goes to the bar and gets a bartender who shows up with pencil and paper. And we go through the entire spiel. Again.

HOWEVER. The four ladies who ordered this liked it so much...they ordered it again. To much acclaim.

I had a bourbon and water. Gratefully.

The Obama-Rama

2 ounces vodka

2 ounces freshly pressed grape juice or bottled white grape juice

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice

Dash of blue Curacao

Sugar, for frosting the glass

To frost the glass, spread sugar in a saucer and wet rim of glass with a lemon slice. Dip rim into sugar, rotating so that sugar adheres evenly. This is best done in advance, to allow the sugar time to crystallize.

Combine ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice, shake and strain into the prepared glass.
That's a grape in the bottom of the empty glass.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chicken and Sausage, ala New Orleans knockoffs

The lady across the street made this Thursday, and since there are only two of them she sent the extra over here. I don't know WHAT makes this super-simple recipe so good...but it is lovely. We cooked a loaf of the artisan bread and made a salad with smoky bacon bits...lovely. Just luhvly.

Ms Jean's Chicken & Sausage Jambalaya




Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Creamy Mac 'n Cheese

I confess...I like the stuff in the blue box. Happy-time comfort food...courtesy of Kraft. I'm in. However, New Year's Day I had a baked mac 'n cheese that was honestly was creamy. People always SAY their M&C is creamy but it's NOT. It's dry and tough and has too much pasta. This stuff, on the other hand, was so good that I had to get the recipe for The Not Nice Kid, who had more than one serving.

Mary's Creamy Mac 'n Cheese
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups milk
2 10-oz blocks sharp Cheddar, shredded and divided
1 10-oz block extra-sharp Cheddar, shredded
16 ounces corkscrew pasta, cooked al dente

Melt butter, whisk in flour until smooth and cook for two minutes, whisking constantly. Stir in salt, peppers and garlic. Gradually whisk in half-and-half and milk and cook, whisking constantly, 8-10 minutes or until thickened. Stir in half of sharp Cheddar. Stir in extra-sharp Cheddar and mix until smooth. Remove from heat. Combine pasta and cheese and pour into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining Cheddar. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. (Instead of the granulated garlic, I mixed a clove of roasted garlic, mashed to a paste, in with the cheese sauce. Yum-yum.) When I protested that cheese doesn't COME in 10-oz blocks but in EIGHT ounce blocks it was pointed out that KRAFT comes in 10-oz blocks. So I'm guessing this started out as a Kraft recipe. is REALLY good.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Cheese Straws

I've probably already done this but you need to hear it again. Because Cheese Straws are really important in the Grand Scheme of Things. And in TGSofT, you need to get it right.

Center Star/Neiman Marcus Cheese Straws
(Those are NOT mutually exclusive terms.)

1 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
2 sticks butter, room temp
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Cayenne pepper
3 cups all-purpose flour

Buy your cheese in blocks and grate it. Do NOT buy grated cheese in bags; I don't think that stuff is really cheese. It's easiest to grate the cheese cold into the bowl, and then let it come to room temperature. Add the butter, salt, baking powder and cayenne. For public consumption, I use one teaspoon cayenne; for The Inmates here, I use a tablespoon. Mix all this together with your dough hooks until well blended. Add three cups flour (don't use King Arthur or other high gluten flour...White Lily or another soft Southern winter wheat is best) and mix with the dough hooks JUST until the mixture starts to lose its crumbly texture. You need a cookie press, with a star extractor disk...usually there are two star disks and you'll need the larger one. Pack the cheese dough into the cookie press and pipe long straws onto ungreased cookie should have two large baking sheets of straws. Have oven racks in the two center positions in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Swap the sheets, moving the top to the bottom and the bottom sheet to the top rack, and bake an additional ten minutes. Swap sheets again and bake five minutes, or until just beginning to lightly brown...usually on the bottom. Remove from the oven and cut across the pan, forming roughly three-inch straws. Lift onto cooling racks and let cool completely. Store (if they last long enough) in a paper bag or loosely covered container.

My friend, Bobby, makes wonderful cheese straws and he has a suggestion. He uses one stick butter and one stick margarine...preferably that "baking" margarine they came out with last year. If you are making cheese straws and the dough gets warm, the cheese straws will spread. So either make sure the dough is cool, or use half butter and half margarine.