Two of the things I miss the most about living in the South are Volunteer football and my hetero lifemate Livia. This weekend also happens to be University of Tennessee Homecoming, so I’m here with a little of both–her recipe for cheese straws, and the family formula for apple joujous, staple of the finest tailgates.
Things You Will Need:
4 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese (shredded); you can get away with as little as 2 cups, but let’s be real.
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 stick butter
1 tsp Salt
1/3 tsp Red Pepper (that’s the amount called for in the recipe; I used somewhere between 1/3 tsp and whatever’s in that bowl above)
Hot Sauce (I have a genetic weakness for the substance pictured above, but you can use whatever rocks you back.)
*This will be a lot easier if you let the cheese and butter sit out until they’re room temperature.
One more shot of that cheese pile (know your audience!):
Things You Must Do:
Set the oven to 300. Get out your handy food processor (or Magic Bullet, if available–and if not, WHAT ARE YOU DOING LIVING WITHOUT THE MAGIC BULLET WERE YOU BORN IN A BARN).
Mix your dry stuff together, just like Momma always harped. (That’s your flour, salt, and pepper.)
Toss in the butter, cheese and flour. Depending on how fast your FP operates, it should take between 5 and 10 minutes to form a smooth, thoroughly mixed dough.
While it’s whirring away, go ahead and flour your cutting board.
Check out your dough. (Resist the temptation to make a cheese snowman.) Taste a little piece to make sure the flour has incorporated well; you can also add a little more cayenne here, if that’s to your taste (I like mine hotter than Appalachian State).
To review: That is FOUR CUPS OF CHEESE. Roll it out to the desired thickness (usually about an inch).
Do you have a cookie press? If that’s the case, cut out your straws. If not, get a pizza cutter (by far more effective than a knife when working with cheese dough) and slice into desired size.
Traditionally, these are a lot skinnier than what we usually make, but we are of the firm opinion that when it comes to cheese, it’s perfectly acceptable to be a size queen.
Sprinkle on your hot sauce. Again, important to know your audience–the considerate hostess gauges whether her guests can handle the kick. (Then add a little more.)
Dependent on size, bake for 10-15 minutes; when the bottom is lightly browned and they look biscuit-y, they’re done.
To the cocktails!
Things You Will Need*:
2 oz. Apple Schnapps (not not NOT sour apple; that Pucker substance is an abomination)
2 oz. Southern Comfort
1/2 c. Lemonade
*IMPORTANT PROGRAMMING NOTE: Make sure you’re not already a cool 97 sheets to the wind when mixing drinks for posterity purposes. You will forget to photograph the bottles; your guests will spirit them away (see what I did there?) for recycling, and you will be left to Photoshop your ingredients together.That said, these are the Actual Drinks, Actually (usually garnished with an orange curl, but tailgating is war, son…when you’re making a punchbowl full, no time for fripperies). Combine over ice and you’re off to the races. They should look like pale cider once they’re done; opacity will depend on your brand of schnapps:
Reasons to love Apple Joujous:
- The similarity of “joujou” to “juju”, a concept intimately familiar to talisman-obsessed football fans. (We have been known to refer to these drinks as Apple Jujus with the game on the line.)
- Acceptable drink for fall tailgating OR spring/summer picknicking
- Packs a serious punch to your BAC.
New Snack! 3 Musketeers Mint Minis
Consensus: Delectable! Low in fat (for a candy bar); tastes like a fluffy peppermint patty but maybe won’t kill you quiiiiiiite as fast.
A word of caution: These suckers go fast. Utilize your trusty velociraptor robot to guard your stash.
And that’ll do it for me this week. Tune in next Friday for the comedic and culinary stylings of Cousin J-Money.