Cheddah Chive Sticks: A New England Version of a Southern Snack.

I enjoy a good food blog now and then. I really enjoy reading how someone tweaked a recipe and made it their own, what their challenges were in cooking a dish and,of course, drooling over the beautifully photographed results.  So when I’m on the lookout for something different and delicious, I usually turn to my fellow bloggers for inspiration.

Cheese Straws & BrewAnd I was looking for something tasty this week when I stumbled upon an old post for Cheese Straws on the Smitten Kitchen. A crunchy cheesy snack was just the thing that has been missing in the cupboards since we stopped buying prepackaged junk food.

I made this recipe twice this week and tweaked it a bit for the final version that went with us to a family gathering. They got rave reviews, especially when paired with the beers we brought. Alas, the cheese straws are not  filled with local ingredients *this time*. But we have plans to make them again with local cheese and garden grown herbs. Til then, we’ll enjoy them with some of that awesome local beer from Wormtown Brewery.

Cheddah Chive Sticks

3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon(or more if you want it spicier) ground cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 3 pieces
1 tablespoon dried chives
1 tablespoon sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F.2. In a food processor, combine the first 5 ingredients and pulse until mixed. Then add the cheese and butter and pulse at 5-second intervals  until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the sour cream and chives and process until the dough forms a ball, about 10 seconds

On a lightly floured surface,  roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. With a pizza cutter, cut the dough into thin strips, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide and about 8 inches long. Transfer the strips to an ungreased cookie sheet, spacing them about 1/4 inch apart.

Bake the straws on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly brown.   Remove from the oven and set the cookie sheet on a rack to cool. Serve at room temperature with a glass of your favorite beverage. We served these with Wormtown’s  Scotch Ale and Wintah Ale.  Enjoy!

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March Share – In like a Lamb.

Tuesday  was the pickup for our meat CSA. Each month’s share  is like getting a surprise gift when we open the cooler.  When we get a very special cut of meat there  are even high fives or cheering. Yes we love our decision to switch to local grown meat. This month’s 10lb share included: a chicken breast and chicken legs, maple cured ham steak ends, ground beef and high-five worthy lamb shoulder chops.

We are a pro at using the chicken pieces and ground beef, as these are included in almost every month’s share and are very versatile. I’m sure the ham steak ends will find their way into some creative dishes, perhaps  a split pea soup, pasta dish and/or an omelet or breakfast wrap.  It will take some research to find the perfect recipe for the lamb though.

This week has been a soup week. We are finishing a middle eastern inspired beef stew that john made and some tasty dad-made soups that my parents brought on their last visit.

Last night I made cheese straws for the first time. They are a delicious southern treat that remind John of “cheezits, but better”.  I plan to tweak the recipe some more next time around and will post the results another day. So far March is shaping up to be a great month for dining in.

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Asian Pork Meatballs

Its one of those easy going Saturdays here. We slept in, had a late big breakfast (homemade pancakes with a side of spicy Italian sausage) and relaxed for most of the day. So when it was time for dinner, I was looking for something simple with a lot of flavor. Asian Pork Meatballs fit the bill. This recipe used some of the ground pork that was in one of our recent meat pickups from Chestnut Farms and other ingredients we had on hand: some frozen vegetables, ramen noodles, and bottled Chinese spare-rib sauce.  And it turned out to be a great dining-in version of Chinese takeout that took almost as little effort as it does to call in the order. We even had some leftover meatballs that could be used to make a wrap sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch!

2/3 cups ground pork
1/2 cup panko or unseasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup of bottled chinese spare-rib sauce
1 package of ramen noodles
1/4 cup of organic chicken broth
1 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups of  broccoli and cauliflower florets

In a small bowl, mix ground pork with panko mix in 1 tablespoon of the spare-rib sauce and the egg. Form into small meatballs and place in  foil lined baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and brush with remaining sauce. Put back in oven for another 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Add ramen noodles and vegetables and cook for 3 minutes. Drain mixture. Add 1/4 cup of organic chicken broth and soy sauce.  Divide the meatballs and noodle mixture between 2 plates and serve.


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