Friday, August 29, 2008

Cheese straws

Oh dear. First recipe and already in trouble.

This is a simple recipe for an appetiser. Puff pastry baked with paprika and cheese. Mr. Peterson indicates that bought puff pastry is fine- so I unearthed the elderly box of all-butter puff pastry from Trader Joes. I then stared at it for several minutes worrying about butter rancidity after long term freezer storage. Then I shrugged and started anyway.

The puff pastry needed 10 minutes to defrost. I did this leaving it just lying on the granite tiled countertop. It sweated like buggery. Then rolling it out to the correct dimensions was a pain, largely due to its wetness (can I also moan about the tiled surface?). When it looked right-enough to claim I thought it was right (if you follow) I happily scattered my grated Gran Padano and paprika over it, folded it over and miserably failed to roll it out to the same shape, shrugged and put it in the freezer to stiffen for 10 minutes.

After those 10 minutes I realised I had forgotten that the cheese and paprika were meant to go on AFTER an egg glaze. So, tried to fix things by giving an egg wash when the pastry came out of the freezer. This of course mean't it was no longer stiff when I tried to cut it into strips and make those strips into spirals. Anyway, did a few and put them back in the freezer as instructed. this will have to be a "test run" methinks.

You know after 10 minutes in the oven they were not so bad. A little "rustic" looking, but I would say the amount of paprika was about right, if a little more cheese might have been nice. As it was I used about half of what the recipe called for, along with my single sheet of TJ puff pastry (Mr. Peterson was vague about how much puff pastry to use).

I am not so annoyed with this attempt, now. I would like to do it one more time with more care about the glaze step and keeping the pastry cold and stiff.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Getting Started

As we say in Dorkland "A beginning is a most delicate time". On the other hand a paralysis of indecision is not an impressive state either. Bottom line, I have a tonne of cookbooks and have not up to now had the discipline to actually work seriously on either my cooking skills or on my repertoire of recipes. To cut through my perennial "where should I start" and "what is the BEST way to learn" I have found a book that has been well received as a teaching aid to home cooking (this would be "Cooking" by James Peterson), bought it and now I am simply going to start following the recipes and writing up my results here. Maybe this will help my photography skills as well! Now, if we are all sitting comfortably, let us begin......