Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cheese Straws with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

So I am now back to taking out an insane number of cookbooks from the library every few weeks. It's a great way to browse through a cookbook, write down a few recipes if desired, or even decide to purchase one if I like it enough. Since I love menus and planning events, I added Celebrations 101 by Rick Rodgers to my bag right away. This book is great - he gives a compehensive menu (including shopping list!) for every major holiday of the year. I love to see dishes put together in a complete meal and, unlike some other cookbooks I have read, would actually eat most, if not all, of these dishes.
I picked out this recipe from the book to bring as an appetizer for my sister-in-law's birthday dinner (I halved the recipe below and only got 16 straws with the way that I cut). I was a little nervous to work with puff pastry in this way, but with a little patience and some counter space it was actually pretty easy. This looks to be pretty versatile as well, as I can imagine almost any crumbled cheese would be delicious here. Enjoy!

Cheese Straws with Feta and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Makes 40 straws
1 (17.25-ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
1 large egg white, beaten until foamy
2 cups (8 ounces) well-crumbled, flavored feta cheese (sun-dried tomato and basil is best)

Position your racks in the oven in the center and top third and preheat to 375 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick foil.

Unfold one pastry dough sheet on a lightly floured work surface (a clean counter or a large cutting board). Refrigerate the remaining sheet. Lightly dust the sheet you are working on with flour and roll into a 14x10 inch rectangle. Brush lightly but thoroughly with egg white. Cut the dough in half to make two 10x7 inch rectangles.

Sprinkle half of the crumbled feta evenly over one of the rectangles. Top with the second rectangle, egg-white side down. You are basically making a sandwich with the feta in the middle and the two egg-white sides facing inwards. Lightly roll the pin over the dough to press the cheese into both sides of the dough, or you can lightly press with your hands if need be.

Starting on a long side, cut the dough into 20 1/2-inch wide strips. (As you can see by my commentary above, I only got 16 strips out of half the dough. I also did not measure, but just eyeballed it by continually cutting in half.) Twist the strips into spirals and place 1/2-inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Press the ends of each strip into the pan to prevent untwisting during baking.

Repeat with the remaining dough, egg white and cheese. Freeze the baking sheets for 10 minutes.

Bake, 20-25 minutes until straws are lightly browned; switching the sheets on the oven racks half way through baking time. Let cool about 1 minute on the sheets, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

These can be made up to one day ahead. Once cooled completely, store in an airtight container. When ready to serve, reheat and crisp at 350 degrees F for about 5 minutes.


bety said...

The perfect appetizer :)

Chef Jay said...

Wow, the best match for my barbecue rib recipes . Thank you for sharing! :)