“You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money, and your time in cheese.”
The first feeling that came over me when I realized I was going to be making cheese straws was not an enjoyable sensation. In fact, I was sick to my stomach.
Last time I intended on making cheese sticks, they consisted of Velveeta and pre-made crescent dough, both of which were two items I had never purchased in my life. Not only was the recipe a complete failure, but I realized at that moment in time that I would never be ingesting velveeta or pre-made crescent dough again. Wondering why? Long story short: Lots of undercooked dough, lots of (burnt) fried cheese. Lots of grease. Sensitive stomach. Lots of mess to clean up.
So let’s keep our fingers crossed that this recipe works out and tastes a little better, eh?
I started off this here challenge episode by preparing the ingredients.. Unlike any other recipe I will be doing during this challenge, I also filmed this for my youtube channel. It ironically coincides with a series that I just recently created, so I thought that I might as well add it there too! First ingredient to prep was the cheese. The recipe doesn’t explain how exactly to prepare the cheese, so I thought that shredding it would be the easiest way to mix it with the other ingredients.
Can we just talk about the giant cheese mountain that I have here?
Also, little side note. I went to an artisan cheese shop to get my cheese, which turned out to be incredibly expensive, but incredibly worth it. I didn’t have the full amount for the recipe from the chunk of Quebec that I bought, so I substituted the rest with a family favourite, Old Croc Extra Sharp Cheddar. It’s all natural, non GMO, and an incredible price for such an outstanding cut of cheese. (Is that how you say it? “Cut of cheese”? The way you would say cut of meat? I’m hoping a cheesemonger is reading this so they can answer my question!)
Even so, you can really taste a difference between the Quebec vs the Old Crock. The Quebec is all, “Hello, I’m a deep sharp cheddar and I’m super expensive and high quality so you should buy me” while Old Croc is in your face like “BAM! LOOK AT ME! I’M A SUPER SHARP CHEDDAR! EAT ME UP!” Both are so fantastic for different reasons.
Anyways, onto the process.
After combining all of the ingredients together, I was left with a very sandy dough. I was confused, but went with it and created my first batch of cheese straws. It was incredibly time consuming because the dough kept falling apart in my hands. After about ten minutes of attempting to roll the dough, I realized that I had to really warm the dough in my hands in order for it to form together. I also learned that rolling it out like a snake was not going to work either because, even after warming it, it kept falling apart. Even so, I continued on to attempt to make cheese straws. After about 45 minutes of struggling, I had completed my first tray of straws. Into the oven they went!
Once I pulled them out of the oven, I learned I had made yet another mistake.
I made these way too big. Insanely big. Big enough that they were falling apart when I tried to put them on the cooling rack, and big enough that they weren’t able to get crispy the way they should have.
Luckily I learned my lesson, and worked hard to make smaller sizes. Although it was downright time consuming (I kid you not… took me another hour to get the rest done) I finally, finished, and was left with a lovely end product!
The taste is spectacular. Picture Cheez-it crackers but a little thicker, crumblier, and with a truer “cheese” flavour. There’s even a kick from the red pepper flakes, which I highly enjoyed.
Of the two recipes so far, this one was unquestionably more difficult, but it was a unique experience nonetheless! Maybe I’ll try making this recipe again. Who knows?
Onto the pricing–
Chili Flakes: .05
Baking Powder: .03
We have to remember that I purchased cheese that was $20.92. This isn’t something I would do regularly. Had I just bought Old Croc, the total would have been $10.52. Big price difference! This was not my favourite recipe due to the amount of time I had to put into making it, but I know I’ll be making something similar again when I have guests over.
There’s something else that I’m going to be adding on to the end of each blog post. At the end of Colgan’s book, she has a “Reading Group Guide” section. Here, there are six questions. Being that I have six recipes left, I thought that I would answer one question per post. That way, you can learn a little more about me while we make this journey through the book!
The question: Was there ever a time in your life when you felt as Polly did- that it was time to pack up and try something completely different? How did that turn out for you?
Here’s a little secret. Within the past six months, I’ve felt the need to pack up and start a new at least four times. The latest hit me one day at work: I was steaming milk for a drink, my boss came up to me and explained the music was too “clubby” (Parov Stelar: AMAZE-BALLS and we actually get many compliments because it brings together class swing music with a hip new beat, but I digress…) for the coffee house. That’s when it last hit me: Why am I still doing this? I’ve been doing this for five years and I’m not learning anything anymore. I’m just doing.
On top of that, I was realizing how busy my summer schedule was going to become, especially with my goal to be more devoted to my blog, and realized that I was going to be putting in a lot of requests for time off. I didn’t think it would be fair for the store to have to work around my schedule…
Alas, after discussing with the managers and owners, we worked out a schedule. So no, I did not leave everything and start a new, but that moment was still important for me.
It made me realize what I prioritize in my current state. Because I’ve been so devoted to being at work or being at school, I’ve missed out on a lot. I haven’t been able to put my heart into my blog, I haven’t been able to put as much energy into my youtube videos, and I haven’t made progress towards my ultimate goal, that being to own my own business. That being said, I decided to make a change.
As I gave my new, updated schedule to the owners, I ensured that there was time for me to devote more time to A Healthy Wonderland. That is something completely different to what I’m used to. I’m actually able to schedule specific times to sit down and work on my blog, or edit videos, or plan routines out. This is not as intense a change as Polly went through, but it’s a big change for me to actually have time to do what it is I love most. So far? It seems to be working pretty well.