The Playa Vista Cooking School is my newest creation, a good example of taking a risk when an idea strikes you. Website, check. Marketing, check. Menu and plan, check. Butts in seats? CHECK. Our inaugural class, Easy, Elegant Appetizers had 8 enthusiastic cooks (Larry was one of the warm bodies, LOL). Start with a glass of wine and a deviled egg, then jump into cooking!
These straws are fun to prepare with friends. They take a little time, but are EASY, thanks to frozen puff pastry dough. Definitely ELEGANT – flaky, light, with a kicky cayenne cheese topping.
A little Patti “Risk Taking Life Lesson” story… Early in my career, I was a foodservice sales rep for Campbell Soup, which owns Pepperidge Farm. The company STILL MAKES MONEY on me… back then, Campbell foodservice and retail reps were NOT allowed to cross into each others’ sales turf. Yet, it struck me that supermarket in-store bakeries obviously used prepared foodservice products. So, I talked with my boss, ultimate Risk Taker Mike Wyatt, who said (cue the heavy Oklahoma cowboy accent): “You cain’t be successful if you don’t get yourself into trouble and then out of it before anybody notices.” So, without letting our retail guys know, I pitched Ralphs, sold in a supply of frozen Pepperidge Farm apple turnovers to bake in-store. 30+ years later, you still see them at Ralphs (see photo way at bottom). I won a national award, it’s still on my desk. You’re welcome, Pepperidge Farm.
Enough about me… give these Cheese Straws a try, they aren’t a big risk but they certainly come with a good story.
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigianino-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup finely grated Gruyere cheese
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
- 1 pound store-bought puff pastry
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
In a small bowl, mix together the cheeses, cayenne pepper and poppy seeds.
Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese mixture onto your work surface and spread thinly. Top with a sheet of puff pastry and then top with another quarter of the cheese, spread evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll lightly but enough to press the mixture into the pastry. Using a pastry cutter, cut ¾ inch thick strips the long way of the rectangle. Grab each end of a strip and quickly twist in opposite directions to create a “twirl” effect. Arrange 1 ½ inches apart on baking sheet.
Place baking sheets into refrigerator to chill about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place chilled baking sheets into oven and bake until golden and puffed, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Makes 30 to 45 or so straws, depending upon the width of your slices.