cheese, glorious cheese!
What would life be without the creamy, gooey deliciousness of cheese?
A ho-hum, dud of a day, that’s what! Grilled cheese sandwiches would be “just toast.” Macaroni and cheese would be macaroni without the sunshine [ insert sad face here ]. Pizza and lasagna? I shutter to think what the absence of mozzarella and ricotta would mean to these dishes!
Just thinking about cheese makes me want to strap on some dancing shoes, grab a top hat, and bust out a few bars and moves to this all-time favorite jingle that would light up eyes and the commercial breaks between television shows of the 1980s:
So the magic ingredient of these crackers is none other than CHEESE! I hope you enjoy this crispy, crunchy, cheddary treat that will brighten any gathering.
❤ I experimented with forming 1″ balls with my cookie dough scoop and the crackers were large and great. I realized I was blazing through the dough and reduced the size a bit by using a heaping ½ tablespoon of the dough. The end result was more of a bite-sized cracker, which means the more you can make, the more you can eat!
❤ Don’t be afraid to add the cayenne; it adds a subtle warm note to the cracker and makes everything seem all the better.
1 ½ cups | flour, sifted
½ teaspoon | salt
1 tablespoon | fresh chives, chopped
½ teaspoon | red pepper (a.k.a. cayenne pepper)
½ cup | room temperature unsalted butter (my Grandmother insisted on falfurrias brand butter)
½ pounds (~2 cups) | sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and at room temperature
ii. what to do
1. Measure then sift the flour into a medium-sized bowl. Add the salt, chives and cayenne.
2. In a mixing bowl cream the butter and the cheese. Add the flour mixture and mix everything well. The mixture will be coarse and grainy but should stick together in step 4 (below).
3. About this time preheat your oven to 350F.
5. Place your cookies into the oven for 12-15 minutes – do not burn!
Yields up to 5 dozen crackers, depending on the size of the cracker.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
When the Kiker-Sutton family had a special event to celebrate, the entire family went to La Louisiane (aka “La Lou”).
La Lou was certainly tops of the “frou frou” with white cloth covered tables, elaborate place settings and a fine dining menu, including favored treats like Steak Diane.
During the La Lou meal, my cousins and I would snort-laugh (in that order) as we tried to secretly place empty cracker wrappers underneath plates only to find that the wait staff’s magically darting eyes were too quick to pick them up and discard them. Butter arrived pre-sliced and placed on your personal butter dish by the waiters who had a butter-flicking device I’ve never seen since!
La Lou opened in 1935 during the Great Depression. It survived for almost 60 years but sadly is no longer around. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have La Lou grace our kitchen compliments of this recipe from Mom’s recipe book.
I made this recipe on the 2 year anniversary of this blog. This recipe and the blog hold a special place in my heart … and most importantly my belly. Give Steak Diane a try and you’ll see!
Let’s Get Cookin’
4 | sirloin strip steaks, ½” thick
to taste | salt
to taste | black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon | dry mustard
4 tablespoons | Falfurrias brand butter (per Nanny)
3 tablespoons | lemon juice
2 teaspoons | chives, snipped
1 teaspoon | worcestershire sauce
to garnish | mushrooms, cooked and fluted
1. With a meat mallet, pound steaks to 1/3-inch thickness.
2. Sprinkle one side of each steak with salt, pepper and 1/8 teaspoon of the dry mustard; pound into meat. Repeat on the other side of the meat and continue until all steaks are done.
3. Melt the butter in a skillet or chafing dish. Add the meat and cook 2 minutes only on each side. Transfer the steaks to a hot serving plate.
4. To skillet, add the lemon juice, chives, and worcestershire sauce; bring to a boil. Pour sauce over meat. Garnish with cooked, fluted mushrooms, if desired.
foodie tips ~
♥ Don’t overcook the meat. Go with the flow and follow the directions. A pink center is a tasty center.
♥ “Fluting a mushroom?” At first I thought it meant you held a jam session with mushroom to mouth, while wiggling the fingers. Not so much. Here’s a video and a blog that will help you turn mere fungus to life of the party. I couldn’t determine if you cook the mushrooms before or after fluting (per recipe) but they are really more for decoration so I’d suggest keep them raw and real and basting with lemon juice after cutting for a fresh presentation.
♥ This steak goes great with my newest favorite spud ~ the blue cheese bacon potato! I loved how the blue cheese taste didn’t punch you in the taste buds!
♥ Wiki says that Steak Diane is typically made with brandy. Somebody’s been holding out!
♥ Note that this recipe hails from Better Homes and Gardens, March 1968. Why, I was just a young tot of one way back then!
A Desperado For Avocado
This recipe held first position in the soups section of mom’s index card file, so undoubtedly it was a favorite. This was the first of mom’s recipes that I made, since I can’t locate the calabacita recipe just yet.
I don’t remember eating any avocados as a child. And despite my mom’s great culinary skills, I remember one night when a pairing of split pea soup and liver arrived in front of me at dinner, which almost ruined my love of green-colored foods (I’ve never liked liver). Hah! Regardless, now in my 40s, I’m a huge fan of avocados, so let’s eat up some avocado soup!
Wait! You didn’t think I’d jump right into the recipe makings without sharing my favorite avocado-inspired commercial with you. Whelp – here you go!
Foodie Tip ~
♥ I couldn’t find “madrilène” – canned or otherwise… even online – so I’m including extra info below for a recipe I found for making the consommé from scratch.
Overall, the avocado soup recipe would be much faster to make if canned madrilène was available. I’ll keep my eyes out for it and post an update here, if I ever find it. I wrote to Pepperidge Farm and they wrote me back saying they no longer made madrilène but I’m including a picture of it (below) that I found online.
i. soup ingredients
1 ½ | avocados
1 pint (2 cups) | sour cream
1 | chicken bouillon cube
10 ounces | water
1 can | madrilène (a tomato-flavored consommé. see recipe below)
to taste | cayenne pepper
to taste | salt
ii. what to do
1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend, until smooth. That’s it! Well, almost…
2. Since you may have trouble finding madrilène, below are the tidbits for how to make it.
6 | large tomatoes, peeled*, cored and diced
2 | green bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered
1 | leek, trimmed and cut into chunks
4 | egg whites, lightly beaten
8 cups | chicken stock
to taste | salt & pepper
1 | small bunch chives, chopped
2 oz | pimiento, chopped
Foodie Tip ~
♥ For an easy way to remove the tomato peel, boil the tomatoes in water one-at-a-time for 1 minute. Remove tomato and plunge it in a cold water bath. Cut the tomato in ½ and you should be able to easily remove the peel. A presto!
madrilène : what to dos
1. In a large saucepan, add ⅔ of the tomatoes and the green peppers, leek and egg whites. Mix well.
2. Add chicken stock and season to taste with salt & pepper.
3. Place pan over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a boil, 5-10 minutes.
4. Strain the mixture through a sieve or strainer lined with cheesecloth or a linen towel.
5. Discard vegetables and refrigerate consomme until serving time.
6. Just before serving, mix the remaining ⅓ of the diced tomatoes with the chives and pimiento. You now have a garnish for the soup!
* To enjoy the consomme as “full-on” consommé ~ Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of the tomato mixture in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour chilled consommé over the pimiento mixture and serve at once. The consommé Madrilène should be thick and syrupy, but not “set.”
** To use part of the consommé in Betty’s Avocado Soup recipe (above) ~ Add 1 ½ cups of the consommé into the blender along with a dash of diced tomatoes, chives and pimiento and blend away. You can garnish with more of the tomato mixture (shown above).