Monday, July 4, 2011

cheez-its (the hillbilly way)

Brother Measa has a cheez-its addiction and a few days back I mentioned that there was a recipe for them online. Needless to say, we had to try and make them yesterday.

Since we did not want to fire up the oven to bake them we tried to half bake them like I do everything else on the top of the out door stove. They sucked to put it bluntly! Since we had only used half of the dough for the first batch we had enough for a second attempt at cooking them and we decided to deep fry those bad boys instead. They came out much better than the first method as they were light, airy and crispy.

Yes, yes, I know, how dare we do that to a wonderful snack! But, it ain't like they are exactly a healthy snack to begin with so we did not see the big deal in doing what we did. Besides, we all know everything is better deep fried!

We started with the following recipe but if deep frying I see no need to add the butter to the recipe as it is simply a waste of money and it makes the dough rather difficult to roll out.
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 (8-ounce) bag grated extra-sharp 2% reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
5 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour, butter, cheese, salt, and cayenne in bowl.Add water tablespoon at a time, until dough comes together (You may not use all the water).Wrap dough in plastic wrap, press into a disc, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight. Preheat oven to 350º. Coat working surface with flour (original recipe said to use parchment paper, it was a disaster!) Roll to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 2-inch squares. Carefully transfer squares onto baking sheets (or deep fryer). Bake for 20-25 minutes turning once. If deep frying, they take about a minute to cook).

We decided that a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on the finished crackers would make a very tasty addition to them and if one did not want to add the cheese to the recipe at all it would cut the cost down on making them and make them a much more versatile cracker all the way around. You could add a touch of cinnamon to the dough then shake in sugar after frying, add popcorn seasoning to them or ranch dressing mix to them. The options are nearly endless.

Remember, these crackers have no preservatives in them so they will not keep like store bought and should be eaten within a couple days, not that I think they would last more than a few hours in a typical household. Store in an airtight container. If crackers are soggy after storing, re-crisp them in a preheated 400º oven for 3 to 5 minutes.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

hillbilly lounge chair

We had seen a video for making these simple chairs a while back. After our store bought chair crapped out the other day, manthing decided he needed to make one. It is really simple to make and slap together and is very comfortable.

To make it all you need is four sticks. Three of which need to be about your height. The fourth needs to be long enough to fit your butt and lay across the tripod that is made from the three longer ones. Tie the three long ones in a simple tripod and then add the fabric seat.The video we saw used material or a burlap bag to make the cushion but manthing is a tall feller so a bag would not quite cut it. Instead he used an old tarp that he cut down to the width needed and then folded it in half over the butt rest stick. and then tied it at the top. That is it, you are finished and you have a very comfy camp chair without having to lug a chair through the woods. Instead all you take with you is the piece of fabric or tarp.

For the little stool he just cut three short sticks and tied into a tripod and added a round of wood.