The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,518 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,301 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ
Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life …
For this week’s Farm Kitchen/Unprocessed Kitchen Merit Badge, I was moving up the ranks to Intermediate and Expert Levels. That’s right: you’ve come a long way, baby! Why yes, I have, and thanks for noticing. First up:
This badge, my little dears, is a piece of cake. Well, not a literal piece of cake, more like a cracker. Unprocessed, organic, nutritious and delicious, homemade Cheez-its.
You. Are. Welcome.
But not just homemade Cheez-its. Oh, never let it be said! For this particular level, I needed to replicate two used-to-love-em-had-to-have-em-not-so-good-for-you-unwholesome-guilty-pleasures. For the second recipe idea, I had to wrack my noodle.
And then it came to me:
More specifically, macaroni and cheese. Ah, that blissful bowl of ooey gooey, melty, comfort food! It’s like heaven in a bowl.
A large bowl.
Which I do not share.
Evidently, I have a thing for cheese. (So glad there’s a Cheese Making Badge. I am SO rocking that one again soon!)
Anyway, my love of cheese has evolved over time. It’s matured, you might say. (Haha, see what I did there? Just a little cheese humor for you.) I used to buy large, inexpensive blocks of Mild Cheddar, generic brands of Mac ‘n Cheese in a box, and turned up my nose at the more … shall we say, stinky, realms of cheese. And realms they are! But I’m following a bunny trail here. Back to Cheez-its! I experimented a bit with my recipe until I found the most delicious and scrumptious one. I tweaked, I added, I took away, I halved, I doubled, I mixed, I sampled, and I ate my weight in snappy, crunchy, bite-sized perfection.
All for you.
The things I do for you! The sacrifice! The servitude!
Okay, okay, you got me. This badge was heaven to earn.
Parmesan and White Cheddar Crackers
6 ounces Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, grated
2 ounces Parmesan, grated
1/2 stick of butter
1 t kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
pinch of cayenne pepper (or paprika if you are feeling less than spunky)
1 cup unbleached, organic flour
2 T cold water
Put everything, minus the water, into your food processor. Mix, and then dribble in your water until a crumbly dough forms. Wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge. Try to forget about it for about an hour. Fail miserably. Remove, roll out thinly, and cut into shapes. I used a pizza cutter and went a little nuts. I may or may not have a cracker in the shape of Elvis, but you can just go with traditional squares if you must. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes.
Enjoy your snack of bliss. You earned it.
Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese
6 oz organic penne, cooked quite al dente
For sauce, make a roux (1/4 cup butter, melted, then whisked with 1/3 cup flour, and finally, about 3 cups of organic, local milk). Add to this concoction: 3 cups of semi-hard cheese, like an aged Gouda or a Sharp Cheddar; 1/2 cup softer cheese, like a Bleu or a Havarti; salt; and pepper. Stir into your penne, top with more cheese if you please (and you will … be pleased, I mean) and bake in a buttered cast-iron skillet at 350°F for about 20 minutes.
Try to share. But I won’t judge you if you don’t.
Thanks for sharing your recipes and humor. Have been making home made mac and cheese for some time now. Love the cheeses you selected. The crackers should be awesome. Will make very soon.