heavenly cheesy buns

I’ll just put this out there up front, you should probably make these cheesy buns this weekend. Eat them for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or for all three!)—you won’t be disappointed.  Imagine the puffy dough of a perfect cinnamon roll and then swap the sweet cinnamon filling for sharp cheddar cheese and onion. Yep, pretty much perfect. And, I’ve even got a secret to share so you can have them for brunch without even waking up at an ungodly hour.


One year ago: Best Chocolate Pudding
Two years ago: Ad Hoc at Home Brownies 

Sharp Cheddar Cheesy Buns, adapted from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
For the dough
3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (or one 7 g packet) of instant yeast
1 cup milk (if you want the dough to rise easier, warm the milk to about 100 degrees)
4 tablespoons melted butter, cooled to lukewarm

For the filling 
1/2 cup grated white onion (about half an onion)
1 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese (you could substitute swiss, provolone, mozzarella or use a mixture)
2 teaspoons fresh dill, minced (you could also use 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme or rosemary)
1/4 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of black pepper

First make the dough. You can make the dough the night before you plan to serve the rolls for convenience’s sake, but you can also make it the day of if you plan to serve them for dinner. They take about 5 hours in total, but most of that is rising time.


Combine the flour, salt, pepper and sugar in a large bowl, preferably the bowl of a mixer with a dough hook. In a medium bowl, whisk the yeast in the milk until it dissolves. Add the melted butter into the milk mixture. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix them together with the paddle attachment or a wooden spoon until a shaggy ball forms.

Switch to the dough hook. Knead the dough on low speed for about five minutes, until the dough is smooth and a slightly sticky ball has formed. You can also do this by hand on a lightly floured counter.

Place the dough in lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in your off oven and let it rise until doubled, about two hours. I find that my house is too cold for yeasted bread doughs to rise well without putting them in my oven with my pilot light to keep them warm. If it is warm in your house, you can just leave the dough on the counter and appreciate your insulation.

While the dough is rising, make the filling. Combine grated onion, cheese, dill, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Set aside. Line the bottom of a 9″x 13″ baking dish or two 9″ round baking pans with parchment paper.


After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll it into a 12″ x 16″ rectangle. With the long edge facing you, spread the filling in an even layer, leaving a 1/2″ margin on the far edge. Roll the dough tightly and seal the far end. Using a sharp knife, cut the log in half, then cut each half into thirds, then cut each third in half. You should have 12 rolls. Space them evenly in the baking dish, leaving room around each roll for it to expand.


Let the rolls rise in an off oven for another two hours, until doubled again. Alternately, you can cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to cook the next day.

One hour before you want to serve the rolls, remove them from the fridge. Place them in an off oven. Fill a dish below the rolls with boiling water. Let them rise for 30 minutes, until puffy. Remove the rolls from the oven.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Brush the tops of the rolls with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the cheese begins to brown and bubble. Serve immediately. Don’t worry, they won’t last long.



scrambled eggs with asparagus and cheddar

Jordan and I had a pretty lovely brunch for two last Saturday. The night before I had made a few different tapas. With leftover bits and pieces from that meal, some refrigerator odds and ends and a little inspiration from Jose Andres, we made this surprisingly great dish.

Scrambled eggs with Asparagus and Cheddar, adapted from A Taste of Spain by Jose Andres
A few stalks of asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup shallot, sliced (onion or green onions would work great also)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 T olive oil
4 eggs
2 T milk
salt and pepper
1 T butter
1/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated (any cheese would probably be just fine)

Whisk together eggs, milk, a good pinch of salt and some pepper. In a nonstick saute pan, saute the asparagus, shallot and garlic in a little olive oil over medium heat. Saute for about 5 minutes until the asparagus is just tender. Remove from the pan and set aside. Turn the heat to low and add the butter.

When the butter is foamy, pour in the eggs. Scramble them taking care to not let the eggs burn or over cook. Runny scrambled eggs are a good and tasty thing. When your scrambled eggs are just cooked, scoop them into a bowl and top with the cheddar and asparagus. Enjoy with some fresh fruit, leftover potatoes, and coffee.



grilled cheese and tomato soup

Cheese sandwiches have been pretty popular in Chez Jojonoodle as of late. We’re both in the thick of things at work and at school; we need quick and satisfying meals in a big way. Bread + cheese + hot pan = an undeniably good thing in less than 15 minutes. Plus, not much goes better with grilled cheese on a rainy day than tomato soup.

For the Grilled Cheese
4 slices sourdough bread
2/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 T butter

For the Tomato Soup
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, sliced
2 T olive oil
1 – 32 oz can whole tomatoes
1 T balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
salt and pepper

In a dutch oven or large saucepan, saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat. Once translucent, add the garlic and saute for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, vinegar, sugar and a good pinch of salt to the onion mixture. Simmer for 20 minutes and then puree. Season with more salt and pepper.

While the soup is simmering, spread the butter the bread. Heat a non-stick pan over low heat, place the bread butter side down, spread an even layer of  cheese and top with another slice of bread. Cover the pan. Let cook for about 5 minutes until golden brown and flip. Cook the other side until golden brown and serve alongside a warm bowl of tomato soup!



for the love of grits

Soul-satisfying, approachable and inexpensive, cheesy grits are the ultimate accompaniment. Over the past few weeks, I’ve served them with spicy shrimp, with BBQ chicken and egg-topped with tomato sauce. In every iteration they were delicious. Just make them, and throw whatever you were already planning to eat tonight on top of them. You won’t regret it.

Cheesy Grits, adapted from Alton Brown
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 1/2 t kosher salt
1 cup grits (coarse ground cornmeal)
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
4 T butter, cut into 1 T pieces
4 oz sharp cheddar, grated

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring milk, water and salt to a boil. Once the milk mixture has come to a boil, add the grits slowly while whisking. You want to whisk pretty vigorously so your grits come out smooth. Reduce the heat to low and cover the grits. Every 5 minutes or so, uncover and whisk vigorously. After about 25 minutes your grits should be soft and thick.

Remove from the heat and add the butter and pepper. Whisk together. Once combined, whisk in the cheese. Serve immediately with the topping of your choice.

Also, my preference for green beans as a vegetable side has been made quite obvious.



baking therapy: homemade cheez its

I love cheese, I love cheese on crackers, I love cheesy crackers. Cheez-its, Goldfish crackers, Flaming Hot Cheetos, yummm. BUT, we are trying to stay away from processed foods, which means no cheez crackers for Emily.

That is until I found a recipe for cheese straws (made with real cheese, butter and flour!) on Smitten Kitchen. I made these sharp cheddar cheese crackers last night and boy do they fill my cheesy cracker void. They actually taste more like cheddar than cheddar, if you can believe it. Even Jordan, who is not a processed cheese cracker aficionado like me really enjoyed them.

Homemade Cheez Its, adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Cheese Straws

1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar, grated (about 6 0z)
3/4 cup flour
4 T butter, softened and cut into cubes
1/2 t salt
1/4 t crushed red pepper (although paprika or ground red pepper may give a more even distribution)
1 T milk

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor,  process cheese, flour, butter, salt and red pepper until it resembles coarse sand. Add milk and process until dough forms a ball. About 15 seconds.

Take out the cheesy ball and roll it out on a lightly floured surface. If you’d like to make cheese straws, roll it until it is 1/4 inch thick and cut into straws. If you’d like to make cheez-its, roll the dough until it is 1/8 inch thick and cut into squares. Poke the squares with the tines of a fork.

Transfer straws or squares onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees, until lightly browned. Cool on a rack and devour!