12-31-2012 06:50 PM
12-31-2012 06:55 PM
12-31-2012 07:06 PM
01-02-2013 04:23 AM
We had cheese fondue. It's delicious, cheap, and ridiculously easy to make.
Gadget's Easy Fondue
1 big loaf of fresh french bread
1 lb block of Swiss cheese
1 block of Cracker Barrel aged cheddar (black label) cheese
About a half cup (or more) of shredded Parmesan (you can never really get enough of this)
1 pony bottle of white wine from one of those 4-pack things at the supermarket
Seasoning to taste
Chop the bread up into chungs about the size of a box of matches. Or a Matchbox car. C'mon you know how big that is. Wait until the last minute so it stays fresh. I use a collander and place a paper towel inside. Put all the bread chunks in this.
Have the cheese ready. Shred up all the blocks of cheese. I get my Parmesan cheese already shredded. Put it all in a big container.
Get a medium sized non-stick saucepan. Dump one bottle of wine in. These pony bottles contain the exact amount of wine you will need to make the fondue. Turn the heat up to medium and add spices. I add salt, garlic, and cracked pepper. You want something with bite. By the time it's done, all the alcohol will been evaporated. You don't need to be 21 to eat fondue.
Once all the salt is dissolved, turn the heat up to medium high. Put a handful of Swiss in to start. Then the Parmesan. Even if you shredded it all into the same bowl, it's easy to tell it apart. Use a fork to mix it in. Once it starts to absorb, add more cheese. Mix it in. Keep adding cheese and mixing. You don't ever want to walk away or stop mixing. It has to stay in motion. Eventually you will get all the cheese in. At first it will be clumpy. Keep mixing.
As it heats up, the texture will change. It will get thinner and more fluid. When you pull the fork out, it should kind of "pour" off the fork with about the same consistency as regular mustard or maybe ranch dressing. This is right at the point before it starts boiling. It should be creamy, not clumpy. When it is all one gloriously liquified pot of goo, it is ready.
Drop the heat down to medium. Have a cold beverage handy because this will be hot.
The traditional way to make fondue involves putting a chaffing dish on the table with some fancy heating source. Then people use fondue forks to eat the fondue. I have done it this way, and I find it to be a silly waste of time. Here's the easy way.
Just get everyone in the kitchen with a plate and a fork. Put a few chunks of bread on your plate. You form a conga line near the stove. Whoever is first steps forward with a chunk of bread firmly stabbed onto the end of the fork. Dip the bread in the pot and twirl it around a little. Pull it out, tilt the fork sideways, and twirl it some more so the cheese can cool a little and you get rid of the "tail" of cheese that stretches back into the pot.
Don't dawdle all day with one piece of bread. Twirling the bread properly comes with practice. If you're good, you can do it in one or two twirls. It shouldn't take 3 minutes to do this. Try moving the fork up and down as you're twirling. Or watch someone who knows how to do it. You don't want the pot of cheese sitting too long without being stirred. This is an active meal. If someone is having trouble mastering the twirl, help them out.
When you dunk your bread in the pot, give it a quick stir. You still have heat going to the cheese and you don't want it to burn. If you see any collecting on the sides, maybe swipe the sides a little with your bread before dunking it in the pot. You want to get it all.
Once your cheese is fully on the fork and you have complete cheese separation between the fork and the pot, you step away from the stove. The next person in line steps forward and does the same. After a while, you should have a good rhythm going. It should only take about 5 seconds per person. Step forward, get some cheese, step away.
Be considerate. DO NOT get back into line until you have already eaten your fondue and have affixed a fresh piece of bread to your fork. It's not right to be eating right over the pot, or trying to attach bread to the fork.
As you get toward the bottom, the characteristics of the fondue can change. If you see it starting to boil, reduce heat some more. Toward the end, there will be blobs of cheese at the bottom of the pot. Do what you can to quickly get this cheese onto the bread. When it's all gone, you turn off the stove.
This last time, we achieved a perfect cheese/bread ratio. I literally used the last chunk of bread to pick up the last morsel of cheese. That's a win. However, this is rare. Usually there is extra cheese in the pot or extra bread in the collander. If there's extra bread, everyone just nibbles on bread. French bread is good by itself. If there is extra cheese, you can just turn off the stove and let it cool. It will solidify into a big flat glob of cheese. Pull it out of the pot and eat it. Share with whoever else wants a bit. This is a team sport.
Because you used a nonstick saucepan, a quick wash will clean it out. There is no scrubbing. The forks may need some scrubbing though, because they are often caked with cheese goo.
Total cost for this wonderful treat - somewhere around 10 bucks. Feeds 4 pretty well.