Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vocalpoint - Dip into fun

Dip into fun

Have an old fondue pot sitting around you haven’t used in awhile? What about a few crock pots? Know someone who does? Drag them out of the cupboard and invite some friends over. Whether you’re watching a game, having a movie night, or just need a night of comfort food with the girls, clustering around pots of bubbling cheese and chocolate is a great way to get everyone together.

Ask guests to bring specific dippables—bread cubes (such as baguette and pumpernickel), vegetables, sliced and cooked sausage, sliced strawberries, pretzels, or pieces of pound cake. That way, you can provide just the fondues themselves and a side dish (like a tossed salad—recipe below!).

If you don’t have fondue forks, don’t worry. Use regular forks or sturdy toothpicks so guests can spear and dip to their hearts’ content.

Swiss and Cheesy Fondue 
Serves 4-6

Fondue au fromage is a classic Swedish dish consisting of melted cheese  mixed with white wine and seasonings. Small chunks of French bread are usually dipped into the fondue. If you’d rather not splurge on the Gruyere and Emmental, just use a pound of sharp cheddar cheese instead!

1 tsp. minced garlic
½ lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded
½ lb. Emmental cheese, shredded
(Or substitute Grueyere and Emmental with 1 lb of sharp cheddar, shredded)
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Toss the cheese with the flour—it’ll help keep it from clumping in the pot. 

2. In a medium saucepan, bring the wine to a simmer, then add the garlic. 

3. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, while stirring. When combined, add salt and pepper. Continue to stir until cheese is completely melted and smooth, then taste and adjust spices as needed. If you think it needs a bit more flavor, stir in a dash of Worsterchire sauce and garlic powder.

4. Transfer cheese to a fondue pot or crockpot already warmed over low heat. Serve with toasted bread cubes, vegetables, sliced sausage, or even apples.

S'More Fondue
Serves 4-6

1 cup of milk
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chunks
2 cups marshmallow creme

1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat milk until simmering. 

2. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until the chocolate melts. (You may need to put the pan on the stove for 20 seconds to reheat.)

3. Stir in marshmallow creme and transfer mixture to a fondue pot or already-warmed crock pot on low heat. Use graham crackers and pretzels for dipping. Fruits like strawberries and bananas make good dippers, too.

Hearty Spring Salad
Make your favorite salad so guests can easily grab with tongs, or try this one and feel free to mix and match with your other favorite ingredients.

2 heads of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup diced, cooked bacon or bacon bits
2 diced hard-boiled eggs
2 large tomatoes (or 3 medium tomatoes), finely chopped
1 medium cucumber, finely chopped
A few pinches of salt and 1 tsp black pepper
Various salad dressings

Toss everything together in a large bowl, or layer in a clear glass bowl. If you have vegetarian or vegan guests coming, put the bacon, and eggs in separate, smaller bowls. Set out whatever dressings you have handy. Ranch is particularly good on this salad, as is cheddar cheese if you have any left over from making fondue.

Remember, it’s fondue tradition—if anything falls off your skewer and into the pot, you owe someone a kiss!

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