Every Monday night since October, Matt and Elisa have come over for dinner. It started with Matt in August as a way to watch Heroes together, then Elisa joined us, we fell way behind with Heroes, and we never looked back. There have been curries, pizzas, salads, ice creams, cookies, brownies, pastas, sauces, meats . . . the list goes on and on. Due to the upcoming move, last night marked our last official Monday dinner. And I have to say, it was one of the best ones yet.
We've talked about fonduing for quite some time, and I thought last night would be the perfect time to realize our dream. Last time I made fondue was with the old International Cuisine group (which disbanded last summer when too many of the group moved away). I made a cheddar and beer fondue which, sadly, curdled due to my penchant for high heat. Last night I turned to my old favorite: a swiss and white wine concoction. I learned of this happy combo from my old roommate Audrey, and have made it for many occasions. I once made it when my from-home friend Jenna and her husband, Nick, came over. She brought the items to dip, and she inspired me with green peppers and li'l smokies. I will eat li'l smokies whenever I can. Dipped in white-winey-cheese? Yes, please!
And the chocolate. Oh the chocolate. It's always, always about chocolate. I couldn't find my tried-and-true recipe, so I followed this one which turned out quite nicely. So rich. So dark. So perfect. We fondued strawberries, apples, brownies, marshmallows, cinnamon bears . . . (a sippy cup?) the joy cannot be described.
The night ended with Sam playing hibachi chef by tossing peppers, marshmallows, cinnamon bears at us while we tried to catch them in our mouths. This activity spotlights my lack of coordination, so I usually bow out at the very last second, letting the floor catch the food. I blame it all on a piece of shrimp that hit me oddly in the face at Asuka once. Anyway, the night ended when Elisa got a fat lip from a fast-flying cinnamon bear. And what a way to end the night. (Though, this morning, I did find Bria gnawing on a lost pepper from our charades.)
Classic Cheese Fondue
3 c Swiss cheese, shredded
1 c Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 t cornstarch
1 clove garlic, halved
1 c white wine
1 T lemon juice
Combine cheeses and cornstarch in a large bowl and set aside. Rub inside of medium-sized pot with garlic clove, then discard garlic. Pour white wine and lemon juice into pot and heat until air bubbles rise and cover surface. Do not cover, and do not boil.
Stir vigorously and constantly from this point on.
Add a handful of cheese and continue to heat on a medium heat. Stir until cheese is melted. Repeat until all the cheese has been incorporated. Every time I make this, I freak out a little because the cheese doesn't seem to be incorporating. Don't worry! It will all come together at the end. Just keep adding the cheese and stirring, and don't turn the heat up past medium-- you don't want the cheese to curdle. Once the cheese is fully incporated, add a dash of pepper and nutmeg. Quickly transfer the cheese mixture to your fondue put, and then eat it. My favorite things to fondue are french bread, apples, li'l smokies, and green peppers. Be creative. You will love it.
*I often use Emmentaler cheese in addition. Go for about 4 cups of cheese total, using whatever combination you like (though always heavy on the Swiss).