You will never guess what my Mom found hidden in the depths of her basement the other day…
Her old-school, 1970′s electric fondue pot!! Look at that color – it couldn’t BE from any other decade!
She was telling me that her friends used to throw fondue parties ALL the time in the late 70s and early 80s. Someone would bring a pot full of chocolate for dipping graham crackers or pineapple for dessert, another one full of oil to quickly sear shrimp or steak, while at least one person could always be counted on to bring a big pot of melty CHEESE.
30 years later it’s still fulfilling its purpose, because tonight Ben and I used it to threw ourselves a private cheese fondue party for 2! HA!
There are a TON of cheese fondue recipes out there, most using Gruyere for a really smooth fondue, but I went the ooey-gooey route and made a Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Fondue.
I started by rubbing the inside of the fondue pot with a clove of garlic. It subtly seasoned the fondue without adding a super strong garlic flavor.
Then I turned my attention to the cheese. Wisconsin cheddar!
I grated up 4oz each of mild & sharp cheddar cheese, then tossed with a Tablespoon of flour so it wouldn’t clump together while melting.
The base for the cheese was 1/2 cup lager beer. Budweiser or any full-flavored one would work.
It’s been decades since this thing was last used, but the electric base still worked like a charm and took the beer from cold to boiling in seconds!
Next I added the cheese in batches, stirring really well in between each batch.
Honestly it didn’t take long at all to get everything smooth. Maybe 5 minutes?
The final step was to consult the seasoning squad. Salt, pepper, hot sauce & worcestershire sauce. Just a pinch/dash of all!
When all was said and done, I set the heat to low, transferred the pot over to the table and got out the dunkers.
Let’s talk about these dunkers!
Clockwise from the top we’ve got: Trader Joe’s Spicy Italian Wine & Cheese Chicken Sausage, French baguette, apples, pretzel bread & steamed broccoli and cauliflower in the center.
Oh, right, there were also tator tots for Ben. Ok I had a million too…
I’ve got to tell you – this cheese! It clung to the broccoli, cascaded over the baguette,
and made the pretzel bread sing!
I’ll admit, Ben was skeptical…
"I just don’t think I get it… Why don’t you just put cheese on top of this stuff and melt it in the microwave?"
"Because it wouldn’t be as FUN!" I informed him.
Despite his skepticism, he had no problem demolishing his fair share.
Hey! (ps I got my hair cut last week and my gal chopped it SO short! Still getting used to it!)
Our favorites were definitely the tots,
Followed closely by the pretzel bread (TJ’s – $.99!), apples,
Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Fondue
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup lager beer
4oz Wisconsin Mild Cheddar Cheese
4oz Wisconsin Sharp White-Cheddar Cheese
1 Tablespoon flour
Salt & pepper
Hot sauce, to taste
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
1. Cut the garlic clove in half and rub the inside of a fondue pot or heavy-bottomed sauce pan with it. Discard.
2. Over high heat, add the beer to the pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium low, toss the cheese with the flour in a separate bowl, then gradually add it into the pot in batches, stirring well and fully melting each batch before adding the next.
3. When all the cheese has melted, add in dashes of salt, pepper, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce, to taste. Serve warm with bread, pretzel bread, steamed asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower, apples or sausage.
Right now it’s clear to both Ben and me that cheese fondue parties are NOT meant for 2. We are in a cheese-induced stupor and I think I just heard Ben yell "I fonDON’T want to do that again!" from the couch. omg I can’t stop laughing. The cheese has gone to my brain!
Salads are already packed for tomorrow.
Bachelor tonight!!!! See you!
Cheese or Chocolate Fondue?
Because of my current situation, I’m going to go with chocolate!
Also, unmarried readers: if you have the option to get a chocolate fountain at your wedding – DO IT. People will not remember your flowers 5 years later, but they will remember the cascading chocolate!
ALA Fight for Air Climb
Locals: Wanted to give you a heads up about the American Lung Association’s 2011 Fight for Air Climb fundraiser on Sunday, March 27!
This fun, fitness-themed event has participants climbing the staircases at either the EMC Insurance Company building (369 steps), the Hub Tower (364 steps), Des Moines Marriott Downtown (446 steps), or all three, to help raise money for lung cancer education, research & advocacy. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of men AND woman, and last year’s climb raised over $185,000 dollars!
You can participate as an individual, family, with friends or on a corporate team – and there’s even a kid’s climb for the little ones. Here’s the event information if you want to learn more, sign up or donate.
Thinking about putting all those hours on the step mill to good use and signing up. Just need to figure out my Spring schedule first!