Cheese Fondue for Two

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You will never guess what my Mom found hidden in the depths of her basement the other day…

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Her old-school, 1970′s electric fondue pot!! Look at that color – it couldn’t BE from any other decade!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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Then I turned my attention to the cheese. Wisconsin cheddar!

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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.

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The base for the cheese was 1/2 cup lager beer. Budweiser or any full-flavored one would work.

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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!

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Next I added the cheese in batches, stirring really well in between each batch.

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Honestly it didn’t take long at all to get everything smooth. Maybe 5 minutes?

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The final step was to consult the seasoning squad. Salt, pepper, hot sauce & worcestershire sauce. Just a pinch/dash of all!

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When all was said and done, I set the heat to low, transferred the pot over to the table and got out the dunkers.

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Let’s talk about these dunkers!

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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.

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Oh, right, there were also tator tots for Ben. Ok I had a million too… ;)

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I’ve got to tell you – this cheese! It clung to the broccoli, cascaded over the baguette,

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and made the pretzel bread sing!

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I’ll admit, Ben was skeptical…

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"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?"

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"Because it wouldn’t be as FUN!" I informed him. :)

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Despite his skepticism, he had no problem demolishing his fair share. ;)

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Hey! (ps I got my hair cut last week and my gal chopped it SO short! Still getting used to it!)

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Our favorites were definitely the tots,

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Followed closely by the pretzel bread (TJ’s – $.99!), apples,  

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and broccoli!

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Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Fondue

Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

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

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Directions:

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.

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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! 8O

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!

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Comments

  1. Emily 01.17.2011

    I have a similar-aged fondue pot in the same luscious shade of avocado green. I purchased mine at Goodwill. :) Our family does fondue in lieu of Christmas dinner…so fun!

  2. Lovin’ this idea right now. I’m more of a sweet than savory person, so I’d love a chocolate dip right now!

  3. Amy 01.17.2011

    Awesome shout-out for the ALA Stair Climb. It is a great event for a well-deserving cause. I did it for the first time last year and am starting to train for this year’s now.

    To anyone considering it: Try it at least once. It is an entirely different kind of workout, but it is a great accomplishment when you can stand back (perhaps while holding a tasty beverage on the patio at El Bait later this summer) and say ‘I climbed to the top of those buildings!’

    Happy climbing!

  4. Francesca 01.17.2011

    Love this…and love the new ‘do. Perfect day for all of it!

  5. What a fun dinner idea! LOVE IT!

  6. Krissy Murphy 01.17.2011

    Your hair looks ADORABLE! I LOVE it! Like, so much it makes me want to go and cut my hair…

    Where did you get the pretzel bread…?? It is my fave thing ever…

    That being said, I always love CHOCOLATE fondue the best =D But I bet you COULD dunk pretzel bread in chocolate fondue…ya know, sweet and salty thang?? =D

  7. sassy molassy 01.17.2011

    Oh man, that stuff looks delish! When my friend and I went to Europe, we went to this Chinese Fondue restaurant in Switzerland and the meal was seriously the BEST EVER. Oh man. Gooey cheesey goodness.

  8. Haha I loved Ben’s quote. Still, that dinner sounds like so much fun!

  9. MOM 01.17.2011

    Ahhh!! Brings back old memories:)

  10. Kendra~! 01.17.2011

    Your hair = ADORE!!!

  11. Sarah w 01.17.2011

    Thanks for this post! I think I’m gonna try to find a fondue pot at home goods or TJ maxx and then borrow my mother in laws pot and recreate a melting pot type of meal. With cheese fondue and oil fondue for valentines day! Yay!

  12. Oh dear goodness me, melty cheese + bread + veggies…I need a fondue pot!

  13. Lauren 01.17.2011

    Fondue is sooo much fun! We go to the Melting Pot every year for our anniversary! :) At first, my husband was skeptical too, but he loves it now. The only thing that does get a bit tedious is cooking the meat and potatoes but the cheese and chocolate are the best!

  14. I love fondue! We had cheese and chocolate fondue at my high school prom, it was messy to say the least;) Makes me think of Kitty on That 70′s Show! Haha

  15. Jen 01.17.2011

    Your hair is ADORABLE!

  16. Liz 01.17.2011

    Ah! Fondue is so good! My family used to have fondue nights to catch up during crazy weeks of after school activities because it’s a slow and fun dinner. My favorite thing to have with cheese fondue is a granny smith apple, it’s sour and crunchy and perfect! I was skeptical of it at first, but it ended up being THE BEST!

  17. dana828 01.17.2011

    This post is so timely We just shared a chocolate fondue dessert at Granite City last night, and I was lamenting how bummed I was that I had decided to let my brother keep my parent’s old 1970′s green fondue pot that we used as kids. We never did cheese or chocolate back then–always just oil to cook little pieces of steak. It was my birthday meal several years running! I’ve decided I need to buy myself a new fondue pot and have a party!

    We had a chocolate fountain at our wedding! It was the one thing I insisted on, and at the end of the night I realized I hadn’t gotten to have *any* of it! I was SO sad!!

  18. I’m not a huge cheese person, so TOTALLY chocolate! With bananas and marshmellows and strawberries and mmm omg, imagine TJ’s pb pretzels in chocolate fondue.

  19. Susan 01.17.2011

    Where did you get that cute serving tray??

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.23.2011

      It was a wedding gift, but I think I registered for it at Bed Bath & Beyond. The land of millions of cute serving trays!

  20. Stephanie 01.17.2011

    I think I’d rather just have two fondue pots so I could have cheese AND chocolate! :)

  21. Aw a cheese foundue party for two is such a cute idea! Personally, I prefer a chocolate fondue, and I definitely want one at my wedding…years down the road of course :)

  22. Chocolate or cheese?!? I could never choose!!!

  23. Eve P 01.17.2011

    We haven’t done fondue for ages. I have two pots, a metal one and a ceramic. My all time favorite is a Chocolate Marshmallow fondue. Served with pineapple, apples, Pepperidge Farms Pirouettes, pound cake and marshmallows. Quick and easy dessert we at home after a nice supper out; that is until kids entered the picture. Now we don’t take enough time for those slow quiet moments. (Of course a good bottle of red wine paired well with it.)

  24. Kristen 01.17.2011

    How could I choose?!?! I love them both! Also, I love the vintage pot! :-)

  25. my husband & i did fondue for valentines day last year… so fun!

  26. JennyV 01.17.2011

    OH my goodness! Fondue — or should I say fon-don’t?! :) I only say that b/c I was once @ a wedding where a friend of the family turned quickly with her chocolate speer and SPLATTERED chocolate fondue on my fuschia dress! It was a mess — however, an excellent conversation starter at the wedding!

    My husband & I did fondue @ Crave in WDM on 1-year-until-we-get-married anniversary. That was my 1 and only fondue experience; however, it was delicious and a blast. My fave — the dessert/chocolate fondue!

  27. Yummy! How fun and what a great idea for “dinner for two.” I’ve actually never had fondue besides a chocolate fountain, but dunking all those goodies in ooey gooey cheese looks amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    Oh, and I like your hair cut…it frames your face really well : )

  28. Jenna 01.17.2011

    YUM! Fondue!!! Every Christmas eve my family has fondue!! The only kind i’ve ever had has been the oil. With chicken, beef & sometimes shrimp. Its my favorite part of christmas & I don’t have it any other time of the year. My mom also makes the best dips to go with the chicken & beef. Gentleman’s choice & a creamy warm mushroom sauce. OMG. I can’t wait until Christmas! My fiance & I registered for a fondue pot for our wedding! I hope someone gets it for us! I want to try the cheese…but chocolate (or most sweets for that matter) just aren’t my thing. :)

  29. Dawn Patricia 01.17.2011

    YUM! I love fondue. I used to live right near “The Melting Pot”. We never went because my husband is super lactose-intolerant :(. Cheese fondue allllll the way for me. By the way, I thought of you today. The first still from the next Twilight Saga movie was released and all I can say is “Dayyyyyyum!!!!”

  30. dmcgirl 01.17.2011

    Next to you MUST ADD WINE!!!! It is the only way.. a nice white… omg, you will adore!!!

    Lookin good!

    • Mich 01.18.2011

      I second that!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 01.23.2011

      I know – I was going back and forth on wine vs beer!!! I only decided on beer because I was using a heavy cheddar. Next time I do a more mild gruyere or something, I’ll totally bust out the white wine!

  31. Laura 01.17.2011

    Ahhhh — warning on the chocolate fountain! I was at a wedding where a little kid dripped chocolate on the floor, and before an adult could come back with a cloth to clean it up, the bride walked into it! Someone tried to stop her, but when she turned around, the back of her dress swung into the chocolate! The fountain was awesome, but just be careful!!! Good news — the cleaners got the chocolate out of her dress!

    Also, *love* the new cut, IGE! :)

  32. Hey Kristin! I just discovered your blog, and I’m an Iowa girl as well! The fondue looks amazing. I look forward to reading your blog more. :)

  33. FABULOUS dinner…i’m in a very cheesy mood these days :)

  34. Hahaha “fonDON’T.” Ben is a riot. I’ve only ever had cheese fondue at the Melting Pot many moons ago. All I can think about now is dunking my food in melted cheese!

    That being said, I am a total chocolate fondue person. Gotta appease the sweet tooth.

  35. Kristin from MN 01.17.2011

    I got a Griddler this weekend and tonight I made your turkey, ham, swiss, & apricot jam panini! It was delicious! I ran into my mom in the grocery store when I was getting the supplies and she thought it sounded good so she got all the supplies too! She made paninis on her George Foreman and said they turned out PERFECT! Thanks for the inspiration! :D

  36. kate 01.17.2011

    Pretzel bread?!

  37. Jessica Lee 01.18.2011

    broccoli and cheese can never be a wrong combo. and your hair is super cute!! very posh :)

  38. I CANNOT choose between chocolate and cheese… both are awesome.

    this looks SO good… and I love the tater tots – will definitely have to do THAT next time we make fondue… my favorites are broccoli, bread and grapes :D

  39. Rachel 01.18.2011

    I OD’d on sweets over the long weekend, so I think I’d go with cheese fondue. My mom had a set like that in a lovely 70s-orange shade, but we never used it that much growing up. I should ask if she still has it.

    Your new hairdo is awesome–Very cute!

  40. Melissa 01.18.2011

    Love this! I usually fix chocolate fondue but both are so good.

  41. Hope 01.18.2011

    This so hard to choose! I love cheese and chocolate fondue but I’m going to have to go with chocolate as my favorite! My co-worker brought in her chocolate fountain before she retired in the summer. It was the BEST time! All day, the office smelled heavenly! I am definitely going to try my hand at making chocolate fondue for Valentine’s Day dinner. :) I can’t wait!

    PS. Your hair is super cute!!

  42. Mich 01.18.2011

    Awesome. My husband and I made a fondue feast for V-day last year. We over indulged so much that we had to skip the rest of our plans and just lay around in a cheese/oil/chocolate coma. I totally get where you’re coming from! Detox time :)

    And this post makes me miss the Melting Pot. It was my favorite chain restaurant in Omaha until it closed down last year. Ugh!

  43. Beth @ bethcooks 01.18.2011

    I absolutely LOVE fondue! It’s the best little “date night” in the privacy of your own home!

    BTW- I had THE BEST time in Des Moines last weekend! Centro was really great- Mmmm….yummy pizza. We stayed at The Suites downtown. So fun! It was a nice break from the ATL…for sure.

  44. I have an electric fondue pot too, it is so great for entertaining! My favorite is cheddar-beer, although I usually use half gruyere and half aged cheddar. Broccoli (lightly steamed) is hands-down my favorite thing to dip! The pretzel bread sounds really good too :)

  45. Kim K 01.18.2011

    I agree – get a chocolate fountain for the reception ;)

  46. Becci L. 01.18.2011

    This looks like such a fun dinner! I’ve never tried fondue, but I want to now!!! Has anyone ever served this in a crockpot? Maybe I will just have to break down and get a fondue pot….

  47. Machelle 01.18.2011

    Cheese…definitely cheese. Chocolate is great too but seems like a little of that would go a long way & I’d be sick of it in a hurry. Ya gotta watch those sticky little kids around the choco fountain..they like to stick their grubby little fingers in it, lick it off, and stick em right back in. Gross. I’m gonna be on the hunt for one of those old time fondue pots! I do have an old electric sauce pan that I got for $1. at a garage sale. It’s pretty impressive! Ha! It’s very handy at parties.

  48. Love the haircut- Super Cute!

  49. Whenever I get my hair cut, it always takes me a while to get used to it, but I usually “warm” up to it eventually. I’ve never done fondue before. . . looks like fun!

  50. OMG! I found one of these at my parent’s house when I was home for the holidays. I think it was my grandpa’s! We made fondue, bread, and your roasted Brussels sprouts{I’m now hooked because of your blog} for NYE: http://dailynibbles.com/2011/01/05/in-the-kitchen-cheese-fondue/

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