Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fondue Fun

Swissmar Arosa 11 Piece Stainless Fondue Set (Stainless) Cookware Sets     There is something interesting about fondue.  I honestly think that it is the ultimate "girls night" food.  Actually hardly any of the guys I know seem to like fondue, not sure why though.  I actually really like fondue, but I do have to be in the mood for it. 

     There are actually lots of different varieties of fondue, it isn't all just melted chocolate as some people think.  The word fondue is actually the feminine past participle for the french word fondre, which means "to melt".   The chocolate fondue did not become popular until the 1960s.  Before that the standard fondue was a cheese fondue that was a mixture of cheeses, wine and seasoning. 

     There is also a set etiquette to enjoying fondue, clearly double dipping is a no no. The long fondue forks that you use are meant to transfer the item of food from the fondue pot to your plate, not meant to be eaten directly off of, after all that thing is sharp, you could hurt yourself!  There are so many different things that you can dip into the fondues, most people stick to strawberries with the chocolate, and bread with the cheese.  While that is delicious, it is not exactly creative either.  With the cheese fondue some of my favorite things to use are, broccoli, shrimp, mushrooms, eggplant, squashes & zucchini, beef tenderloin cubes. or slices of sausage.  With the dessert fondue, any type of fruit is going to be good, also you can use fried fruits as well.  Some of my favorite things to use with a dessert fondue are bananas, kiwis, berries, peaches. pineapple, apples, or chunks of angel food cake.  What I like about fondue is that while it feels like a decadent meal, it really is not usually for me.  Since fondue is eaten slower and usually the items you dip in the fondue are healthy, its actually not a bad meal for you at all, if had in moderation of course.  I am sharing two of my favorite fondue recipes.

Chocolate Fondue

12 ounces milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate or sweet cooking chocolate
1/2 cup half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Heat chocolate and half-and-half in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; Pour into fondue pot, stir in a small amount of cream if fondue becomes too thick while guests are dipping.

Basic Cheese Fondue

1 pound Swiss cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons cornstarch (this will prevent the mixture from separating)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 cups buttermilk
1-2 cloves garlic

Mix cheese with cornstarch, salt, pepper and paprika, heat buttermilk with garlic clove(s) over low heat. When hot, remove garlic and add cheese. Stir until cheese is melted and smooth.

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