Monday, November 15, 2010

Say Cheese . . . for Meatless Monday!

It's time to fondue!!!
I've posted this recipe before but a repost seemed like a timely idea, especially since it's Meatless Monday. This is one of our favorite cold weather meals. With the arrival of snow last weekend, it is now officially fondue season. We used to reserve it for company but now, in our old age, we have it for just the two of us! It's a cozy, in-the-kitchen kind of meal. We got our first fondue pot back in the 1970's. It was the kind that worked with Sterno. I was never too crazy about the Sterno. Our second fondue pot was bright red and electric. I liked that one much better. It lasted a really long time, expiring very dramatically, with sparks, at a party at my brother and sister-in-law's. We are now on our third pot, also electric.

Classic cheese fondue is made with a combination of Swiss cheeses, typically a Gruyere and the more mild Emmental, with a fruity white wine such as a Riesling. A splash of kirsch is sometimes added. I never have kirsch on hand so I've never added it. Some cooks use cornstarch instead of flour. You also need long-handled forks for skewering and dunking. Of course, there are countless variations for fondue. We've made beer fondue and we've fondued shrimp in peanut oil. And then there's dessert fondue. But our favorite fondue is definitely the Swiss cheese variety.

1-1/2 cups white wine (Riesling or Chenin Blanc)
1 T. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2# Swiss cheese, cubed
2 T. flour
dash black pepper
dash nutmeg
1 tsp. tarragon
1 T. parsley flakes
2 tsp. chives
French bread cut so that each piece has a crust, cauliflower and broccoli flowerets, apple slices. Really, just about any veggie works. Some may need to be par-boiled, but I like the crunch of fresh.

Pour wine into pot over low heat. Do not allow wine to boil. When small bubbles appear on bottom, add lemon juice and garlic. Toss cheese with flour. Gradually add handfuls of cheese stirring constantly after each addition with wooden spoon in figure 8 motion. Add spices. Continue to stir. This can burn on the bottom if the heat is too high. Serve hot with dippers: french bread, apples, etc. using long handled fondue forks.

Serve with a tossed salad.

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