Sunday, December 9, 2018

Getting My Fondue On

How many of you received one of these for your wedding present back in the 60's?  Is it still hanging around because you just KNEW some day you would use it?  Mine is in the closet in the laundry room.  So when I saw this class for FONDUE, I signed up immediately.
It was pretty foggy when I left, much worse than this.  We haven't seen this kind of fog in a long while.
Almost there, I saw a doe and her fawn trying to cross the fence and the road right in front of me. I stopped until she decided which way she was going, while getting honked at from behind, so the picture isn't all that great.
Up the crazy steep hill with the hairpin turn at the top and I was in luck.  First one there, so lots of turnaround room.  Here's a picture of the dining room and one wall of cookbooks.  Kind of hard to see, but this table is where he displays all his cookware for the day's event.  In all, I counted 21 fondue pots.
This picture will make you crazy.  It's the mirror over the stove so you can see what they are cooking.  We all had cutting boards and VERY sharp knives.  I brought bandaids, just in case.
So I thought I knew fondue.  I was very much wrong.  Cheese fondue is the smallest part of it.  It was more hot pot and meat fondue.  We spent the first hour chopping up halibut, shrimp, beef and chicken into bitesized pieces.  Along with that came potatoes, zucchini and green peppers, which were parboiled.

Then he plugged in an electric fondue pot like this one, filling it with oil.  While we waited for it to heat up, we made five sauces for dipping, one being a beer batter for frying.  I thought all we were having was bread and cheese!

Finally, he got to the cheese part.  Jarlsberg swiss cheese (available at Costco) and white wine.  The secret is to grate the cheese, then lightly sprinkle it with flour or cornstarch.  That keeps it from separating when it is melted.  Then you add it a little at a time to the wine you have heated to about 95 degrees.  I don't know, there was a LOT of stirring involved in that.  
The end product was placed in a cast iron pot.  Fuel for these things is hard to find, so just use a spoonful of sterno blue stuff in the fuel container and light it.  Gosh, I'm starving ... can we eat now?
We each grabbed a plate like this (the small spaces are for the sauces), at least four forks and went to town.  Sort of, because it takes a bit of time to cook that meat.  After standing in line for 20 minutes, I went and sat down.  In nothing flat, those people who cooked their meat first, were BACK in line.  In other words, the line never ended!!
SO ..... the cheese fondue was good, but I'm not really a chardonnay wine fan.  Apparently the Swiss use a riesling, so maybe that would be better.  The sauces ... they were tasty, but plain old barbecue sauce would have suited me just fine.  

This is grazing.  There is no filling your plate up and sitting down to a nice meal.  You graze, grab a couple of bites, converse a little, then graze again.  

Next up, my all time favorite CHOCOLATE!!!  Super simple, this one.  Cream, Nestle chocolate chips and corn syrup.  YUM YUM!!  Dipping things included donuts (!!!!), pineapple, pound cake that disintegrated as soon as you dipped, marshmallows, biscotti, apples, bananas, grapes ... all KINDS of things!  Lucky for me, there weren't as many chocolate lovers, so the line was VERY short.

If you're going to do chocolate, you need a pot like this one, ceramic with only a candle underneath.  The regular fondue pots get too hot.  Ahhhhhhh got my sweet fix.
But WAIT!!  There was even MORE fonduing going on.  Similar in appearance, this is a HOT pot.  It was filled with chicken broth, some asian spices and cilantro.  He dumped in the veggies, including mushrooms, potatoes, zucchini and green peppers, then added his fork with the same meats as before.  

This pot (although electric in this picture) sat on the stove burner to keep it boiling nicely in order to cook faster.  Everyone else seemed to be done with fondue, so I filled up a plate with meat and sat at the stove.  This was SO much better than the oil frying fondue.  Amazingly, the meat picked up all the flavors from the veggies and the broth.
It worked out perfectly, because THEN I had to have dessert all over again!  Back to the chocolate I went like a bee to honey!!

I was rather disappointed that we didn't get more cheese recipes than sauce recipes.  I guess every class can't be as good as PIES!!  It really was an interesting experience, but my fondue pot may just end up back in the closet.  After all, I can eat right from the pan on the stove and not have to wash TWO pots.

Next up ..... ebelskivers.  Here's a hint.  They are SWEET!!!!







15 comments:

  1. I know nothing about fondues so thanks for the post. I think Bill and I got a tiny one as a gift one year and never used it.

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    1. I didn't really know anything either Patsy. But I DO know melted cheese is GOOD!!!

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  2. Love the fondues, enjoyed so many years ago, Grazing it for sure it takes all night to enjoy a meal, with lots of conversation, all the different foods, cheeses, and chocolate. When we sold our house it finally went away.

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    1. It's the perfect "dinner" appetizer. If I had company occasionally, I think I would try it.

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  3. Yay ebelskivers! Dip 'em in warmed syrup & you've got breakfast fondue! The dearly departed frozen ones they used to sell at TJ's (*sob*) were very delicately flavored with lemon & cardomom if I recall correctly. Can't wait for you to get Yankee Hill's recipe. This little school sounds like such a fun place.

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    1. It IS a really fun place to hang out and create great food, although sometimes that's questionable. Leilani, I like the breakfast fondue idea!!! I'll pass along the recipes.

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  4. Have you ever been to a place called the melting pot restaurant it may also go by another name call the hot pot restaurant sounds like what you went through is similar to those two I'm not crazy about them, but if you go to a good Japanese or Chinese restaurant you can get pretty much the same thing as your fondue server
    I can visualize it now your standing over your home stove with a big pot of boiling water and a coat hanger with Fish- chicken and potatoes on it cooking it to perfection
    Forget the yuppie food put a damn tfood on the grill cowgirl style

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    1. Hahaha ... I only heard about the Melting Pot at the school. I think there is one about 100 miles away. :-(
      I have to admit, grilling anything would probably have more flavor than the hot pot stuff!!

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  5. I remember those fondues well. It seemed every time we had one, I always had a hangover the next day. I was also much slimmer then. Still have numerous pots back at the house.

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    1. Oh Peter .... yup there is a LOT of wine in them. Personally, I'd rather use a little less wine and more cheese!! I think they would make a fun RV appetizer.

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  6. My first Fondue Dinner (Party?) that I attended was a cheese and bread one...the next was meats and sauces...of course, I fried so many brain cells back in the mid-70's that it all could just be my imagination... (lol)

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    1. Oh my gosh .... yes I even remember those fondue "dinner" parties. I never knew about the meat ones though. Surely you're not THAT old to remember them anyway!!!! lol

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  7. Sounds good but not sure I would go through all the work. As I recall we did get one for our wedding that never got used...:)

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    1. Its always a kick to learn something new and these classes have certainly done that.

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