Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Family Friendly Fondue

My dad makes some amazing fondue.

He has been making it forever in a very grown up cheese lovers kind of way. With Kirsch, Gruyere, Emmentaler and good wine. Those are some strong taste combinations and if you have a choosey toddler or a hubby who isn't a fancy cheese kind of guy, its not going to go over very well.

Ive been dying to fondue at home but unless I wanted to sit there by myself with a pound of cheese, I needed to doctor it up just a bit, especially the part with an open flame around a nosey toddler.

Here is a fun, easy and family friendly version. There's a bit ofi Brandy in the recipe (That I had left over from my date night worthy Coq Au Vin). It really balances out the flavors of the cheeses nicely but if you rather use a little sherry cooking wine( very little alcohol content) please do so.

It starts in a small pot but then is transferred to your crockpot. Your fondue stays consistently melty and creamy and there is no flames for toddlers to reach for. Oh and you get to sneak in lots of veggies,It's a win win!

Emmentaler is definitely a necessary cheese for fondue but by combining it with a light cheddar, you are creating a really nice balance of strong and mild cheese flavors. You are also cutting costs just pinch as well.

I am all about making delicious meals that feel like they are from an expensive restaurant without the hefty price tag...

Brandy is a great bar staple and lasts forever. At about $15 for a bottle it was worth it for us. But if you aren't a big drinker and don't incorporate liquor into your cooking, skip it. Cooking wine at your local super market will run you $3-5.

For .5 lbs of Emmentaler the cost was around $5.00 and the light cheddar was on sale at my local Sprouts Market and I bought almost an entire pound for less than $3.00 and since you only need a half pound for this recipe that's $1.50!

And as for the rest of the ingredients, lemon juice and garlic...I'm sure you've already got those in your fridge, and if not...1 lemon and 1 head of garlic is less than $2.00

Long story short, if you don't count the cost of the Brandy, you are making a fun and fancy dish for $8.50 plus the cost of some veggies and bread,that would cost you $80-100 in a fondue restaurant.

How awesome is that?

I made the crusty baguette you see here, that's even more of a savings!

On to the recipe:

1 clove of garlic
Roughly 1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup brandy or cooking sherry
1/2 emmentaler cheese
1/2 mild cheddar cheese
A sprinkle of corn starch
Take your blocks of cheese and roll them around in the corn starch on all sides. Set aside

Peel your garlic and rub the pot up the sides and across the bottom until you see garlicky residue on your pot.
You need just enough lemon juice to coat the bottom of your measuring cup, and then fill up to the 1/2 cup line with brandy and pour into your pot.
In the mean time, shred your cheese, and add to the pot on low heat, it begins to melt almost instantaneously.

For a perfectly smooth fondue, it takes about 15 minutes. You can see the progression below:

The First 5 minutes...

About 10 minutes...(add some seasoning here, like Cayenne or Paprika for some zest)

Here it is at 15 minutes...
Your ready to pour it into your crock pot, on the "keep warm" setting, it will bubble up from being poured into a heated pot, just keep stirring until it settles

I served with some yummy veggies and some whole wheat pita, and that baguette I mentioned earlier.

Then the hubby came and said..."NO way I'm fonduing without MEAT- "
He proceeded to grill up some sausage, OK now its man-friendly too!

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