Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cheese, Gromit!

Cheese. I think it's my favorite food. Well, it's in my top five. Cheese was the first food that brought me out of Veganism. I like cheese the way Wallace likes cheese. 

Has anyone seen A Grand Day Out? If not, please do. I'm a huge fan of this pair. Classic cheese loving right there. [Spoiler alert: They fly to the MOON. For CHEESE.] So awesome.

Why a cheese posting? 

A) My cousin John posted this on his facebook page today: Cheese or Font?
      Cheese or font is a game. A fun one. Working in both journalism and culinary fields makes this an ideal geek-out for me. Thank you, John, for being so on top of things. 

B) I had a meeting with my friend (and current client) Katie regarding the menu for her 30th birthday, which is right around the corner. We decided some cheese fondue would be a nice middle-of-the-evening appetizer. Because it is both fun and delicious. 

C) I was planning on sharing a fondue recipe. With the nights getting colder and our cravings for comfort food growing stronger (I mean, c'mon, that's all I've been writing about lately!), it seems fitting to talk about warm, gooey, cheesey, veggie-dipping delight!

In doing some research about cheese fondue, I came across - a great little site with lots of classic recipes and a little background on fondue for all my fellow cheese junkies.

All cheese is not created equal, by the way. Fondues require melting cheeses. Gruyere is the primary cheese in traditional fondue. It's oh-so melty, with a flavor that's reminiscent of Swiss cheese (also known as Emmental cheese across the pond). If you don't have Gruyere, it isn't real fondue. Cheddar is a fine cheese for most applications, but it isn't great at melting. There's a high oil content in Cheddar that makes it a poor fit for our purposes today.

So, with no further adieu ... fondue:

1 cup Gruyere cheese
1 cup melting cheese of your choice (Swiss works, brie is a nice twist, get creative!)
1/3 cup dry white wine (I like chardonnay) 
a splash of lemon juice (around one tablespoon)
1 clove of garlic
 2 tsp. corn starch
1/2 oz. Kirsch (Kirsch is a clear liquor from Germany, made from black cherries. Kirsch is NOT sweet, so any replacement should omit sugars. I would try a pinch of almond extract instead.)
Spice ... this is per your taste ... I've used nutmeg before ... some folks like paprika ... Don't use too much, just enough to add a hint of flavor.

How does it work?? Rub the inside of your pot with the garlic clove. A cast iron pot would work really well for this. Add your wine and lemon juice. When that's hot, add your cheese and stir like a crazy-person. When it's starting to melt, add the corn starch and Kirsch (you can just use a water/starch slurry instead). Let all of this cook for a few minutes, then transfer to chafing dish. TADA!! That's a meal right there! Dip bread cubes, your favorite vegetables, meats, whatever you want covered in cheese! 

I think some fondue is in order this weekend. With a glass of that chardonnay. :-)

Happy hump day- we're halfway to the weekend, ya'll!

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