One of my family’s favorite restaurants is The Melting Pot – a truly great fondue place. It is actually pretty family friendly, for a fairly nice place – assuming that your kids are well-behaved and open to dining experiences that don’t involve ketchup packets. It is our restaurant of choice for ALL birthdays, but it … Continue reading “Cheese Fondue”
One of my family’s favorite restaurants is The Melting Pot – a truly great fondue place. It is actually pretty family friendly, for a fairly nice place – assuming that your kids are well-behaved and open to dining experiences that don’t involve ketchup packets. It is our restaurant of choice for ALL birthdays, but it is expensive and time-consuming for day-to-day dining (not to mention that the only location in my town is at the OPPOSITE end of the city), so I thought it would be wise to come up with some sort of at-home substitute. This is my first attempt at the cheese course; we just made a dinner out of cheese and veggies (and leftover banana cake!). The recipe that I started with said to take one garlic clove, rub it on the inside of the cooking pot and then discard it. Hah! I would never do that and frankly just don’t understand why anyone would. If you want garlic in something, put it in…..but rub it on the pot and throw it away? That just seems silly. We LOVE garlic around here. I’d find a way to put it in dessert if I could (Candied Garlic Cheesecake with Sweet Balsamic Glaze?, Garlic Creme Brulee with Basil Coulis?, Roasted Garlic Mousse with Pinon Tuile?), so I just sauteed it and threw it in. If you’re not a garlic lover, feel free to ignore my recipe and rub your garlic anywhere you want……
It still doesn’t compare to the Melting Pot – their service is always excellent and my cheese was missing some little “zing” that I couldn’t place, but this was still GREAT and surprisingly quick and easy to throw together for a busy weeknight (one volleyball game, one occupational therapy session, one Taekwondo class……….and a partridge in a pear tree).
I know this recipe has a considerable amount of alcohol in it for a “family” meal. My theory is that the cheese is hot enough that the alcohol boils out. If I’m wrong, the worst case scenario is that Boy and Girl will sleep REALLY well tonight! Feel free to simmer a little longer (the cheese can actually bubble a little once it’s all “done”, if you stir continuously and keep the heat really low), if you should have concerns about this and want to be sure that the alcohol is completely cooked off.
Hubby only likes red wine, not white, and refuses to drink out of a stemmed glass. Our Italian gourmand brother-in-law introduced hubby to the concept of drinking wine out of small tumblers and that’s his method of choice now – hence the glass disparity.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. kirschwasser (cherry brandy liqueur)
a dash of salt, white pepper and nutmeg
Your choice of “dippers”: bread cubes, baby carrots, cauliflower and broccoli florets, halved baby Roma tomatoes, Granny Smith apple chunks, etc.
Toss cheeses and cornstarch together (I used a Ziploc). Saute garlic in a very small amount of olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan until just barely softened. Add wine and bring to a VERY slow simmer over low heat (don’t let wine boil). Stir in lemon juice. Add cheese/cornstarch mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring in a figure-8 pattern, rather than in circles (this keeps the cheese from sloshing out of the pan or clumping into a ball), until cheese is all melted. Stir in kirschwasser, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Put cheese in your fondue pot and dig (dip?) in!