Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm Melting and So Is My Cheese

During this economic downturn everyone I know is trying to save a few pennies.  I decided rather than head out to the grocery store that I would rummage through my refrigerator and try to make something out of nothing. In the back of the cheese drawer I found what I was looking for -  two different kinds of Swiss cheese.  Since it has been at least 90 degrees, here in Indianapolis, the smart thing to have made would have been a nice cool cheese plate, but my mind kept returning to Switzerland and fondue. Hot gooey, yummy fondue. Mike, my better half, and I were fortunate to take a trip to the Swiss Alps in 2006.  One day we took a hike through the Alps.  It was a cool 35 degrees, foggy and misty.  After two miles we came to a tiny village called Kleine-Scheidegg. We ate a wonderful lunch of cheese fondue, bread and new potatoes and had a lovely German beer. Just the thing to warm us on a chilly afternoon.

Me in Switzerland

Ignoring the Indiana heat I began my preparation of cheese fondue - something I normally consider a winter dish.  I lifted the recipe from the instruction booklet that came with my Cuisinart Electric Fondue Pot - CFO-3SS.

Classic Cheese Fondue
Makes 6-8 servings

1 pound Gruyere cheese (not processed), grated
3/4 pound Emmenthal cheese, grated
6 teaspoons cornstarch
1-1/2  teaspoons dry mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled, cut in half
2-1/4 cups dry white wine (not chardonnay*)
2-1/2 tablespoons Kirschwasser

Place the grated (I always use my food processor) cheeses in a large bowl and toss to combine. Add the cornstarch and dry mustard and toss to coat the grated cheese completely. Reserve.
Rub the bottom and lower half of the sides of the fondue pot with the cut sides of the garlic cloves. Add wine to the fondue pot. Turn the temperature to Setting 5 (medium) and bring the wine to a strong simmer (bubbling, but not boiling strongly). While stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or nonstick whisk, gradually whisk in the grated cheeses, sprinkling in one handful at a time; don't add any more cheese until each handful is completely melted and smooth. The mixture will slowly thicken. When all the cheese has been added, stir in the Kirschwasser and serve. Reduce the temperature setting of the fondue pot to setting 3 (medium-low). The fondue should just simmer; it should never boil.

*I always use Chardonnay because that is what I always have at home. It tastes just fine to me!

Mary & Mike enjoying fondue - note the shorts!

I'm not sure we saved any pennies by eating the left-over cheese. To compensate for the heat we had to lower the thermostat. Perhaps we will know once the electric bill arrives. Life is good -enjoy!

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