Author Topic: Fondue  (Read 1394 times)

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Online IronDioPriest

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Fondue
« on: June 23, 2011, 01:30:33 PM »
Anybody enjoy fondue? We find it to be a nice way to break the routine of mealtime. One of our favorite restaurants is "The Melting Pot", a fondue restaurant. It's a little spendy, but it serves as an entire evening's worth of entertainment, as completing the several courses takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, depending on how leisurely you want to go about it. So if you look at the cost of dinner and a movie, dinner and drinks, etc, a trip to the Melting Pot probably comes out to be about the same money spent, and takes about the same amount of time.

We also like to fondue at home. We used to use the older style ceramic fondue pots with sterno flame heat, but with liquid sterno becoming harder to find, and the crappy quality of the sterno gel, we've gravitated to electric no-stick pots, and they work just fine - even better.

For those unfamiliar, fondue is just a cooking/eating style. Instead of a prepared meal, everyone receives a portion of food to be prepared/cooked in a pot at the center of the table on a long skewer-style fork. You prepare/cook your food one bite at a time. That tends to lead to a more relaxed pace of eating, leaving lots of room for conversation.

One of our favorites at home is a beef fondue complimented by a cheese fondue appetizer.

The beef is just whatever cut you like cooked a bite-at-a-time in some peanut oil heated in the pot to medium-high. You want the meat to bubble and sizzle, but not splatter. If it splatters, you're too hot. Obviously, the better cut of meat, the better the result, and leaner tends to work better than marbled. We usually do tenderloin when we splurge, sirloin when the budget demands it. Cube the meat into 1 to 1.5" chunks (I like thicker), distribute them according to appetite, skewer one, dunk it in the oil for as long as you like to get the result you like. Experiment with the heat of the oil. I've never used a thermometer because I know what the meat is supposed to look and sound like when it goes in. Also, multiple pieces of meat in the pot at once changes the temp of the oil, so you need to find that heat that works through experimentation. Generally, if you have the heat right, a medium rare piece of meat will come out with a little crisped exterior, and a well-done piece will be more crisped but not burnt.

*Important: Do not place raw meat on the plate you're eating from. Distribute the raw meat in a separate bowl or plate, cook it, and use a conventional fork to remove it from your fondue fork onto your eating plate.

Depending on the number of people, a couple salt shakers on the table is a good thing. We don't do steak sauce, but that's another option. It is absolutely delicious and simple.

Our cheese fondue recipe is tasty and simple.

Get a loaf or two of crusty French bread, and a few crisp apples. Cube bread & apples in advance. Soak apples in a little lemon water to stave off browning. Return cubed bread to bag and seal to prevent drying.

The cheese recipe is:
8 oz Muenster shredded
8 oz Gruyere shredded (We've tried cutting corners with a more conventional Swiss, and found the Gruyere to be key)
2 cans Campbell's Cheddar Cheese soup
2 tablespoons butter
1 slightly heaping tablespoon flour
Dashes of red wine to taste (we like Merlot for a more pronounced wine presence, Pinot Noir for a more subtle, fruity background)

Slow-heat the cheddar cheese soup, stirring frequently. Add the shredded cheese a little at a time, stirring continuously until melted, then adding a little more, until it's all in and smooth. Stir in butter until melted, then add flour. Last, stir in wine a tablespoon or two at a time, testing for taste by dipping a piece of the cubed bread until you have it how you want it. The recipe we received calls for 1 tablespoon of wine, and we've found that's not nearly enough. I'd guess we end up somewhere around 1/4 cup, but start small and work up to where you like it.

Serve either as an appetizer before the steak, or as an accompaniment, with two fondue pots going in the center of the table - one with peanut oil, the other with the cheese. A nice salad beforehand rounds out a wonderful dining experience.

The electric fondue pots are cheap at Target.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2011, 01:37:45 PM by IronDioPriest »
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Offline Sectionhand

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Re: Fondue
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2011, 02:49:37 PM »
I thought people stopped doing that thirty years ago .

Online IronDioPriest

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Re: Fondue
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2011, 03:23:59 PM »
I guess you thought wrong! (Melting Pot is always jam-packed).
"A strict observance of the written laws is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the end to the means."

- Thomas Jefferson

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Re: Fondue
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2011, 06:12:57 PM »
I thought people stopped doing that thirty years ago .

Yep. I remember when my mom "discovered" fondue. I'm surprised that she would serve it when us kids were around - after all we could devour an entire side of beef if they didn't pry us away from the table.

That was the only time I ever enjoyed lamb.

Online John Florida

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Re: Fondue
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2011, 10:46:17 PM »
I have to dig out the old fondu pot I know it's around here some place. It was a lot of fun.
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Offline Sectionhand

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Re: Fondue
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 03:47:14 AM »
I have to dig out the old fondu pot I know it's around here some place. It was a lot of fun.

Especially when your drunk friends stop by and knock it over ... That was the last time I ever "fondued" !

Offline Libertas

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Re: Fondue
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 06:31:40 AM »
Haven't had fondue in our clan for decades...

...I guess it's now fondon't...

...Plus, it's easy enough to whip up melted cheese & 'lil smokies without sterno now days.

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Re: Fondue
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2011, 09:05:24 AM »
I thought people stopped doing that thirty years ago .

Yep. I remember when my mom "discovered" fondue. I'm surprised that she would serve it when us kids were around - after all we could devour an entire side of beef if they didn't pry us away from the table.

That was the only time I ever enjoyed lamb.

I don't like the cheese or chocolate fondue, but sitting around the table with a pot of oil, a platter of meat and a few friends was always enjoyable.  Beef!  It's what's for dinner.
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