Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20th - Swiss Fondue

Breakfast was two Activia Yogurt pots. The individual sized which is far to small just to have one for breakfast. I got the non-non-fat. I had one Peach and one Prune. You can really taste the difference. I am sorry. Low-Fat just doesn't do it all the time. As well, I'm pretty sure that there isn't the same level of pro-biotic cultures in the low-fat variety.

Lunch, I had a small portion of the Jerk Fish from Dinner and few spears of aspargus and a dollop of the Bap I didn't finish.

Dinner, we had the Trader Joe's Emmenthal fondue I bought in San Francisco. I am a big fan of the pre-packaged fondue packs. But I insist that you read the ingredients. There shouldn't be much more than cheese, a few thickners and alchohol. The real goods for alcohol in a fondue is Kirsch ie. a cherry based liqueur. I doesn't taste like cherry. But it definitely goes well with the nutty Emmenthal and adds a lovely bite. SO, there should not be any ingredients on the pack that you would not have in your cupboard, typically.

We bought a large head of broccoli on our way home as well as a slightly stale baguette. Actually, it was accidentaly since it was the last baguette that Apple Hill Market had and it was on clearance. But for Fondue, a slightly stale baguette is better. They won't fall apart and they hold the cheese better.

Cut the baguette into 1inch cubes. ie. cut 1 inch slices and then cut those in half. Put in a basket and set aside.
Wash the broccoli. Now I don't mind raw broccoli in a fondue or cauliflour but for both, it might be better for your digestive system ;-) to steam them briefly. Now I start cutting the broccoli from the stem end in dipable sizes. As I start to hit the spears, I make sure that the spears that fall off are also dippable, mouthful sized. If not, them cut them in half. Bring a small amount of water in a med-large sauce pan to a boil with a steamer basket inside. Load the stem bits first, and pile in the rest. Feel free to jam them in there, it's not meant to be pretty for dipping. Steam them for about 3-5 minutes or until you start to see the fogging on the glass lid clear up because the water has started to condense and you can see that the broccoli have become bright green. That's the al dente level that will be great for the fondue. Now, you can pull the whole basket out and put on a plate to drain. Or you can leave in the pot off the heat if you want them softer.

Take your fondue pot. I'm pretty insistent that for a cheese fondue, your pot be an enamel coated cast iron pot. Yes, that means you can use a Crueset or their ilk. I don't believe in the ceramic or the steel. The steel because it's got a 'cold' feeling for cheese. Now they're okay for the 'Chinese' fondue, broth or the french bourgignon(I know I've spelled that wrong), the oil and beef cubes. The ceramics are bullexcrement. they cannot withstand the heat. Most fondues need to be made on the stove top or heated on the stove if you're using a kit. That ceramic nonsense can't take it. Now, yeah, you can use it on a tea light but the chafing flame heaters are too hot for them as well. I bought one once and it cracked. I returned it. I said, that under normal usage, this shouldn't have happened. They agreed. I've had my cast iron enamel one for over ten years.

You only need about 1T or 2 of blue chafing fuel (liquid) for two people to go through one packet of cheese. If you're using the solid chafing light, then it doesn't matter. You just cover it to extinguish. But for the liquid, you don't want to leave any in the light thingy. If you have to extinguish with the cover before it burns out, then burn it off after.

Take a clove of garlic and cut in half. Rub all over the inside of the pot. Use both halves and some elbow grease. Really work it in there. You won't taste it like garlic toast since it will cook. But you will notice it if you leave it out. Open the pack and put into the pot on low heat. Scrape as much as you can out of the foil pack. Turn the heat up slowly as it starts to melt and stir with a wooden spoon. It must be a wooden spoon. Metal will scratch the enamel and plastic will melt. The heat should not go about medium. When it starts to gently bubble, add 1t of white pepper or black if you prefer and a good 1t of nutmeg fresh. If you're using preground, only use 1/2 tsp. That stuff tends not to be as subtle and since it's so fine ground, the flavour goes further.

Light the chafing thingy and serve the cheese. We also had a red bell pepper sliced into spears. Dip away with your crazy scary fondue forks. Now the rule is, if you drop your food into the pot, ie. you lose full contact with it, you must do the dishes.

I had my chardonnay again since I bought a case and D doesn't want to open anything else because he's on detox but I have to say, it was perfect with the cheese. It didn't go so well with the Noodles the other night. That didn't surprise me. Asian food, spicy in particular, should be served with a sweeter wine like Riesling or Gerwurtztraminer.

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