Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Fondue Party Ideas

If visions of a bubbling, harvest-gold pot of cheese take you back to the 70's, flash forward to today's fondue: a fun, unique and social centerpiece featuring all kinds of delicious dipping possibilities. From traditional hunks of bread dipped in melted cheese to today's trendy fondue options, imagine all the ways fondue could transform an ordinary meal into something special- without spending a lot of money.

For the first course of your fondue dinner, you can mix up your own concoction of cheese fondue. Try the following recipe:

Two Cheese Fondue
1 c. milk
1 Tbsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. flour
2 c. Gruyére cheese, shredded
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese

In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together milk, butter, garlic and flour; cook for 5 minutes. Gradually add Gruyére and cheddar cheeses; stir until melted. Transfer cheese mixture to fondue pot. Keep warm.

If your looking for a nice, leisurely meal full of good conversation, cooking meat and seafood fondue-style is the way to go. It takes longer than typical quick-fix meals, but it's worth the time to gather around the 'fire' to cook a main course together. When starting with uncooked meat or seafood, you'll need to fill and heat the fondue pot with oil for cooking. Cut up your steak, chicken or fish into 1/2 to 1-inch chunks, which you'll spear individually and then cook for approximately 3 minutes in the oil. (To save time use cooked shrimp. Fill your fondue pot with a buttery oil mix, skewer the shrimp and enjoy hot, buttery shrimp fondue in seconds.)

Perhaps the best part of fondue- at least for those with a sweet tooth- is dessert. There are many indulgent choices when it comes to your fondue finale. Lots of goodies go well with sweet melted concoctions, from cubes of cake to marshmallow-crispy rice bars and beyond. Fruit is great because it allows you to enjoy something nutritious and tasty in combination with a little luxury like chocolate or caramel. One of the most popular fruits to dip is fresh Strawberries.

Mexican cheese fondue- meatballs, chips, cubed bread
Broths- seafood, meats
Chocolate- rice crispy squares, apple slices, strawberries, marshmallows, pound cake, angel food cake, bananas
Marinara- French bread, meatballs
Sweet and sour- won tons, meatballs

A Brief Fondue History. Fondue is a centuries-old Swiss creation born of a need to make the dried-out winter stores of cheese and bread more palatable. Village peasants would melt the cheese in a communal pot, add wine or brandy and dip the crusty bread into it. The first easy fondue recipe was born. The delicious concoction, named Fondue from the French word meaning to blend or to melt, became both a meal and a social event. Fondue is still a social event, but oh so much more than a peasant's meal. It's a festive dinner, an elegant dessert, a fun party dip. Even though chocolate fondue recipes were a few hundred years late getting here, it was worth the wait.

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