If you only know me through this blog, you may not know what a foodie I am. There was a time in my life, when money was no object, that I drank expensive wine and cooked lavish meals all the time. Mr. Slippers and I hosted some serious cook offs, and generally lived it up. When the bunnies came along and we were working to make it on one income, money was certainly an object. I drew on my rural upbringing and creativity and found ways to feed us all very well on very little. Today I operate somewhere in the middle. I cook almost all of the food my family eats, it’s a challenge but I love it. Sometimes I triumph and sometimes I fail. I suspect many of you are in the same boat, so I thought it would be fun to welcome you all into my kitchen this year. We’ll kick off the first Bunnyslippers “Food Friday” with a recipe for our traditional New Year’s eve dinner, fondue.
On New Year’s eve 2005, my big bunny was 20 months old and I was pregnant with the little bunny. We were definitely NOT planning on going out but we wanted to do something special to celebrate (especially since champagne was not on the menu!). Like so many toddlers, big sister bunny was heavily into the “dipping” phase of food discovery, I’m also guessing Martha Stewart had a fondue recipe featured on her website that set off some sort of hormonal trigger for me. I made a traditional swiss cheese and kirsch fondue that we all picked at, and a chocolate fondue that MEZMERIZED the bunny. While it wasn’t a raging success, we all had enough fun with it that Mr. Slippers and I felt we should try it again in 2006. A tradition was born. I have to say this year we were at our fondue best. It might have something to do with the fact that the bunnies are both old enough to appreciate the cheese fondue now (that and champagne is back on the menu for us grownups), but it’s probably largely due to my new recipe.
I’m not going to lie to you, fondue is as fussy as it is fun (that’s really why I only attempt it once a year). You should have a fondue pot (I use a medium sized Rival one that my sister gave me for Christmas in 2006), or some sort of apparatus to keep the mixture warm, because it will turn into a hard, gloppy mess when it gets cold. Really that’s a great excuse to gobble it all up while it’s warm! I think this recipe was irresistible for both toddlers and grownups because I used a good amount of medium cheddar. If you’re still in the gourmet phase of your life, you may want to use all swiss or all handcrafted gruyere, I certainly would have!
Also, very important, around here we dip much more than bread in our fondue. Above you can see a roasted potato that I dunked late in the evening (just minutes after I got the inspiration for Food Friday… subsequent editions will have better pix!). A wide variety of meats (if you go there), crackers, olives, pickles, any kind of veggie, and this year’s new discovery, red grapes all go well with this. And just as flexible are the drink pairings. The bunnies thought sparkling blueberry juice was the perfect accompaniment, while I would suggest the same wine you use in the fondue. Champagne or even beer would also work well.
So yeah, I h ope you enjoy this… there’s more in store for next week!
BUNNYSLIPPERS’ CHEDDAR-SWISS FONDUE
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 cup dry white wine
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup medium cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup swiss cheese, shredded
1.5 Tablespoons cornstarch
Cut the clove of garlic in half and rub it all over the inside of your fondue pot (or a medium saucepan if you are not using a fondue pot). Add wine and lemon juice to the pot and bring to a boil. Meanwhile combine both cheeses and cornstarch in a large mixting bowl, tossing to coat cheese with cornstarch. When wine mixture is boiling, slowly stir cheese mixture into the pot. Continue stirring until cheese is melted. Reduce heat to low and serve with your choice of items to dip in the fondue.