Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Fondue Dinner

We have been so fortunate to have been able to celebrate Valentine's Day out at a restaurant for the past 10 years, but this year, (our 11th Valentine's Day together - crazy!), we have no babysitter.  So instead, I attempted to create a fun, romantic, and slightly sexy dinner at home that everyone could enjoy.  The kids might get in the way of the romantic and sexy part of the evening, but a girl can dream, right?

Tonight I got the idea to make a cheese fondue based on a recipe I saw on "The Chew".  I ended up using a Rachel Ray recipe from one of her cookbooks, a cheddar beer fondue.  This is not exactly a healthy meal, just one celebrating a holiday and had a good time doing it at home.  I served blanched broccoli florets, raw red peppers, raw mushrooms, sourdough bread cubes, seared and sliced bratwurst, and waffle fries (fries and cheese??? Yummy!) with the fondue.  I also made a mixed green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce.  Everything was as delicious as you could imagine.  I wish I had room to eat more.  For dessert we'll be enjoying fresh strawberries and bananas dipped in melted dark chocolate along with the homemade heart-shaped cutouts with vanilla buttercream frosting that we made yesterday, (that recipe to come later).  Yes, nothing about this meal is "diet friendly" so forgive me for getting off the Healthy Home Revolution theme.  I've just been dying to try out the fondue pot I got for our wedding almost 6 years ago!  Now that I know how easy it is to make, I'll make it more often (or at least for cocktail parties).

Happy Cooking!
Cheese Fondue
recipe based on and Rachel Ray's
2 cups good quality shredded sharp Cheddar, one that will melt well (ask your grocer - I used Cabot seriously sharp cheddar)
1 cup shredded gouda (I used red wax gouda)
1 T all-purpose flour
1 cup German lager beer
2 T dijon mustard
A few drops hot sauce
A few drops Worcestershire sauce

Combine cheeses in a bowl with flour. Add beer to a small pot and bring up to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to simmer and add cheese in handfuls. Stir constantly, melting the cheese in batches. Stir in a figure-eight pattern with wooden spoon. When the cheese has been incorporated fully, stir in the mustard, hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Transfer fondue to warm fondue pot.  My fondue pot is cast iron and can be used right on the stove top, so I just transferred the entire pot to the stand.  Perfectly yummy!  And it was fun to do at home.  Enjoy!

the cheese
Cheesy goodness - and you can smell the beer too.  I forgot to get a closeup of the fondue.  The hubby was too excited to start eating. 
The dippers - red pepper, mushrooms, blanched broccoli, bratwurst, waffle fries and a separate plate ot sourdough bread cut into cubes.
And just had to show the shrimp cocktail - equally delicious.  Love to make my own cocktail sauce with lots of horseradish.

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