Yes, yes, trust me to find the Wizard of Oz angle in cooking. Because that’s what we are doing today: we are cooking! So, buckle up for the first installment of “Miss Woodhouse’s Culinary Kitchen.” Don’t worry, we won’t be making venison stew.
*waits to see if anyone gets the joke*
Okay then, we’ll work on your movie quote education later. For now, we cook!
First up is Three-Cheese Fondue.
Assemble your ingredients. For this recipe you will need:
– A Tablespoon of butter
– A Tablespoon of flour
– 1 Cup dry white wine. I tapped into my vast wine knowledge *coughGOOGLEcough* and picked out a nice little Pinot Grigio that would compliment but not overpower my cheeses.
This was the most time-intensive part of the whole process. I am admittedly unversed in the world of wine, and naively assumed that I could waltz into the wine section with a few names and be fine. Unfortunately, I did not take into account the limited selection of Harris Teeter’s wine list- I scoured the French wines to no avail and there were no Swiss wines. What’s up with that? The rest of the white wines were Rieslings, which I was told would be too sweet. So there you go, you know as much about wine as I do.
– 7 oz. Emmentaler. This is the first time that I’ve had Emmentaler on it’s own, and quite frankly I’m in love! <3 It’s not a hard cheese, but it does have a nice, firm texture.
Mostly, I was surprised by the flavour. For some reason, I expected it to be a bland, mild, sort of like a BabyBell. I don’t know why I thought this, but there it is.
So, I was pleasantly surprised that it is really nice, with a little bite to it. Yay! I think I’ve found another new cheese to add to add to my favourites list.
– 7 oz. Gruyere. This is the fondue cheese to end all fondue cheeses. Nice and hard, with a smoky finish, it’s long been a favourite cheese of mine.
Personally, I’m content to eat it on its own with some sesame crackers. However, I needed to cube it up for the fondue. Impressively, it cut up very nicely (meaning that even though it was only 3/4 of an inch thick, I easily could cut it in half.) (And for those of you who don’t live with me, I’m not the most talented person when it comes to slicing cheese.)
– 7 oz. Sharp Cheddar. This was, by far, the most impressive find today. All the recipe called for was a sharp cheddar, and let me tell you, I love a sharp cheddar. My family, well, they tend to not like their cheese so sharp. Case in point, over the holidays I bought an x-sharp cheese, and was disappointed that it was so mild. They found it unbearable.
Unfortunately, the only sharp the store had was “X-Rated.” I didn’t want my family to be miserable, so I went with this modest little British made cheddar.
Quite frankly, it’s amazing. I can’t wait to buy it again!
Okay, so there we are, ingredients at the ready.
WAIT A MINUTE!!!! Something’s missing…hmmm, what could it be?
Ahh, much better. Now, we can begin.
Fondue is super simple. First, you take the butter, pop it in the pan. Then, take the flour and mix it in. Stir constantly with a whisk for about 5 minutes- you are basically making a roux sauce. Besides, mixing in the flour now will keep your fondue from being clumpy later on. Or so they say.
Okay, so while you are stirring the roux, you should have your white wine bubbling away in another pan to burn off some of the potency. Granted, if you are going for a real buzz, you can just pour it in straight from the bottle. However, I’m cooking for an under-aged kid, and CPS likes it if you don’t give kids alcohol. Fancy that!
Once you’ve sufficiently cooked the wine, pour it into your roux pan. It will make a big splash, sizzle, and put off lots of steam. Don’t be afraid; just take a deep breath and move on to the next step. Your cheese should be cubed by now:
Add the cheese cubes to your roux and wine and stir.
You can even play with your fondue as it begins to melt.
If music be the food of love, play on!
Told ya’ so.
At long last, your fondue should be ready to eat! Ideally, it will look something like this:
Yup, it was pretty amazing!
Now, let’s talk about dippers.
You can always go with the traditional bread. I bought three artisan breads for tonight: Organic Whole Wheat, Italian Round, and a Olive and Herb Filone. The filone was a last minute impulse choice, and boy was it a good one! I highly recommend it.
We also put out some veggies: carrots, celery, and cauliflower. It’s best to just chunk these up and serve them raw as they provide a nice counterpoint to the cheese.
Red sweet grapes and Granny Smith apples are two other favourites of mine!
I did do some recipe-less cooking tonight for one of the dippers. You see, I’ve got a teenaged brother who can eat us out of house and home. I figured that he probably needed more for dinner than fancy bread and cheese, so I fixed up a chicken dipper. It was really, really good, if I do say so myself!
Chunk up your chicken:
Throw some butter, white wine, green onions, and garlic into a hot skillet:
Toss in your chicken; the pieces should be covered about halfway:
Let them cook for a while in the liquid, adding more wine as needed. I even added in some thyme for extra flavour!
Thyme for Chicken!
When they are mostly cooked, let the liquid boil down so they will get some colour and a bit of a crust on them. That’s it! Super simple, but very delicious. I’m thinking about doing the chicken again soon over pasta with some sort of olive oil sauce.
Okay, so there’s another minor component to this meal. With that much cheese and bread, you do want something somewhat healthy. I filled this square with a simple organic salad: lettuce, carrots, celery, and walnuts. Nothing too fancy, but it complimented all the other flavours well.
Okay, I did dessert too, but you all will have to come back for that. Thanks for cooking with Miss Woodhouse!
If you have a favourite fondue recipe, dipper, cheese, or side, leave it in the comments! I’m always looking for food suggestions.