Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fondue for Your Mama!

It’s almost my day!  OK, ok….it’s a day for all mothers, but believe me….I milk it for all it’s worth.  I love getting breakfast in bed, getting little gifts from my kids, and not having to lift a finger all day.  Well, the “not lifting a finger” thing never really happens, but one can always dream.

One thing I really like on Mother’s Day is watching my husband attempt to cook dinner for us.  Let’s get one thing straight here….the hubs in not a cook.  I mean, he can’t even make boxed macaroni and cheese.  Everything about the kitchen befuddles him.   But on Mother’s Day, he steps up to the plate and cooks dinner.  And the last few years have been a doozy….because he finally found something he can make.  He found a few of my recipes for fondue, so now in our house, Mother’s Day is Fondue Night!  And it is my favorite night.

I have always loves fondue, ever since I was a kid.  I love the idea of everyone sitting around a steaming bowl of melty cheese, and dipping bread chunks into the cheese until you can’t stuff anymore in you.  It is a meal that brings your family together.  You can’t eat fondue in your room while watching TV.  You have to be with a group.  You have to be involved.  And really, what mom doesn’t want all her family at the table enjoying dinner together?  This is why fondue is the perfect Mother’s Day meal.

I am a fan of the old standard fondue, or course, but I won’t be giving you a recipe for that.  You know, the Swiss cheese fondue that people normally think of when they hear fondue?  There are recipes everywhere for that, so you can surely find a recipe for that on your own.  My only suggestion is to substitute white grape juice for the wine and Kirsch if you are feeding kids.  My kids can sniff wine out in anything.

Speaking of my kids….my first fondue recipe that my husband likes to make is one I call “Kid’s Fondue”.  Because yes, this is the one my kids love, and the one they always ask for.  I start with a jar of pasta sauce, any flavor, you pick. I usually choose a meaty pasta sauce. I also use a pound of processed cheese product….yes, Velveeta.  Remember, this is for kids!  I melt the two of these together with a bit of red wine (yep, the kids know it’s there) and a bit of beef stock. 

Once this has all melted together, it really is heavenly.  You will be surprised that something so simple can be so amazing.  I give the kids chunks of sourdough bread, chunks of salami, ravioli and roasted broccoli as dippers.  They are as happy as clams with this.

My second fondue recipe is my favorite, so it is the one that my husband always makes sure to make me for Mother’s Day.  I call it Smoked Cheddar and Apple Fondue.  I use apple juice, a smoky cheddar, Fontina cheese, nutmeg, salt, pepper and Dijon mustard.

I start by grating the cheeses.  Sometimes it helps to pop the cheeses in the freezer for a few minutes to get a better grate.  Once the cheeses are grated, and I use about half pound each, I toss the cheeses with a couple of tablespoons of corn starch.  The corn starch is absolutely necessary for a smooth fondue.  It stabilizes the cheese and keeps it from getting stringy, or seizing up.

Then, I add my apple juice to a medium sized pot.  I heat the apple juice to a simmer, and then I add the cheeses that have been coated in corn starch.  I cook this slowly over medium heat so that the cheese can melt.  Once the cheese is melted and smooth, I stir in a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper.  I also stir in a heaping spoonful of Dijon mustard.

See how easy that is?  Fondue is the perfect thing to make if you are a newbie cook.

The apple juice and smoky cheddar are amazing together.  I love the combination of sweet and salty in this.  I like to serve this fondue with bread, of course, but also fresh green apple slices.  Sometimes I will round out the dippers with boiled potatoes and chunks of grilled chicken, but the bread is always the first to go.

Are you wondering how I keep my delicious fondues warm for serving?  No, I don’t have a plethora of fondue pots.  I have one tiny fondue pot which I like to use for a dessert fondue (we will get to that in a bit), but I mainly utilize my slow cookers for fondue.  I like to keep the slow cooker on “warm” which seems to be the perfect setting for fondue.  I also have used a Pyrex or glass dish that I have warmed in the oven beforehand.  The dish will retain the heat and keep the fondue warm for a bit.  You may just have to eat fast.

We are finally to the best part….the dessert!  I prefer the old standby….chocolate fondue.  But I jazz mine up, of course.  I like to make my Dark Chocolate Fondue with Philadelphia Snack Delights.  Have you heard of this?  It is relatively new.  It is basically flavored cream cheese, which isn’t new, but these flavors are.  The flavors are all sweet, dessert type flavors like Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate, Caramel and Cinnamon.

I use a whole tub of Dark Chocolate cream cheese, semi-sweet chocolate chips, heavy cream and a dash of orange extract.  I melt this all together, stirring constantly, until it is smooth and delicious.  The cream cheese gives the fondue an extra creamy tanginess that you don’t normally get in a chocolate fondue.  And the orange extract takes this to a whole new level.  I LOVE orange and dark chocolate together.

I serve my Dark Chocolate Fondue with chunks of pound cake, strawberries, marshmallows, pretzel rods and graham crackers.  I bet you could come up with some pretty good dippers too.


Can you think of a better way to end Mother’s Day then this fondue?  If you have a mom or even just know a really good mom, you must make these for her for Mother’s Day.  Gather ‘round the whole family….and get to dippin’!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you amazing moms out there!  And don’t forget to come see Gourmet Rooster and many other fabulous vendors at the Mother’s Day Farmers Market at the Summit Mall on Sunday, May 12th, 10am to 3pm!


Kid’s Fondue

16 ounces tomato pasta sauce, any flavor

16 ounces processed cheese product (Velveeta), diced

½ cup red wine

½ cup beef broth

In a medium sized sauce pan, bring wine and broth to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce heat to medium and add sauce and diced cheese.  Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted and fondue is smooth.

Serve in a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm.

Feeds 6 hungry kids


Smoky Cheddar and Apple Fondue

8 ounces smoked cheddar, grated

8 ounces Fontina cheese, grated

2 tablespoons corn starch

1 cup apple juice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard

Toss grated cheeses with corn starch.

IN a medium sized sauce pan, heat apple juice to a simmer over medium heat.  Add cheeses and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until cheese is melted and smooth.  Stir in nutmeg, salt, pepper and mustard.

Serve in a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm.

Serves 4 to 6


Dark Chocolate Fondue

8 ounces Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese (Philadelphia Snack Delights)

12 pounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons orange extract

IN a medium sized pot, melt together chocolate cream cheese, chocolate chips and heavy cream over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Once chocolate is smooth, stir in orange extract.

Serve in a fondue pot or slow cooker to keep warm.

Serves 4 to 6

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