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Fondue and Football

What do you think of when you hear the word fondue? Snow topped Swiss Mountains, cows with clanging bells that we only hear at ski races and steam filled wooden clad restaurants where the air is permeated with the smell of melted cheese?

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We’ve experienced these warm cozy venues under the Matterhorn‘s shadow and enjoyed true Swiss hospitality high in the mountains with good friends. However, what comes to mind over all, is a crazy combination of Swiss hospitality and an American pastime.

My husband grew up with a New Years Day tradition of fondue and football. So when there are back to back bowl games playing on New Years Day, his family and friends gather and instead of chips and dip they dipped their cubed  bread into the Swiss cheese and yelled at the t.v.

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Wanting to continue that family tradition we now host a Methow style fondue and football New Year’s Day party. Opening our doors to friends and family we mix up batches of creamy fondue, and have the games on the tube.

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Personalizing the party we’ve added options for those who think it barbaric to sit and holler at the little people on the screen or just can’t sit still. These folks can stand outside in the below freezing weather and warm their tushies by the outdoor fire and enjoy their brew of choice. Adults get beer, children hot chocolate, we even tried serving fondue outside with an electric pot but I think the jury is still out on that. If you are curious we found the metal pot allows the cheese to separate easier than the ceramic pots but then again it could have been the sub zero temps!

sledding fun

sledding fun

fondue to go

fondue to go

finding the hot spot

finding the hot spot

A party like this only works if everyone pitches in. We ask that our guests bring a hunk of Swiss cheese for melting and something to dip. Then everyone jumps in and helps during the party. Besides the football, sledding and skiing there are always other games to play, easy party ones such as find your boots and kids mittens, those who’ve attended before have learned to bring their most unique outerwear for easy finding.

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Recipe for Fondue and Football [serves 2 or keep making it and it will serve 150 hungry folks].
A community of friends willing to bring bread, cheese and celebrate football and snow.

All that you need:

2 1/2 cups shredded cheese ( Swiss: Emmenthaler, Gruyere, Jarlsberg)
1 1/2 Tbs flour
1 clove garlic
1 cup dry white wine
salt, pepper and nutmeg
1Tbs Kierschwasser
day old baguette style bread cubed (for dipping)
veggies broccoli, potatoes, cauliflower, etc (steamed for dipping)
fondue fuel for your pot, extra fondue forks

Action:

Dredge cheese with flour
rub garlic on the inside of the pot place over stove
add and heat wine until small bubbles form
reduce heat slightly and add cheese slowly in small amounts while stirring
warm the Kierschwasser and add it to the pot
if needed thin with warm wine
sprinkle salt and pepper nutmeg on top to taste

Extras:

Make ahead: I prepare for this party well in advance, stocking up on Swiss cheese when it’s on sale or buying it in bulk. I shred the cheese ahead of time and pop it in the freezer for later use.

What to do with left over cubed fondue bread? How about bite sized French toast? Or Croutons for soup and salad toppings?
Or if you find yourself with an over abundance of shredded cheese, it’s perfect for that quick quiche recipe to speed up a week night dinner.

En Guete!

34921_1516141470766_1451349916_1355781_1679178_n_21  Rachelle@ Caramelize Life

Which came first?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The age old question has baffled and tormented philosophers and lay folk like myself when it comes to mind. It is a great question to ponder over your breakfast quiche in the morning, but inevitability I soon feel like a gerbil on a spinning wheel or lost in a maze of repeating fractals and phew! I’ve finished breakfast and on to other thoughts.

Or, I could answer the question…neither came first!  I say it was the Bunny that came first. That’s right the sweet little guy who comes around each Spring, filling baskets with rainbow colored eggs. No chicken lays rainbow eggs so it’s got to be the Bunny. Ok, a few lay blue, green, brown, and white eggs but I’ve seen none with swirls…and how about the fancy glittery ones?

A few years ago I had the task of explaining to my 5 year old why the Easter Bunny brought baskets full of colored eggs…why isn’t it an Easter Chicken? I think we’ve got a budding philosopher in the family. How do you answer such an inquiry? Quick on my feet, I said nothing. Instead I started placing decorated eggs in the chicken coop.  Ok, now the gig is up and thankfully she doesn’t have a Facebook account or read this blog just yet because she is in that space of wanting to believe but really smart enough to know that neither bring those beautiful eggs and chocolate. Come to think of it, I may still be in that stage as well.

Yes, that’s right: it is all complete nonsense. If you want fresh eggs you’ll need a baby chick and if you don’t already have eggs that are ready to hatch, you have two options; stop by your local feed store because right about now they should be stocking sweet little peeps to fill your coop. Or, you go BIG (25 or more chicks) and order a flock from a reputable hatchery.  The next step is to wait.  The post office will call which usually wakes me from some wonderful dream like Spring break trips to Hawaiian beaches, of which I am not on if I am receiving that call. They will most likely be yelling into the phone over the cacophonous peeping in the background. This call first thing is to let you know your one day old chicks have arrived and would you PLEASE come down as soon as possible to pick them up. A flock in a box as we call it. I wonder if this only happens in America?

The latter is the path my daughters chose when they ventured into their aptly named egg business, Sister Chicks…more on their adventures at a later date. If you do go BIG then be prepared for lots of eggs = the need for recipes that use all those eggs, like your stack of summer zucchini recipes. The ones you needed when you found someone had secretly filled your mail box with orphan zuchs…again, a post for another time. Returning back to scrumptious recipes that include eggs, here’s a favorite of ours at Caramelize Life.

Savory Mushroom Quiche

If you have time to make your own, I love Blue Bird Grain Farms whole-grain-crust recipe the best and works great to make extra, stored in the freezer for the days you don’t. However, if today is that such day where you find yourself short on time, many grocery stores carry pre-made pie crusts, just be sure to choose one without sugar.

Crust ingredients (using Blue Bird Grain Farms recipe):

1/2 cup Bluebird whole grain soft white or hard red flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled butter
3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Quiche ingredients:

2 cups grated Swiss Cheese (Gruyère is my favorite and we usually have some in the freezer leftover from fondue nights  otherwise any Swiss cheese will work).
4-6 organic free range eggs
1 large yellow onion minced
1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms sliced
3 Tbsp organic butter
7.5 oz  Crème Fraîche  ( I use the Bellwether Farms but if you want to make your own you can add a bit of buttermilk to cream).
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of grated nutmeg
1/2 cup organic milk or half and half.

~ Preheat oven to 375f,  190c, gas mark 5

~ Saute’ minced onion and sliced mushrooms in butter with salt and pepper over medium heat until onions are golden and set aside.

~Cover the bottom of the crust with 1 1/2 cups cheese. Reserve the rest for the filling.

~Assemble the filling; beat eggs with Crème Fraîche, milk, and salt, pepper and nutmeg .

~Pour mushroom and onions over cheese layer and then add liquid filling mixing in the last bit of cheese with a little for the top.

~ Bake for 40 minutes, test with a knife in the for solid center.

Yields; One  nine-inch pie or 4-6 servings.
Can be doubled easily.
Freezes fine, just thaw in the refrigerator and reheat.
Great for lunch boxes, breakfast, appetizers or a main dish.

*On many occasions we mix it up and add steamed broccoli, sautéed spinach, salmon, bacon, tomatoes, soft cheeses such as Camembert or anything else that we have in the refrigerator that sounds good.

Happy pondering!

Rachelle @ caramelizelife.

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