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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Fondue comes around again

Remember the '70s when trendy restaurants served cheese and beef fondue and, for dessert, rich chocolate fondue into which you dipped cubes of angel food cake and fresh fruit? I remember once ordering it when my ex- and I sat at a two-top and being told they didn't serve it at small tables--go figure on that one! But I also remember a restaurant called The Melting Pot that served nothing but various fondues--now long gone, along with a lot of other trends.
We all know that fondue has come around again, after several years of being ignored, although few restaurants offer it. But I see recipes here and there. I was casting about for something that would seem like a special treat to a five-year-old so we could have our own New Year's Eve party, and the idea of fondue came to me. But I wasn't sure he'd like Gruyere and Emmenthal, and they're awfully expensive to experiment with on a child. So I searched the web and came up with a fondue made with cheddar. Whoever posted it said it was  specifical favorite of his children.
I got Jacob's mom to bring her fondue pot--sure, I have one but where?  The fondue was a hit--Jacob ate and ate but even then, there was leftovers. The next day, I offered it to him for lunch but he would have none of it unless I got out the pot and did it the proper way. I put it in a heat-proof glass dish, even got out the forks, but he was not in a Happy New Year mood. I enjoyed it. But the first day back to school, I'm sure he was the only kindergartner at his school who asked for and got fondue (with Ritz crackers by now) for an after-school snack. I snuck a couple of bites myself.

Here's the recipe I used although I halved it:

1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
Dash pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. sliced green onion
2-1/2 c. shedded Wisconsin sharp cheese (I actually used Tillamook, from Oregon)

Melt the butter, stir in flour, salt and pepper, garlic powder, and add milk a bit at a time, stirring well,  to make a white sauce. Add the green onion (I left them out because Jacob's dad has a thing about "little green things" and I was afraid he'd passed it on, but the onion would add a good flavor and look colorful). Stir until melted. Serve in fondue pot with chunks of crusty bread. I think what makes it so good is the rich garlic taste, but I'd take this another time over the fancy Gruyere/Emmenthal version.

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