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Fun With Fondue!


If winter's chill has zapped you with a teeth-chattering case of the boredom blues, invite your friends over to heat up a frosty night. Here's our step-by-step guide to hosting a foolproof fondue feast! 
 
Searching for a super-social, super-fun, super-delicious way to melt away those winter woes? Hosting a fondue party is a surefire way to turn up the temps this holiday season-at least for the night. If you're pooped from played-out pizza parties, fondue adds a funky unexpected twist to the ho-hum party scene. 

Fondue spices up any well-planned sleepover party, and it's a snap to throw together for any impromptu to do! No need to slave away in the kitchen for days on end. No delivery guy banging on your door and dumping off semi-hot, run-of-the-mill food that's been shoved into mini cardboard boxes. Fondue is...shall we say...a more stress-free, more civilized crowd-pleaser.

Dude, Where's my Fondue? 

If Mom's never busted out her old-school, pea green fondue pot-the one she's had since way before you were born, shame on her! Chances are, it's stashed away with her John Lennon specs and those plaid polyester bell-bottoms. Dare to venture into the attic and dust off that dinosaur! Like all good things, fondue was way hot, then it fizzled and spent the next couple decades pushed to the back burner. But it's baaaack! And now is the perfect time for you and your friends to breathe new life into
 
Ready...Set...Fondue!
 
But, for real, fondue's more than just a weird old pot: It's the fine art of gathering around that pot, stabbing small bites of food with a long, 2-prong fork and dipping that fork into that piping pot. Make sense? Guess if you're not fondue-familiar, it does sound strange, but trust us here, you'll totally dig it!

But...How Do You Fon-due It? 

Typically, hot, melted cheese is served as an appetizer, along with bite-size pieces of fresh French bread or fruit for dipping. For the main course, it usually pieces of steak, chicken or shrimp that are dunked into hot oil. And then the cooked pieces are dipped into some special sauces. And for dessert, pound cake, angel food cake and strawberries are out-of-this-world with hot melted chocolate. Yum! So stick with fondue and your next get-together is sure to heat things up!



What's next? Get preppin' for your sizzlin' fondue sleepover!
 
Extend An Invite!
 
Make a list of your groovy-est gal pals. You know-the ones who appreciate the finer things in life-like art galleries and caviar. Or better yet-the ones who appreciate the fun things in life-like chillin' out and chowin' down!

Not only is fondue perfect for small cozy gatherings, but, that whole cooking together thing makes a fondue ideal for introducing a new bud or two to your crew. Must be something about losing every other shrimp in a bubbling pot of oil that just sparks a heated convo!

 
Beg, Borrow or Buy! 
 
1) The more pots you can scrounge up, the better. Ask neighbors or guests to borrow a pot or two. If you're having a party of eight, you'll want two pots for sure. And, even better, try to wrestle at least one pot per course, and more, depending on how many gals you've having over. That way you'll minimize prep-time between courses...when melted cheese sticks in the pot every which way, ungluing it is a daunting task. Plus, the more forks in a pot at once, the quicker the pot cools-fondue bummer.
 
2) You'll need a fondue plate for each guest. These large plates are divided into sections so dipping sauces for the meats each have their own little pie-shaped area. In the larger potion of the plate, there's enough room to keep cooked and uncooked meats away from each other so you don't get confused.
 
3) You'll need several rather large serving platters-one for the bread, one for the meats and one for the fruit. If you've having a large party,  set a serving plate at each end of the table.
 
4) You'll need those special, pointy fondue forks. Most fondue sets come with like six or eight fork. Each guest should, at the minimum have one fork for each course. But, the more the merrier-and that goes double for napkins! Fondue can get messy...
 
HOT TIP! 

Don't be fooled, fondue isn't all fun!  Since it's so hot, this sizzlin' treat can be way dangerous. Ever been burned by hot oil? If you have to think about it, you haven't been, because it kills! You must enlist a parent heat and move the pots. By all means, remind your guests not ever touch one!
 
Tip: A can of Sterno is supposed to last almost 2 hours.

Ready...set...GET COOKIN'!
 
 Follow these fun fondue recipes and serve up some sizzlin' courses.

1st Course: Miss Swiss Cheese Fondue
 

Yield: 6-8 people
 
What You'll Need: 

12 oz. mild Swiss cheese (can mix in some shredded cheddar or favorite cheese)
4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 clove of garlic
3 tbsp. butter
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups milk
Add fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

What You'll Do: 
 
1. Grate cheese into a bowl
2. Mix with 1 tablespoon of flour. Set aside.
3. In a separate small bowl, stir together the remaining 3 tablespoons of flour, and nutmeg.
4. Next, rub the cut garlic on the inside and bottom of a saucepan.
5. Melt butter in the saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the flour mixture until it's like a smooth paste. (Your arm might hurt, but keep stirring!)
6. Add the milk, a little at a time, and stir constantly until the sauce is creamy and warm.
7. Add cheese about a 1/2 cup at a time and continue to stir.
8. Once the cheese has melted, add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
9.  fondue pot over hot Sterno. Pour the cheese directly from the hot saucepan into fondue pot and serve immediately.

*Tip: Squeeze fresh lemon juice into cheese fondue before adding it to the fondue pot. Adding it slowly helps keep it smooth, too.

Serve with bite-sized pieces of French bread. Don't cut too early because you want it to be fresh when served. If you want, serve with veggies, too. Or, hold off and serve veggies as the main course. We added slices of green apple and some purple grapes to our plate of bread.

2nd Course (serve before or during meat fondue): Green with Envy
 

What You'll Need:

1 bunch of Romain lettuce
1 bunch of leafy green lettuce
1 package cherry tomatoes
1 of each, large red, yellow, orange pepper
1 bunch fresh broccoli
1 bunch fresh cauliflower

What You'll Do:
 
It's a basic salad with bright punches of color.
 
1. Wash lettuce, pat with paper towels and chop large leaves down.
2. Add to large salad bowl.
3. Cut broccoli and cauliflower heads and blanch, separately.
4. Slice peppers in strips.
5. Halve tomatoes.
6. Add all to bowl.
7. Set out one or two pitches of your favorite dressing.

3rd Course: Meatier Matters
 

Yield: 8 to 10 people
 
What You'll Need:

1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized cubes
1 lb. lean strip steak cut into bite-sized cubes
1 Ib. cleaned and shelled shrimp
Vegetable oil

What You'll Do:

1. Cut up de-thawed meats, spread chicken, beef and/or shrimp on separate platters.
2. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley.
3. Cover platters and refrigerate until chow time.
4. Fill 2/3 of fondue pot with oil.
5. Then pour into saucepan
6. Heat over medium flame 2-3 minutes. Should be very hot, but not smoking
7. Pour back into fondue pot and place over Sterno

*Tip: Make sure meat sauces are on the table and guests have had a chance to get enough of each sauce before placing the hot pot on the table.

*How-to tip: Have guests serve themselves with several pieces of meats, stick the meet with the fondue fork, carefully stick it into the fondue pot and cook it. When the pot first leaves the stove, they will cook very quickly. After a while, it's important to check and make sure meats are thoroughly cooked! Once meat is cooked, stick it with a regular fork and dip it into one of the sauces on your fondue plate.

*Tip: Make sure guests cook meat thoroughly-better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to raw meat!
 
Hot Horsey Sauce
 

Yield: Enough for 4-6 people
 
What You'll Need:

1 cup sour cream
2 tsp. Hoseradish sauce
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. Worchosire sauce
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper

How to? It's so simple! Just put the ingredients in a bowl and stir.
 
 
Yummy Curry Sauce

 
Yield: 4-6 people

What You'll Need:

3 tbsp butter
I tbsp. curry powder
2 tbsp. all purpose flour
1 cup milk
Salt and pepper
 
What You'll Do:

1. Melt 3 tbsp. butter over low heat
2. Stir in 1 tbsp. curry powder. Cook 1-2 minutes
3. Blend 2 tbsp. All purpose flour
4. 1/2 tsp. Salt and dash in pepper
5. Add 1cup milk all at once
6. Cook quickly, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles

4th course: Choco-attack!
 

What You'll Need:

12 oz. Sweet German Chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate chips or Hershey's bar
1 cup light cream or half and half
1 tsp. Vanilla

What You'll Do:

1. Before melting chocolate, cut up pieces of fruit and cake. We used sliced red and green apples, pineapple, strawberries and store-bought, marble pound cake.
2. Squeeze some lemon juice over fruits so they don't yellow.
3. Arrange on serving plate, cover and store in fridge until it's time.
4. Break up chocolate and add to saucepan
5. Add light cream to saucepan and cook over low heat stirring occasionally
6. Add vanilla extract and stir
7. Once chocolate is all stirred and hot, transfer to fondue pot
 
After you've successfully served up all your fondue, take a breather and watch your fave DVDs with your gals. Unwind with a refreshing makeover sesh, give each other  mani/pedis or just hang out. And there'll always be time to eat the leftovers in the morning! 
 
- Sarah Cordi

BY GL ON 2/13/2009 7:00:00 AM

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