Love to play with your food? Love to get together and have fun with your friends? Well, then you, sister, are going to love fondue!
Every fondue dinner revolves around one main thing--a fondue pot. Fondue pots are made to sit over a little can of fuel called Sterno. The pots are then filled with cheese, oil (which is kept hot enough to cook meat) or chocolate. And the fun begins! Everyone grabs a special fondue fork (a superlong fork with two tiny tines), and they spear a piece of food and then dunk it in the pot! The first course of a fondue dinner is usually a melted cheese sauce. You can dip pieces of bread, veggies or fruits into the cheese. The second course is often a meat fondue, which is pretty different. This time you put hot oil into the fondue pot and carefully cook each piece of meat to perfection before dipping the meat in a scrumptious sauce and popping it into your mouth. Then, finally, comes the best part--chocolate! You put a melted chocolate mixture into your pot and dunk pieces of cake, fruits or marshmallows. What could be better? Read on for the fun-do-mentals!
your party-Planning countdown
A MONTH AHEAD
Fondue is perfect for small cozy gatherings, but the whole cooking together thing also makes a fondue fiesta ideal for introducing a new bud or two to your crew. Something about commiserating over losing every other shrimp in a bubbling pot of oil that just makes for instant friendships! So make a list of your groovy gal pals, and get out those invites. Why not save a buck or two and create your own? Here are some suggestions.
* Use a computer print shop program like, Broderbund Print Master Platinum 12, to make one-of-a-kind invites. We used it to make the ones pictured here.
* Flip through Mom's cooking magazines, and concoct delicious--looking fondue-inspired collages on folded pieces of neutral--colored, heavy--stock paper. Write the party details inside.
* Grab construction paper, and make cut-out images of fondue pots, triangles of Swiss cheese or pieces of fruit. Glue them onto your invites, being sure to leave enough space to fill in party info.
THREE WEEKS AHEAD
Gather up your fondue pots. Ideally you'll want four people to each fondue pot so if you're having a party of eight, you'll want at least two pots. But if it's possible to borrow a couple extra pots, do it. If you have a different pot for every dish, you can minimize the time between courses because you wont have to wash your pot out.
You'll also 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 portion of the plate, there's enough room to keep cooked and uncooked meats separate from each other (and that's a good thing).
Most fondue sets have six to eight forks included. Each guest should, at the minimum, have one fork to use for each course.
Also, be sure to have some decorative serving platters--one for the bread, one for the meats and one for the fruit.
What's a party without a little ambience? The right mood can transform any party into a memorable night. We envisioned an all-over warm, cozy, casual dinner, so we jazzed up our table with some simple crafty touches in silver, gold and red. Log on to www.girlslife.com for details on how to make your own decor.
TWO TO THREE DAYS
Finalize your menu Look over our recipes, and make a grocery list. If you're making your own pound cake, brownies or angel food cake for the chocolate fondue, get baking. Otherwise, Sara Lee is fine! Also, stock up on some regular or sparkling apple cider. Serving it with fondue is a tradition!
Cut up the bread, veggies, cake and meat into bite-size pieces as close to party post time as possible. Squeezing fresh lemon juice over fruits prevents them from turning yellow. Want less work? Have your guests lend a hand at the cutting boards.
Miss Swiss Cheese Fondue * Super Veggie Salad * Chicken, Steak and Shrimp with Dipping Sauces * Chocolate Fondue
Miss Swiss Cheese Fondue
Makes enough for six to eight people.
12 oz. mild Swiss cheese (can mix in some shredded cheddar or other 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 fresh lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste
Grate the cheese into a bowl. Mix with one, tablespoon of the flour. Set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining three tablespoons of flour and the nutmeg.
About 20 minutes before you're ready to serve, rub the cut garlic on the inside and bottom of a heavy saucepan. Put the butter in the saucepan over medium-low heat until it melts. Stir in the flour-nutmeg mixture until it's like a smooth paste.
Add the milk, a little at a time, and stir constantly until the sauce is creamy and warm. Add cheese about 1/2 cup at a time, and continue to stir.
Once the cheese has melted, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
Now very carefully (like get Mom to help), pour the cheese directly from the hot saucepan into a fondue pot. Set fondue pot over a lit Sterno can (one lasts about two hours), and serve immediately.
Serve it with: Bite-size pieces of crusty French bread, cut-up veggies (like carrots), and cooked but crunchy broccoli and cauliflower. Cheese fondue is also fabulous with purple grapes and cut-up chunks of green apple.
To eat cheese fondue: Spear a bite-size chunk of bread, veggie or fruit, and carefully twirl it in the cheese, coating it completely. The cheese can be extremely hot, so make sure it's cool enough to eat before putting it in your mouth!
Super Veggie Salad
No dipping required. Makes enough for six to eight people.
1 bunch of romaine lettuce 1 bunch of leafy green lettuce 1 pint of cherry tomatoes 1 each, large red, yellow, orange peppers 1 bunch fresh broccoli 1 bunch fresh cauliflower
To make this basic mixed salad with bright punches of color, wash lettuce, pat dry with paper towels and tear into bite-size pieces. Cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets, and blanch separately. Slice peppers in strips. Halve tomatoes. Toss all together in large bowl. Serve with a favorite dressing.
Chicken, Steak and Shrimp Fondue with Dipping Sauces
Makes enough for six to eight people.
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size cubes 1 lb. lean strip steak, cut into bite-size cubes 1 lb. cleaned and shelled shrimp vegetable oil
Spread cut-up chicken, beef and shrimp onto separate platters. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley. Cover platters, and refrigerate until chow time.
In a large saucepan, heat oil (enough to fill fondue pot two-thirds full) over medium heat. The oil should be very hot, but not smoking. This will take about five minutes.
Once the oil is hot, have an adult (we're not kidding) pour it into fondue pot and place over Sterno. The oil needs to stay hot, so set it on the table immediately and start dipping!
To eat the meat fondue: Spear a chunk of meat with a fondue fork, carefully stick it into the fondue pot, and cook it. It's important to check each piece to make sure the meat is thoroughly cooked! Then, dip it into one of these sauces....
Horsey Sauce 1 cup sour cream 2 tsp. horseradish sauce 1/2 tsp. lemon juice 1/4 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper
Just put the ingredients in a bowl and stir. Dip the steak or chicken into it.
Yummy Curry Sauce 3 tbsp butter 1 tbsp. curry powder 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour 1 cup milk
Melt 3 tbsp. Butter over low heat. Stir in the flour and curry powder. Cook one to two minutes. Add the milk all at once, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles. Add salt and pepper to taste. Dip the chicken or shrimp into it.
Time for dessert! Makes enough for six to eight people.
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips or Hershey bar pieces 1 cup light cream or half-and-half 1 tsp. vanila
Put the chocolate and light cream in a saucepan, and cook slowly over low heat, stirring the whole time. Once melted, add vanila extract and stir. Transfer to fondue pot.
Dunking possibilities for chocolate fondue are endless! We love sliced apples, pineapple chunks, halved strawberries, banana slices, pieces of angel food or pound cake, marshmallows....
Many thanks to the Jacobs family for their hospitality!