Originally published in Volume 46, Issue 7 of The Clackamas Print
"Eat, Print, Love: Funky Fondue for Frugal Foodies"
Written by Anna Axelson, Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012
Black light posters, beaded curtains, art deco furniture and sitar music isn’t the only way to enjoy a retro classic meal of molten cheese, dippable delights and diners armed with long, tiny pronged forks. Nor is it required to trek out to Gustav’s or the Melting Pot, unless you truly feel like spending your hard earned financial aid dollars on a gourmet take and ambiance.
Believe it or not, there’s an easy and affordable way to have your friends clamor around a warmed carafe of oozing goodness for an interactive entrée; luckily Eat, Print, Love is to the rescue with an amazingly easy recipe for you to give a taste.
*While any of the usual suspects will do swimmingly with this recipe (cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack, mozzarella, pepper jack), it’s also a chance to pay a visit to somewhere like Grocery Outlet that occasionally features several less traditional cheeses at a cost considerably less than most local super markets such as havarti and feta.
**“Dippables” refers to pretty much anything and everything you could possibly want to drown within your creamy, cheesy concoction.
In a midsize sauce pan or even a small slow cooker, free the cheddar cheese soup from its tin confines and slowly stir in roughly half a can of milk, garlic and mustard powder. Warm over medium heat – do not let it boil and stir frequently. Once the soup has warmed through, add roughly half the cheese (shredded or small cubes make the melting process easier) and continue stirring until cheese has reached creamy goodness.
Using the additional shredded or cubed cheese and balancing it with a tablespoon at a time of milk, stir until reaching a slight elasticity, adding more milk if it begins to resemble something more suiting to a pizza topping, and adding more cheese if it’s too thin to coat a spoon when dipped.
Using a small chunk of bread (best if left open for a few hours to get a little crispy and better able to withstand the drenching power of the dip), sample your brew, adding salt and pepper to taste.
At this point, it’s all about keeping it warm while people are chowing down. It’s time to transfer your molten mix into a classic fondue pot, traditionally either electric or perched above a candle or Sterno can. If using a slow cooker, the crock pot can easily just be transferred to the dining room table as a centerpiece and you’re good to go.
Break out the fondue forks and pile all your dippables into bowls, platters or straight from the package and let your friends loose.
Part of the fun of fondue is the convention, the rules. First, don’t double dip. Next, be mindful of dripping. Last and most important, don’t drop your dippable into the cheese (consequences may vary based on your social circle).