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Merry Christmas to everyone! The holiday season is my favorite time of year and Christmas Eve happens to be my favorite part. My family has a tradition of hosting a fondue party every Christmas eve. Lots of dipping, eating and having fun.
And any Frei family holiday would be complete without a lot of red wine spilling. This year was no exception:
Fondue? Don’t mind if I do! I love fondue – I think it might be because I am a sauce person. I am obsessed with sauces. Fondue is the only meal I can think of where you dip every course and every bite. In the words of Lustopher Hardy – “A little bit of heaven”.
We generally setup the fondue around my parent’s kitchen island, which promotes lots of socializing.
Even Mavie (who has severe IBS (not joking) and is not allowed people food) tried to get a piece of yumminess.
For those of you not familiar with fondue, we have three courses for the party:
Easy to remember since it is the three basic food groups :).
I am sure some of you will be able to relate to this, but all of our family’s Christmas recipes have been around for so many years that they are stored in this little messy handwritten card holder my mom keeps.
I love looking through all these recipes every year. I even found a couple of Tomato Aspics (sick). We don’t make that anymore. My favorite was this recipe written on a Goodyear Tire notepad. Hehe.
Here are the fondue recipes.
Don’t worry, I retyped them :).
As previously mentioned, the night begins with the cheese fondue. I really could just have this course and be fine for the rest of the night. It is sooo freaking good. I have seen people make cheese fondue with many different types of cheeses and ingredients. We never stray from the traditional. Why fix what ain’t broken?
Important note: When eating the cheese you must be careful. It has been said that if you drop your piece of bread or fruit into the cheese you must kiss the person next to you. Generally, this gets a little strange because I am usually eating fondue with my family.
Traditional Cheese Fondue (Adapted from handwritten recipe circa 1972 by Pam Frei)
½ Pound freshly grated Emmentaler Swiss Cheese
½ Pound freshly grated Le Gruyere Cheese (Do not use processed Gruyere. The year we tried the processed is the same year we tried the chocolate fountain. It will forever be known as the year of the fondue failure and subsequently the year without a Santa Claus)
1.5 Cups Dry White Wine
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
1.5 Teaspoons Cornstarch
1 Garlic clove halved
½ Teaspoon Nutmeg
Salt and White Pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons Kirsch Cherry Liquor
Loaf of French bread cubed
2 Apples cubed
Roasted potatoes for dipping (optional)
Rub garlic on inside of large pot with two forks.
Remove garlic solids. Add white wine and lemon juice and heat over medium heat. Heat till air bubbles rise but to not boil. Whisk in cornstarch so there are no lumps. Reduce heat to low. Add a handful of cheese.
When cheese is melted add another handful. Do not boil. Add in nutmeg, salt and pepper and Kirsch. The Kirsch adds great flavor. At this point, we add the cheese mixture to a crockpot on high, so it doesn’t burn. Use fondue sticks to dip.
The Meat Course
The meat course is a little different because the eater is actually cooking their own meat.
Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
Steak (cut into chunks)
Chicken (cut into chunks and generally marinated)
Salmon (cut into chunks)
Heat the following over a stove until boiling and add to fondue pot.
2 Cups of Beef Broth
1 Cup Red Wine
We like to use Sterno, not tealights, as a heat source. Otherwise, it doesn’t get hot very fast.
Now for the dipping sauces – I try to make these the day prior to the party:
Sweet and Sour (my personal favorite)
¼ cup Catsup (this cracks me up! Anyone know the difference between catsup and ketchup?)
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 Tablespoons Major Grey’s Chutney
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/3 Cup mayonnaise
1.5 Tablespoons prepared mustard (the French’s kind. Not the Dijon)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Teaspoon horseradish
Combine all ingredients and mix well
This can easily be used as salad dressing to.
¾ Cup sour cream
½ Teaspoon dry mustard
½ Teaspoon salt
½ Garlic clove minced
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ Cup mayonnaise
3 Oz. Crumbled blue cheese
Combine all ingredients with the exception of blue cheese in a large bowl. Mix for 2 minutes on low speed. Slowly add blue cheese and blend 4 more minutes. Refrigerate 24 hours prior to serving.
We take a shortcut and use Yoshida!
I am usually so stuffed at this point that I can barely walk, but I always make room for just a bit more since the chocolate is so good. Our recipe is super simple but really yummy!
2 Large bars of Symphony Chocolate with Toffee Bits – This stuff is the best and adds a little extra crunch
½ Cup Whipping Cream
2 ounces of Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
Use any combination of the following:
Pound Cake (bite size)
Cheesecake (bite size)
Leftover holiday cookies
At this point in the party I am generally ready to pass out since I am so full.
I hope you have all have a wonderful Christmas! I would love to hear about your Christmas traditions. Please post them in the comment section.
Be safe, be merry and eat & drink with reckless abandon! You can work it off later!
I would like to introduce you to an old friend of mine, Iceberg Lettuce.
Iceberg has been a staple in my life for a really long time. I first remember enjoying the company of old Iceberg on my elementary school lunch tray, smothered in ranch dressing with shredded rusty tasting carrots. Iceberg has recently received a poor reputation for lacking nutrients, flavor, color ect. Foodies scoff at Iceberg and tend to cast the pretentious bitter microgreens or the pompous mixed greens as the shining stars of their salads today.
I, however, still have a special place in my heart for Iceberg. I love its crunchy texture, crisp, cold and clean flavor and its ability to play a secondary role to any creamy salad dressing. This is why I am posting my recipe for a Wedge Salad with Creamy Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – a salad that cannot be made with any other lettuce but Iceberg. At least in my mind. So cheers to you, Iceberg, not ever flashy but always dependable and sturdy.
Wedge Salad with Creamy Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Serves 3-4 with extra dressing for your pizza
1 Head of Iceberg lettuce
5 Strips of good bacon cooked and chopped into bits
1-2 Roma Tomatoes Chopped
2 Green Onions Chopped
Handful of Blue Cheese (optional)
Wash the outside of the Iceberg and pat dry gently. Chop entire head into 3-4 wedges depending on the size. Sprinkle bacon, tomato, onions and blue cheese evenly on each wedge.
Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
1 Cup Real Mayo
½ Cup Sour Cream
½ Cup Buttermilk
2 Tablespoons minced Basil
½ Clove garlic minced very fine
1 Tablespoon minced Chives
1 Teaspoon of Dill
1 Tablespoons minced Parsley
1 Tablespoon A-1 Sauce (optional)
1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Dash of Cayenne pepper or Tabasco
Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl. I blend it in the Kitchen Aid on speed 3 for 3-4 minutes. It gets fluffier this way. Add fresh ground pepper. Poor over the lovely Iceberg and enjoy with a fork and knife.