Posts Tagged by fondue

Happy New Year and the 2015 Best of the Nest

happy new year

Happy New Year to all my readers, blogging buddies, family and friends! I am so grateful to have you in my life and and for your support during this third year of my blog. I appreciate you more than you could know!  Thank you!

2015 was a year of super highs and extreme lows. Like many of you, I’m ready for a fresh start, to begin anew and resolve to do some things better, differently or not at all.  It’s going to be a big year for me because I’ll turn 50 in a couple of weeks – yes, 50. Holy moly. My daughter will also graduate from grad school this year (fingers crossed!)

Acting on a kind request from a wonderful reader, I present to you – a roundup of some of the top posts on this blog, in the past year. The posts are drawn from the articles that garnered the most hits and comments. It’s really cool to take a look back to see which posts generated the most views. I had a few in mind that I thought would make the Top 10, but I was surprised to see several that I never considered. First, a couple of Honorable Mention posts who were so very close to making the list:

Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade

Inspired by an amazing trip to Italy with my daughter in 2015, this lemonade is crazy good!

Strawberry Limoncello Lemonade 1

Best Coconut Pound Cake Recipe (with Bonus Lessons!)

The Best Coconut Pound Cake

And the Top 10 Nest Full of New posts of 2015…the Best of the Nest!

10.  The Time the Pioneer Woman Was My Best Friend

This day still doesn’t even seem true in my brain. So amazing (Ree AND the cookbook!)

The Time The Pioneer Woman Was My Best Friend

9.  Fresh Peach Cobbler

I can’t even stand how amazing this cobbler is. Come on summertime!

Peach Cobbler with Cream

8.  Have a Fondue Party at Home

Why not? It’s simple, it’s fun and it’s cheese!

Fondue-Party

7. How to Make Macrame Hangers

This old school project is back and super easy!

Macrame Covered Hangers

6. Homemade Vanilla Extract

This is the best and so easy. My sister and I just started another batch of extract after we used up our supply on holiday treats.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

5. Beer Cheese Soup

This is the yummiest and most decadent soup you’ll eat this season! We’ve been enjoying it for several years (read “football seasons”) and it freezes well, too.

Beer Cheese Soup

4.  Seedless Blackberry Cobbler

Mmmm…more cobbler.

Seedless Blackberry Cobbler

3. The Amazing Burger Round-Up: 16 Fabulous Burgers

There’s no wrong time when it comes to burgers. Summer, winter, rain, wind, snow…doesn’t matter. This post offers 16 yummy burgers, plus sauces and buns.  Don’t miss my post on making the perfect Oven-Baked Fries!

Amazing-burger-round-up

2.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

This one was a surprise. What started as a little note to my Mom on her 70th birthday, has made it’s way to the number 2 spot on my top posts again this year. Moms pretty much rock, right?

Happy Birthday Mom

1. Easter Mason Jar Craft

The top post of 2015 just happens to be the most adorable Easter goodie ever! I’m a big fan of Mason jars and these little cuties were so simple and were a huge hit. Check out the companion centerpiece, too!

Easy Craft - Ball Jar

I’d like to thank you all for hanging out at the Nest this year. You’ve been so inspiring and supportive and I truly appreciate all of your input and suggestions.

I hope that 2016 brings you joy, fulfillment, health, and success. I pray that it is the year we will all act on our dreams, hopes and desires, and that the new year ushers in a more peaceful, stable era.

Happy New Year!

Have a Fondue Party at Home

Fondue-Party

Our family used to have fondue a lot. It was a 70’s thing to do. We had the fancy copper pot, the cool can of blue fire and all those awesome fondue forks.  I always used the one with the baby blue handle. Back then, we only ate cheese fondue.  It didn’t matter…I love cheese.  There were five of us, all gathered around the kitchen table, dipping breads and sausage in a pot of molten cheese and it was amazing! The only rule was that if you “lost” anything in the cheese, you had to do the dishes.  Take my word for it…you don’t want to be the one who has to clean the fondue pot.

Fondue, an alpine favorite that gets its name from the French word for “melt,” involves eating food that is dipped or cooked in a shared pot on the table. It is a Swiss tradition: The original cheese fondue, according to legend, was invented in 16th-century Zurich by a cook who had nothing but cheese and bread in the kitchen. It has evolved into a more elegant dish, made with ingredients such as Emmentaler and Gruyère cheeses, and white wine.

We got together to celebrate my mom’s birthday and, hallelujah, she asked for fondue! We went all out and did a three-course fondue meal.  First course, the traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue. Definitely Dad’s favorite. We had an assortment of fondue pots and 32 fondue forks, but all told, we had three electric and one Sterno pot and we made two pots of each course – one for each end of the table.

Fondue-Party-2

Swiss Cheese Fondue 

2 cloves garlic, minced after Step 1.
6 ounces dry white wine
1 tsp. lemon juice
3 C. Swiss cheese, shredded and tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour
1 C. Gruyere cheese, shredded and tossed in 1 Tablespoon flour
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
Pinch nutmeg and a pinch black pepper

1. Rub garlic clove all over the inside of the fondue pot. (This might seem odd, but it really helps the flavor.)

2. Mince all of the garlic and simmer the garlic, wine, and lemon juice over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cheeses, and blend well until melted and creamy.

4. Add mustard, pepper and nutmeg.

Dip assorted breads, meats, and veggies in the cheese. We diced French bread, sour dough bread, smoked sausage and green apples. Pretzel bites and pre-cooked veggies like cauliflower and broccoli are good, too.

Fondue-Party-4

 

Coq au Vin

The next course is Coq Au Vin – a flavorful broth that you cook meat and veggies in. This is the longest course as the meat takes some time to cook in the broth.  It’s so yummy, though!

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup Burgundy wine
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced

1. Heat vegetable stock in fondue pot until it begins to simmer.
2. Add all other ingredients, bring to simmer.

Fondue-Party-5

Place individual pieces of desired meat or veggies on fondue fork and put in pot until correct temperature has been reached. Seafood generally takes a minute or so to cook while beef/chicken/pork will take longer. Be sure your selection is thoroughly cooked.  We served steak, chicken, mushrooms, tiny potatoes (pre-cooked) and cheese tortellini (the refrigerated kind.) We also had a variety of sauces to dip in.  We used a store-bought Barbeque Sauce, Plum Sauce and a Teryaki Dipping Sauce.  We also made Gorgonzola Port Sauce and Green Goddess Sauce using recipes inspired by the Melting Pot. Word of caution – don’t eat the meat/potato/whatever right off the fork. After being in the broth for so long, the fork will be very hot and burn your mouth. (No, you shouldn’t ask me why I know this.)

Fondue-Party-6

Gorgonzola Port Sauce

1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cups sour cream
2 oz Gorgonzola Cheese
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic, chopped
1/4 oz port wine
1/2 oz milk

Combine all ingredients except the Gorgonzola in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly using a whisk. Add the Gorgonzola and blend well. Cover and refrigerate.

Green Goddess Dip

8 ounces cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives

In a microwave-safe container, microwave cream cheese and milk for 2 to 4 minutes, whisking after each minute, until cream cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in sour cream, onion, parsley and chives. Refrigerate until cold.

Chocolate Fondue 

Best for last. Best for last. Best for last. Did I say BEST?!?!  Chocolate Fondue.  Heads Up! Don’t eat so much in the first two courses that you have no room for CHOCOLATE FONDUE!  

(Adapted from The Melting Pot cookbook)

Fondue-Party-9

INGREDIENTS: (You might like to think about doubling this recipe right from the get go!)

8 oz. milk chocolate in chips
2 T. heavy cream
2 T. chunky peanut butter

Combine chocolate and cream in fondue pot.  Heat on medium-low until chocolate is melted, stirring constantly.  Add peanut butter and stir until blended.  Keep fondue warm over low heat for serving. Serve with fresh strawberries, bananas, cheesecake, Rice Krispies Treats, marshmallows, pound cake and brownies for dipping.

Fondue-Party-8

 Fondue is a super fun family meal, and also is really nice for a romantic dinner.  I’m planning to skip the first two courses and head straight for the Chocolate Fondue for Valentine’s Day this year!

Fondue-Party-3