Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Do You Fondue

Contented sigh. TGBG...Thank God for Book Group. It's timing was perfect. I was like a egg timer that was on it's last tick, one second more and I would descend into shrill ringing. To begin with, the assigned book was "Revolutionary Road" which I devoured in a couple of days, and really appreciated. It's the kind of book that stays with you like a revealing dream, something you go back to and dissect further as you go through your day. I saw the movie, and while Kate Winslet was great, it's no surprise that the film did not do the book justice.

I planned a fondue menu for our little reading circle. I felt like I owed the ladies something appallingly decadent to make up for the disappoinment that was the Jacques Torres Chocolate Pound Cake of last month's meeting. In the end I scaled back, and nixed the caramel cognac fondue for dessert- instead I served my cache of upscale boutique chocolate (Max Brenner & Jacques Torres...more on that later). But let's start at the beginning- which were souped-up waffle fries with three different dipping sauces (honey mustard, ranch, cheddar horseradish... triple sigh). Supermarket freezer french fries taking a twirl in garlic powder, parsley flakes, and seasoned salt- Yum and easy, a combination I find particularly irresistable.
The cheddar tomato fondue was shudderingly good, melting away everyone's dieting resolve. I served a tray of ravioli and tortellini alongside, as well as a trio of dipping breads; herb focaccia, sauteed veggie flatbread, and garlic bread. The other fondue was a brie mushroom that was more complicated than the cheddar tomato but not as good.
To wash it all down, and to take the evening from rich to loaded, I stirred up some sort of fruit candy flavored sangria, it tasted like an easy summer's evening- which I am so looking forward to.
The chocolate course was gilding the fromage, so to speak. Jacques Torres had a couple truly resplendent flavors; the Pineapple Pastis and the Grand Cru, if we're naming names. His chocolates look like miniature objets d'art and taste like massive objets de joie. Max Brenner had some really unique flavors and texture, but sorry- I won't be naming names because his flavor key is somewhat baffling so I don't really know which is called what.
If tonight was a book it would be called Cheese, Chicks, and Chocolate. It's one of those reads that you just want to go on and on.

Tomato Cheddar Fondue
In 2tbsp. of butter saute 2 lightly crushed garlic cloves and a 14 oz. can diced tomatoes in a saucepan, mix intermittently and heat until some of the liquid evaporates (about 5 mins). In a small bowl mix 3-4 tbsp. white wine and 1 tbsp. cornstarch, mix into tomato mixture bring to a boil. Add approx 2 1/2 cups of coarsely shredded sharp cheddar by the fistful, stirring after each addition until smooth. Transfer to fondue pot.

No comments: