Saturday, March 9, 2013

We Fondue...Do You? - Holly and Melissa - February 2013

Holly and Melissa conquered their first night hosting as a partnership.  Nailed it!
They delivered us these darling invites packages in a doily tied with twine.
I couldn't wait to fondue with them!
They hosted at Holly's and everything looked great!  The color scheme was clean and fun.
The table looked great with the burlap runner and I loved the centerpiece!  They had just taken random bottles, jars and jugs and painted them randomly.  Some on the inside and some on the outside.
Looked so great!  Everyone was dying at the simplicity of the idea.  They enhanced it with a couple flowers and tea lights.  Perfect.
Fun matching tissue flowers covered the light.
 Place settings were simple as well.  A 12x12 red and white chevron paper as the place mat with square white and turquoise plates.  Looked great!
 Name tags were a cute recycled paper with Holly's perfect handwriting to darn each name and they were just tied around the silverware with bakers twine.
The menus were printed on a treat paper sack which I loved and had a paperclip and ribbon to accent. 
 Our drink for the evening were "No"Jitos.  
They had this fun sign so we could all do our own little cocktail!
The drinks were yummy and consisted of mint leaves, lime juice, Sprite and a fun candy stick to stir.
 They also had the Fondue Party rules posted which were darling and catchy.
  Enough of that, onto the menu!

Spinach and Artichoke Fondue 
 Garlic and Cream Cheese Fondue
Dippers: Crostini with garlic and tomato rub, Asparagus spears and Rosemary skewer with prosciutto, artisan bread, apples and zucchini.
Seriously, I could have just kept going with appetizers all night long! 
Main Course:

Mojo Broth 

Meats:  Chimichurri marinated pork, teriyaki marinated chicken, garlic and herb marinated shrimp.  
 Vegetables: Mushrooms, potatoes and Mushroom raviolis.
 Dipping Sauces:
Greek goddess sauce, curried greek yogurt and teriyaki sauce. 
Everything was awesome, but I was in LOVE with the Mushroom Raviolis!
And those girls thought of everything, they had even color coded all our skewers which worked great!  
Dessert:  Fondue Au Chocolat

Chocolates: White Chocolate Creme Brule and Heavenly Chocolate Fondue in a Phyllo Bowl.
Dippers: Lemon Shortbread, Fruit Skewers, Praline Bacon AND Homemade Marshmallows!
Ok seriously, this was just pure heaven.  The entire plate!  There may or may not been someone asking for seconds and others literally licking their plates!  The idea of the edible phyllo bowl for the chocolate fondue was pure brilliance and the creme brule was just naughty!
And as though we hadn't had enough the take homes were goodies as well.

A super fun "Fondue for Two" to go.  Complete with homemade Graham Crackers, chocolates and Marshmallows and a recipe for Smores Fondue.  What an darling idea!
Cute, cute chevron treat bags with yummy Brown Butter and Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies.
And of course the recipes with all the kitchen secrets!  Seriously we were set and stuffed!

 We were so glad to all be able to be together and have sweet Kristy with us especially!  The conversation was never lacking for great topic or loud laughter.  I think we all agree we will fondue anytime!!!

Recipes Below

“No”jitos (alcohol-free mojitos)

Mint Leaves
Sprite zero or club soda
Sugar or rock candy stirrer

Instructions are for each individual drink.  
Take 2 mint leaves, 1/4 lime, sprite zero (or club soda), a pinch of sugar (or sugared candy stick). Tear mint leaves, and place in bottom of glass, squeeze 1/4 of lime and place lime in bottom of the glass, add a pinch of sugar (if uses candy stirrer, omit sugar) and muddle to mix flavors.  Fill glass with sprite (or club soda) and stir with straw or candy stirrer. Enjoy!  You can also add fresh berries, peaches, or flavored syrups for flavored Nojitos.  Serve with drinking straw.

Parmesan & Garlic Fondue
1 1/2 cup milk
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp white pepper                                                                                                                                                                 1 tsp garlic
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
5-10 sage leaves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon olive oil

Place cream cheese, parmesan, milk & garlic into fondue pot or sauce pan on low heat, stirring often and well.  When mixed well, add artichokes and salt & pepper into a fondue pot or sauce pan.  Cook on low heat and stir until smooth & creamy.  
While cheese is melting, heat a skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and butter. Once melted and bubbling, add in sage leaves and fry for a minute or two, being careful not to let the butter burn. Remove and let drain on a paper towel.  To serve, crumble a few sage leaves into the fondue, stirring well, and place the remaining leaves on top. Serve with breads, chips, apples, vegetables, etc… Pepper is traditionally ground onto your plate for dipping the cheese-drenched bread in.

Spinach Artichoke Fondue, adapted from Melting Pot
  • 3 oz. vegetable broth
  • appx. 2 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
  • appx. 2 oz. artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 1/2 oz. Butterkäse cheese* (if you can't find this, you can substitute Farmer's Cheese or Romanian Cream Cheese.. if you can't find these either, see the recipe below to make your own "fake" Butterkäse.)
  • 2 1/2 oz. Fontina cheese
  • 1 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • a small amount of flour
  • dash Tabasco sauce
  • Heat vegetable broth in fondue-type unit or similar cooking pot. When hot (do not bring to a boil) add spinach, artichoke hearts, and garlic and mix well. (I have had two different employees of the MP tell me that you need to lightly flour the cheese before adding it in). Combine Butterkäse and Fontina and add a little bit at a time to spinach/artichoke mixture, stirring constantly until you reach your desired consistency. Stir in Parmesan cheese and Tabasco sauce. Serve with french bread pieces and/or lightly steamed vegetables.
  • *Fake Butterkäse (Keep in mind, the fake really isn't quite as good so try your hardest to find the real Butterkäse. Only use this recipe if you are desperate and truly can't find it anywhere): Mix 1/2 brick (4oz) of cream cheese with 1/4 cup of buttermilk and 1/2 tablespoon of sour cream.. you would only use 2 1/2 oz. of this so a LITTLE more than half of what this recipe would make.

Cheese Dippers
Crostini with Garlic & Tomato Rub
One baguette, slices & toasted
1 clove of garlic
1 tomato
Pinch of salt
Directions:  Cut tip of garlic off and cut tomato in half.  Toast the baguette slices lightly in oven, and rub with garlic, then the tomato. Add a pinch of salt.

Rosemary Skewer with Prosciutto, Walnut bread, Apples & Zucchini                                                             For the rosemary skewers
12 woody rosemary stems, about 15cm/6in long (or soaked bamboo skewer)
12 slices prosciutto, sliced in half lengthways
14 oz walnut bread loaf or favorite artisan bread cut into large cubes
2 apples, cut into cubes
2 zucchinis cut into slices
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1. Remove rosemary from the stems and soak them (or skewers) in cold water for 30 minutes. Take a soaked rosemary skewer and thread on one end of a piece of prosciutto. Add a bread cube, an apple and one or two slices of zucchini, interleaving the prosciutto between the ingredients, so that the prosciutto is speared several times.
2. Repeat with the other rosemary sticks.
3. Heat the butter with the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic for a few minutes. Add the skewers to the frying pan and cook for a minute on each side until hot and golden brown.
4. Place the fondue pot on a burner at the table. Diners remove the vegetables from the skewers and use fondue forks to dip the vegetables into the hot fondue.

The Melting Pot Mojo Fondue Broth
Serves: 4-6

5 1/4 cups vegetable bouillon or 5 1/4 cups chicken bouillon
1/4 cup orange juice, fresh-squeezed
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon black pepper, cracked
2 tablespoons lime juice, fresh-squeezed
1 tablespoon minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in saucepan on stovetop (can add more spices, like jerk seasoning or cumin, if you like more heat).  Bring to a boil. Transfer to fondue pot with alternative heat source. Use to cook beef, shrimp, pork, pot stickers, chicken, mushrooms, potatoes, broccoli -- or anything else you can think of.

Mushroom Raviolis

1 pkg pot sticker wraps
1 pkg  button mushrooms-minced 
1 TBSP chives-minced
3 cloves garlic-minced
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Small bowl of water

Heat olive oil in pan over medium heat.  Sauté mushrooms, garlic, chives, salt and pepper in pan and for 5 minutes. Take pan off heat and let cool for at least 5 minutes. Place 1 tsp of mushroom filling in the middle of the wraps and fold in half making a half moon shape. Dip finger in water bowl and wet the edges if the wrap and press down firmly.  Cook in broth until done.

Melting Pot Teriyaki Marinade (Chicken)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
1 TBSP sesame oil
3 garlic cloves
1 1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 pound chicken or beef

Directions: Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Place in fridge until completely cool. Combine with beef/chicken in bowl, until completely covered. Marinate in fridge, completely covered for at least 2 hours.

Garlic Marinade (Shrimp)
Serves 4-6
8 cloves of garlic
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 pound chicken or shrimp

Directions: Saute the garlic in the oil for 15 minutes. Strain, reserving the oil. Let the garlic cool. Chop the garlic. Combine the garlic with the reserved oil, parsley, basil and salt in a bowl and mix well.  Add the chicken (or favorite seafood) and toss until well-coated.  Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or longer or for 4 hours or longer if using larger pieces of meat. 

Chimichurri marinade (Pork)
Serves 4-6
1 bunch parsley, coarsely chopped
8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 TBSP finely chopped red onion
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
½ tsp kosher salt
1 lb beef, chicken or pork, cubed

Directions: Whisk all ingredients, add meat and toss by hand until coated.  Marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Or for 4 hours or longer, if using larger pieces of meat.

Green Goddess Dip
1 brick cream cheese room temp.
1 c sour cream
3 TBLS chopped chives
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix and refrigerate before serving

Curried Greek Yogurt Dip
1 c Greek yogurt
1 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp curry powder or paste
1 tsp paprika

Mix and refrigerate before serving

White Chocolate Crème Brule
24 oz of good quality white chocolate
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 TBSP caramel syrup
vanilla bean paste
1/4 sugar
Use electric fondue pot or double boiler.
Melt white chocolate chips and heavy whipping cream, stirring until smooth over low heat—watch carefully.  Add caramel syrup. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the fondue. Brûlée with kitchen torch.  For individual servings, you can also pour into individual ramekins prior to the brûlée process.  Keep warm, stirring occasionally, and serve with your favorite dippers!   The left over chocolate (if there is any) can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated later.
TIP: If chocolate seizes up (rehardens) you can add warm milk a tablespoon at a time until you have the desired consistency. 

Heavenly Chocolate Fondue (served in phyllo dough bowl)
Adapted from Melting Pot recipe

Serves 4-6
4 oz. milk chocolate
4 TBSP. peanut butter
4 oz. caramel ice cream topping
Heavy cream (as much as needed to reach desired consistency)
2 TBSP. chopped chocolate sandwich cookies
Melt the chocolate in fondue pot over low heat (watching carefully and stirring often) or place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, stirring every 30 to 45 seconds. Be careful not to let the chocolate burn. Pour into a warm fondue pot. Add the peanut butter and stir gently until blended. Slowly add cream, stirring well, until desired consistency is reached.  Pour the caramel mixture into the center of the chocolate mixture. Do not stir. Sprinkle with chopped chocolate sandwich cookies. Keep fondue warm over low heat. May also serve in phyllo dough bowls.

Fruit Skewer with blackberries, pineapple & strawberries
Lemon Shortbread
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract

Shortbreads: In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour or until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Shortbread cookies with keep in an airtight container for about a week or they can be frozen.
Makes about 20 shortbread cookies.
The secret to making a good shortbread is to use a high quality butter and pure vanilla extract. Butter in the States is graded according to flavor, color, texture, aroma and body and one easy way to tell the quality of the butter is by the letter code or numerical number listed on the butter's package. The highest grade is AA (93 score), then A (92 score), followed by B (90 score). Buying vanilla extract can also be a challenge as there are so many choices—just make sure that it is “pure” vanilla extract.
Shortbread dough is so versatile. Once you have made the basic shortbread batter, you can add about 1/2 cup (90 grams) of chocolate chips to make chocolate chip shortbread, or add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, or 1 tablespoon of finely chopped orange or lemon zest will give you a nice citrus flavored shortbread. The texture of shortbread can also be changed by replacing 1/4 cup (35 grams) of the all purpose flour with rice flour which gives the shortbread a slightly crunchy texture. Or, for a more delicate tasting shortbread, with a melt-in-your-mouth texture, replace 1/2 cup (65 grams) of the all purpose flour with cornstarch (corn flour). Shortbreads can also be cut into various shapes and sizes using your favorite cookie cutter. They can also be baked in a tart pan, or baked in a rectangular pan and then cut into shortbread "fingers".

Praline Bacon 
Package of thick cut bacon
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, or more, if you like more heat
½ cup of chopped pecans

Set your oven to 375 degrees. Mix the brown sugar and chili powder in a large bowl and set aside.  Line baking sheet with tinfoil.  Place a cooling rack on the baking sheet & line with the bacon.  Bake for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with brown sugar/chili powder mix, then sprinkle with chopped pecans, pressing them into the bacon (then I sprinkled with just a little more brown sugar).  Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until done. Watch closely.

Take-Home Fondue For Two
S’mores Fondue
12 ounces milk chocolate, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or more, if needed)
A pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon graham cracker crumbs
1 Tablespoon marshmallow crème or mini marshmallows

Directions: In a fondue pot, combine the chocolate pieces, salt, and 1/4 cup cream. Can also be done in a double boiler by placing over gently simmering water, or in heavy small saucepan.  Heat, stirring constantly, over low heat until chocolate is melted and smooth. Stir in additional milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency.  Add 1 tablespoon marshmallow creme to the center. Do not stir. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs over the top. Do not stir. With fondue forks or long skewers, dip fruit, cake cubes, and/or marshmallows into the s’mores fondue. Makes about 1-1/4 cups.

Graham Crackers
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (375 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour (a swap of 1/2 cup with whole wheat flour or 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour works well here, too)
1 cup (176 grams) dark brown sugar,
lightly packed
1 teaspoon (6 grams) baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt (4 grams)
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup (114 grams) mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons (77 grams) milk, full-fat is best
2 tablespoons (27 grams) pure vanilla extract
Topping (optional)
3 tablespoons (43 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 grams) ground cinnamon
Make the dough: Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
[Alternately, if you don't have a food processor or electric mixer, you can cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender. Just make sure they're very well incorporated.]
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap and dust it lightly with flour, then turn the dough out onto it and pat it into a rectangle about 1-inch thick. Wrap it, then chill it until firm, about 2 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, prepare the topping, if using, by combining the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and setting aside.
Roll out the crackers: Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. [This makes a traditional graham cracker shape. I rebelled and made mine into 2-inch fluted squares with one of these.]
Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes in the fridge or 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with the second batch of dough. Finally, gather any scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and re-roll.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Decorate the crackers: Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough (again, this is for the traditional cracker shape). Using a toothpick or skewer (I like to use the blunt end of a wooden skewer for more dramatic dots), prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the touch, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.

Homemade Marshmallows

1 cup (240 ml) cold water, divided
3 - 1/4 ounce envelopes (21 grams) unflavored gelatin
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 cup (240 ml) light corn (or golden) syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3-4 cups (350-460 grams) confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted

Lightly butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch (33x23x5-cm) baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. Then sift about 3 tablespoons of confectioners' (powdered or icing) sugar onto the bottom of the pan (this will help release the set marshmallow from the paper).
Place 1/2 cup (120 ml) cold water into the bowl of your electric mixer that is fitted with a whisk attachment. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let stand until gelatin softens, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a heavy two quart saucepan, place the sugar, corn syrup, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) cold water. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a boil. Cover the saucepan with a lid and let boil for about two minutes to allow any sugar crystals to dissolve from the sides of the saucepan. Remove the lid and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Increase heat to high and boil, without stirring, until the syrup reaches 240 degrees F (115 degrees C), about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
With mixer running at low speed, slowly pour the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture in a thin stream down the side of the bowl. Gradually increase the speed to high and beat until mixture has tripled in volume and is very thick and stiff, about 10 minutes (looks like thick marshmallow cream). Add vanilla extract and beat to combine, about 30 seconds longer.
Scrape marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan and spread with a damp offset spatula or rubber spatula. The mixture is very sticky so just smooth it out as best as you can. Dust the top of the marshmallow with another 3 tablespoons of confectioners' sugar and let stand, uncovered, at room temperature until set, about 12 hours.
Remove the marshmallow from the pan by first running a small sharp knife around the edge of the marshmallow to loosen it from the pan. Invert the pan onto a large cutting board that has been dusted with confectioners' sugar. You might have to use your fingers to help loosen the marshmallow from the pan. Peel off the parchment paper (the marshmallow will be sticky) and dust the top of the marshmallow with confectioners' sugar. Cut the marshmallow into squares using clean kitchen scissors, a pizza roller or a sharp knife. Dip the cut sides of the marshmallows in additional confectioners' sugar. Shake off excess sugar and store the marshmallows in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to two weeks.  Makes about 24 - 2 1/2 inch (7.5 cm) marshmallows.


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Brown Butter and Fleur de Sel Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) butter
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Fleur de Sel or sea salt
One 10-ounce bag chocolate chips
1.  Preheat oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper
2.  Place butter into a medium saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan to melt.  Once melted watch carefully.  Butter will foam, boil then little brown bits will start to form around sides and bottom of pan.  Once butter turns a golden brown and has a very nutty aroma, remove from heat.  I transfer mine to a bowl so cooking stops.  Let cool for 5 minutes.
3.  Place both sugars into stand or electric mixer.  Add brown butter and mix until well combined.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until well combined.  Place flour, baking soda and Fleur de Sel/sea salt into a large bowl.  Slowly add to wet ingredients then add in chocolate chips, mixing until just combined.  Scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet with a medium sized cookie scoop and sprinkle tops with additional Fleur de Sel/sea salt.  Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until cooked through.  Let cool for 5 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.
Makes 3 dozen cookies