Cheese Fondue

I start by saying I feel blessed by knowing my wife. We met moons ago but to this day my feelings for her have never changed. On a recent anniversary, porcelain was the deal. I think I was laid up sick (not unusual nowadays), but she delivered a couple of things that she knew I would love. Porcelain.  There was a lasagna dish, and a fondue item. I LOVE FONDUE. Many years ago, probably on the start of our marriage, my wife’s friend brought over a fondue kit and that is when it started. Granted I had fondue in prior to that, but the communal experience is one that I totally love(d). So when my wife showed my that love and thought, I was all in and really excited.

Cheese Fondue Recipe
Cheese Fondue Recipe

My kids have never had fondue, or if they did it was at a very young age.

Fondue is special. It’s fun and it is simple once you have everything in place. I believe it is derived from the Swiss, but being in Wisconsin and having great cheese, wine, and everything else, well it does add up to a great cold winter appetizer or dinner.

There are different kinds of fondues. Cheese, chocolate, or oil based pots for communal dipping. This is a simple cheese fondue and I’m certain there are so many different takes on it. Mine was simple. Bread and cheese on a cold winter day.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb bag of fondue cheese, or grate your own Swiss and Gruyere cheese
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • rustic bread, cubed or torn
  • Any vegetables you want (optional)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of cracked black pepper

I know there is probably a more traditional way to fondue using Kirsch, but to be honest who has Kirsch sitting around? I did once and it was consumed immediately. Wisconsin loves its brandy. This is stuff that is easy to get a hold of, and once you start mixing the cheese and keeping it warm, well it is so hard to not hit it every 10 minutes.

Cheese Fondue Ingredients
Cheese Fondue Ingredients

Start by rubbing your fondue pot with the clove of garlic. Don’t be shy. Rub that sucker. Then warm your fondue pot. You can buy the sternos at the store or online. Or if your fondue pot is electric, even better.

Once the pot is warmed, add in the cheese(s), wine, and lemon juice. Stir well. Toss in the pepper and stir some more. Once this begins to melt, keep stirring, and get ready to use your poker. The pokers are color coded. If you have a sicko around, no poker.

If your fondue starts to thicken, add a bit more wine, stir and loosen it up. Keep the heat on low and when eating, poke the break and stir that cheesey awesomeness up.

Dip and go. My wife and I love cheese fondue. The strength of the cheese kind of freaked out my kids, who love cheese, which was just fine because that meant more goodness for us. Go fondue! Hope you enjoy, and hope your new year is off to a great start.

 

Pan Bagnat Sandwich

Pan what? Pan bagnat. Say it with a French accent and follow along. If you have never heard of a pan bagnat, it is essentially a French sandwich, loaded with all kinds of crazy goodness, and one that you will want to keep in your sandwich arsenal. The pan bagnat takes some time to prepare, but it is worth every big (or little) bite. It is almost like a salad nicoise but in sandwich form, and trust me it is to die for.

Pan Bagnat Sandwich Recipe
Pan Bagnat Sandwich Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of red onion, sliced into thin rings

I am not sure if it takes more time to slice and dice and cook the eggs as it is to assemble this bad boy of a sandwich, but again it is worth every minute.

Start by making your dressing. To a small bowl add the vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper. Whisk or use a fork to create a nice thick dressing. Set aside and have everything ready to go.

Time to assemble. I don’t think order is very necessary so do as you please.

Pan Bagnat Ingredients
Pan Bagnat Ingredients

Start by laying down the tuna onto the bread. Crust to crust. Feel free to use the olive oil that it was packed in as well. Layer on the red onion, tomatoes, olives, eggs, and green bell peppers. Pour over the dressing, and fold.

Get some plastic wrap out and tear off a long enough piece to completely seal in all of this goodness. If you want, go right in and go for it, otherwise plastic wrap it really tight, and let all of that settle and rest for about 30 minutes.

When ready, remove the plastic wrap and dig in. This is one of those ‘guilty’ sandwiches that I had to make sure no one was around or looking because it is one I could not put down and one that I totally devoured. My wife and kids don’t like canned tuna (I have no idea why) so I knew I was all in, and trust me I was prepared.

This could be one of my top 10 favorite sandwiches and one that I am sure you will love. Hope you enjoy!

Baseball Park Style Candied Cashews

Unfortunately we were not able to get out to a ballgame this year. It is one of those things we love to do as a family. Everything from the tailgate, walking into the stadium, and enjoying the game (and more food). If there is one thing my wife loves it is the candied style nuts that they serve. The smell of them cooking is intoxicating, and they are as good to eat as they are to smell. It’s one of those things we typically buy together when we go. So with that being said, and a bit disappointed that we were not able to get to a game this year, I was not going to let that stop me from coming up with a batch of these baseball park style candied nuts for my wife and kids to enjoy.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of whole cashews
  • 1 whole egg white, beaten
  • 1 tsp ice cold water
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • cooking spray, or parchment paper

The trick to getting that candied effect on the nuts is the egg white. It adds just the awesome crunch and serves as the glue for the seasoning.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the egg white and water in a bowl until it is nice and frothy.

Add the nuts to the bowl, along with the spices, and mix very well.

Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe
Baseball Park Style Candied Nuts Recipe

Lay the nuts evenly on the baking sheet and place in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until everything begins to caramelize and get nice and toasted. Once that is achieved, remove from the oven, and slide those nuts into a serving bowl. Let cool for about 5 minutes (if you can resist), and dig in.

You want to talk about not only a great ballpark snack, but these nuts are perfect this time of year, especially around the holidays! Hope you enjoy and Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

Chocolate Cake Waffles

Do you know that time when you wake up and you immediately think of how much you love your kids? Yeah, me to. Granted parenting can be a very difficult thing in anyone’s life, but getting those ‘I love you Dad’ on a daily basis, especially, and personally nowadays it means everything to me. I love my kids and it is probably one of the reasons I cook and come up with recipes to hopefully continue to build memories and get them thinking about family, food, and all kinds of different cuisine. I mean what kid doesn’t love Thai/Lao larb, right? I know mine do.

My kids love breakfast, and I know how they roll. Chocolate chip whatever is how they roll. Me? I am not a fan of the sweet breakfast, but if you throw in a breakfast hash, some toast, and an easy egg, well then I am all in. But it is about them, and so are these super easy to make chocolate cake waffles.

Chocolate Cake Waffles Recipe
Chocolate Cake Waffles Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Waffle iron
  • cooking spray
  • 1 box of your favorite cake mix
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup of water

It doesn’t get any easier than this. Read the back of your cake mix box if you want and take if from there. I go chocolate because that’s how my kids roll, but think of the endless amounts of waffles you could be making!

Heat your waffle iron. During this time mix the cake mix, oil, eggs, and water, and make into a smooth batter.

Chocolate Cake Waffles Ingredients
Chocolate Cake Waffles Ingredients

Once your iron is heated, lightly coat it with cooking spray.

Ladle in some of the cake mix to fill into the waffle iron. Close, flip, and cook until your waffle iron tells you so. The waffles should easily be removed from the iron. Repeat and get ready to see smiles on your kids faces.  The result? No clue, but what I can tell you is they LOVED them. Enjoy!