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.

 

Kiwi Chips

This past summer I was doing my best to get a good intake of fruits, vegetables, and try to heal my body as best as I could. My appetite was there, but typically only in small amounts. Not a bad thing I suppose, but it was not the same as it was in the past. One of the things I was thinking about was how could I get great nutritional blasts with a depleted appetite? I was eating yogurt like it was going out of style, probably more for the probiotic impact, as well as smoothies, but there were those times I simply wanted a snack, and a good one. That’s when that dehydrator came into the game.

As you may know, I recently posted on making apple chips, and those were a huge hit, but when these little kiwi chips hit the table, well, they were like nutritious candy.

Dehydrated Kiwi Chips Recipe
Dehydrated Kiwi Chips Recipe

This recipe is way too simple to make and only takes a few minutes to get the skins removed from the kiwi, and yes there are a couple of different ways to remove the skin.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole kiwis, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • Food dehydrator

Whoa! Yep, pretty much only one ingredient and how awesome is that!

So your options for getting the skins off of the kiwi are up to you. You can use a pairing knife and work your way around the kiwi to remove the skin, or you can cut the ends of the kiwi off, and take a spoon and carefully insert it under the skin, working your way around staying close to the skin and the fruit, and wedge the whole kiwi out that way. It’s up to you.

Once the kiwi is out, cut them into 1/4 inch rounds.

How to dehydrate kiwi
How to dehydrate kiwi

Lay the kiwi onto the dehydrator racks, keeping an inch or so apart. Once all of your kiwi are on the racks, cover, turn it on, and let it go from 5-8 hours. Feel free to touch and feel to the desired texture you are going for. I liked a little spring or chew for that matter, so my time dehydrating was less.

The result is a bunch of not only cool looking kiwi chips, but a chip that is so delicious it’s seriously like candy. The great thing about eating these is knowing how good they are for you. I should really just keep my dehydrator out and on at all times. That thing is not just for beef jerky you know!?

Apple Chips

We were fortunate enough this year to go apple picking at one of our favorite orchards. Not sure if we love apple picking as much as we love their apple pie from the Elegant Farmer.  Regardless, apple picking was something we always loved to do when the kids were growing up. Something about watching them eat a bunch of apples while climbing trees is a quick pleasure. This year we probably bought way too many apples, and as I would walk past the half bushel, I decided that I would come up with something and see if the family would try out the apple chips.

Dehydrated Apple Chips Recipe
Dehydrated Apple Chips Recipe

My wife was gratuitous enough to get me a food dehydrator some time ago.  I’ve done everything from making beef jerky to vegetable chips in the dehydrator and I’ll admit that I love it. So when the apples were in my zone, I decided on batching out some apples and making apple chips. So easy, so good, and a great way to use up some apples.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 of your favorite apples, cored, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • food dehydrator

Yep, that’s it. If you want to jazz them up, you could put some cinnamon and sugar mix onto them once they were cut up, but I went simple and simple was good.

Take your sliced apples and place them onto your dehydrator trays, leaving about 1/2 inch between each one. The goal is to not let them overlap or touch one another.

Apple Picking
Apple Picking – The Squinters

Once you have filled the trays, turn on your dehydrator and let them dry out for about 4-6 hours. It’s ok to feel them, and take them out when they meet your desired crispness.

Dehydrated Apples
Dehydrated Apples

You can store these in a airtight container to keep their crispness, but in our house, they were gone that afternoon. I was a bit startled to say the least to see them go so quickly, but I was actually really glad because I knew that everyone had a great nutritious snack that day. So if you are looking for something delicious and easy, and a great snack to boot, give these dehydrated apple chips a try (and yes you can do these in the oven as well).

Thai Style Honey

Thai honey… I know, big deal right? It is what you do with it that gets really, really good. We were running out of honey so I decided I pick some up at our local farmers market. The vendor had plenty to chose from but we decided to pick up a ‘standard’ batch of local honey. My wife typically uses honey in her teas but I typically use it in my cooking. That’s when I thought I would take some of that honey and infuse it with some Thai flavors.

Thai Style Honey Recipe
Thai Style Honey Recipe

This is so easy to make, stores well in the refrigerator, and is perfect drizzled on salads, pizza, or sandwiches.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 cup of honey
  • 3 Thai bird chilies (less for less heat)
  • 1 inch of lemongrass

Add the ingredients to a small pot, and cook on low for about 30 minutes. This will allow for those flavors to infuse the honey.

Thai Style Honey Recipe
Thai Style Honey Recipe

Pour into a sealable container, and place in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used.

The result is a great, sweet honey with just the right amount of spice. Your guest will be questioning what the heck it is, especially with that note of lemongrass. Hope you enjoy!