Sunday, December 7, 2008

Holiday Fun!

On a chilly and snowy night at dusk we set off for "White's Christmas Tree Farm" in Essex Vermont to cut down our Christmas tree. I am a huge fan of a tall skinny bare tree. Strange and odd I know but that is what I look for. Hand saw in hand, we walked through hundreds of beautiful snow covered trees that were all sizes. We found the one, cut it down, placed it in the pickup, then headed home with sweet hot chocolate in hand, compliments of the White's.

Next on the list is a gingerbread house. In the past I have made elaborate houses with great details such as stained glass windows and gold-leave highlights. This year we decided to build a round house. The outside walls will be made to look like stone and the windows will be round with poured caramel made to look like glass. Most important we will have fun with it all.

Speaking of fun... Warm cheese fondue is on my list to enjoy this holiday season. I don't know anybody that says no to dipping fresh bread, fruit, or vegetables into melted cheese on a cold night. Fondue will enhance any holiday time like when you are decorating your Christmas tree, baking holiday cookies, wrapping presents, and of course entertaining.

Be well and keep in touch!

Lots to be grateful for.

Cheese Fondue

1 large clove garlic, cut in half
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons kirsch * (optional)
1/2 lb Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1/2 lb Gruyère, coarsely grated (2 cups)

  1. Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat.
  2. Stir together cornstarch and cheese.
  3. Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame.
* Kirsch is a German brandy made from small, black cherries grown around the Black Forrest. Very strong and potent.

What to dip:

Cubes of French bread
Slices of apple and pear
Roasted potatoes
Julienned raw red bell pepper

Blanched broccoli florets

What to drink:
Dry white wine such as dry Riesling or Sancerre
German lager or Saison-style ale
Farmhouse cider
Fino Sherry

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