Monday, March 25, 2013

Welcome to the Himalayas! Snowcone?

Um...yeah, it's still really cold. The grass is determined to green up, despite the fact that the weather is cloudy and there are little bits of frozen precipitation floating around. That being said, I will release yet another cold-weather recipe. 

In Switzerland it get's pretty dang cold. In Switzerland, they also have an abundance of cheese. White cheese, yellowish cheese, cheese from cows, cheese from goats, cheese with holes in it, lots of cheese. With all that cheese to eat and it being really cold, they created Fondue. Which is really good and really hot and really yummy. It can be served with toasted french bread (Baguettes or even Hoagies work great), sliced Granny Smith or Cripp's Pink apples, or blanched veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, artichoke hearts and asparagus. Who can say no to veggies smothered in cheese? 

Here's what you will need for the Fondue:

1/2 pound Swiss cheese, shredded (it's actually called Ementhaller)
1/2 pound Gruyere cheese, shredded
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup dry white wine (white cooking wine will do in a pinch)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sherry
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1/4 -1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
Assorted things to dip into the fondue

Here's what you do:

Set up a double boiler. If you don't have one, you can jury-rig one out of a metal bowl that is the same size or slightly larger than your medium saucepan. In a small bowl, coat the cheese in the cornstarch. Set aside. Over the double boiler, bring the wine and lemon juice to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid. The reason for adding slowly is to make it all nice and smooth. After the cheese is smoothly melted, add the sherry and spices. Bring the entire double boiler to wherever you are serving the fondue as it will help keep it hot. You can also use a crockpot to keep it hot and melty. Impale whatever it is you are dipping into your fondue with forks or skewers and enjoy. Suggested beverages are hot tea or coffee with all the normal amenities. Just don't have a big, cold glass of water or something. The fondue will turn to a big, hard lump in your stomach, not that this has happened to me or anything.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wanted for Fraud: Punxutawney Phil, the Groundhog

Ah, my glorious winter returneth! After a brief glimpse of spring, the weather has relapsed into a wondrous state of permafrost, complete with snow and sleet. Befitting such a day, I have chose chosen to post two of my favorite warm-me-up things, Mayan style hot chocolate, and Cheddar's Restaurant style spinach dip.

For each cup of Mayan Style Hot Chocolate, you will need:

8 oz milk
2 tbsp cocoa powder, preferably Ghirardelli's
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tsp grated almonds
1/8 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
dash cayenne pepper (if you are brave or like spicy chocolate, feel free to add more)
cinnamon for sprinkling, optional garnish

Here's what you do:
Mix the cocoa, cinnamon and the sweeteners in a saucepan with a whisk. Add approximately 1 tbsp of the milk to make a paste of the dry ingredients and then gradually add the rest of the milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until hot and steamy. Add in a dash of cayenne. Be not afraid, it does not make it spicy, it merely enhances the flavor of the chocolate and helps marry all the different flavors. Then beat it like it stole your wallet to make it all frothy. When you pour it into a mug, it will have a nice layer of froth at the top. Sprinkle a bit of the cinnamon on top and proceed to enjoying the flavors of an ancient Meso-American civilization.

What you need for Cheddar's Spinach Dip:

1 block cream cheese, softened
1 block Colby cheese, shredded
1 block Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
4 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp salt, adjusting to taste
1 can diced green chilies
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Tortilla chips
Sour Cream

Here's what you do:

Melt butter in a medium saucepan, add salt and saute onion until soft. Mix in the flour to make a roux and let simmer until golden. Gradually add milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly and let boil for one minute and remove from heat. Stir in cream cheese, spinach, chilies and spices. Adjust seasonings to preference. Pour mixture into a baking dish and sprinkle with the grated cheeses. Bake until the cheese is melted and it is bubbling. Give it no more that 4 stirs with a spoon, you want it to be all melty and stringy. Top with a dollop of sour cream, stick a chip in the sour cream dollop, proceed to gorging on  wonderful, piping hot, cheese-filled  spinach dip of awesome!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Greetings, Hominids!

I now have a blog. Blogs are cool. Or so said the 11th Doctor. Anyway, this is the first installment of my food blog. I am pretty new to to the whole blog kit and caboodle  so have patience with me, my audience. Today we will start off with one of my favorite recipes. It is a simple recipe that I love, Bruschetta. Normally this is good for summertime, but with the weather of late being kinda gloomy and cold, it seems like a good option.

Bruschetta is an Italian dish that is good for an appetizer or a light meal. It is one of those dishes where you don't have to have set amounts of anything and is pretty fool-proof. And it is simply delectable. The bacon fat imparts a nice delicate flavor to the dish and give the bread a nice crunch. Here's a list of what you will need:

A few tomatoes
An onion
1-3 cloves of garlic, depending on preference
1 Baguette, sliced about 1 inch thick, on the diagonal
1 tsp dried Herbs de Provence, freshly crushed
Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
A few tbsp red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar, if you are adventurous
A few tbsp olive oil
Bacon fat, a generous amount
Salt and Pepper to taste

Here's what you do:

Dice the tomatoes and onion, mince the garlic. Mix with the oil, vinegar, herbs, salt and pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for about an hour or so. In the meantime, you can grate your cheese and slice the bread. Heat a generous amount bacon fat in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. You don't want it to be so hot that it smokes! Fry the bread on both sides and allow to drain on a paper towel. Spoon the tomato mixture over it and sprinkle with cheese. Proceed to eating while the bread is slightly warm.