Cheesy!

A couple weeks ago, on April 11, we celebrated National Fondue Day in our house. I bought a fondue pot this winter and have been making use of it regularly, but I’d mostly stuck with traditional Swiss fondues. I had gotten a recipe from my husband’s aunt for fondue and it has taken me several tries to tweak it to get it to where we like it. I finally accomplished that, so since April 11 was National Fondue Day, I decided to try an American twist on the classic Swiss dish. I have to say that this was the most insane fondue even my husband has ever had.

CheddarFondue

This is Bourbon Bacon Cheddar Fondue. It’s delicious! It’s creamy and gooey and cheddary and bacony and scrumptious! If you don’t have a fondue pot, I suggest you get one ASAP! You’ll want one after you’ve tried this recipe. This fondue can be made using a double boiler and then kept warm in a hot miniature crock pot, but you really should use a fondue pot so you get it bubbling like it’s supposed to.

Ingredients
2¾ cups (11 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove, halved
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup beer (light beer recommended)
4 teaspoons prepared horseradish
4 teaspoons dry mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon bourbon
4 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and chopped into small pieces
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
4 teaspoons chopped scallions

Directions
1. Toss the cheese with the flour in a bowl or gallon ziploc bag.
2. Rub the inside surface of your fondue pot with both halves of the garlic clove, covering the entire inner surface. You may smash the clove and leave it in your fondue pot to mix with your fondue or remove it when you are finished. Personally, I recommend leaving it in. Place your fondue pot on your stove and turn the burner on high and let heat for 30 seconds.
3. Pour the beer into the fondue pot and reduce the heat to medium. With a fork or small wire whisk, stir in the horseradish, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
4. Add half of the cheese mixture; cook until the cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Add the remaining cheese a small amount at a time, stirring constantly in a circular motion after each addition until the cheese is melted.
5. Pour the bourbon slowly around the edge of the bowl. Pull the cheese mixture away from the edge of the bowl; cook for about 30 seconds or until the alcohol cooks off. Stir the bourbon into the cheese. Fold in the bacon and pepper.
6. Remove your fondue pot from the stove and place over a lit fondue burner. Make sure the heat from the burner is just hot enough to keep the fondue bubbling. Garnish with scallions.
For dippers, I chose to cut up pretzel buns and homemade French bread, and we also used bacon skewers, as you can see in the photo. The pretzel buns were the perfect complement to this amazing fondue! If you’ve ever had Ruby Tuesday’s beer cheese and pretzel bites, this is like that entree’s spicier, bacon-laced cousin. It’s definitely worth seeking out a few pretzel buns to use with this dish.
[Also, I should note here that I actually used half extra-sharp cheddar cheese and half Gruyere-Cheddar Melange cheese (a combination cheese I found at Trader Joe’s.) You don’t need to do this, but we loved it because it came out more creamy than it would have with just cheddar.]

Happy Labor Day!

I know, I know! I’m a day late and a dollar short! I’m sorry I’ve neglected this blog a little the past couple of weeks. My manchild started school again and I had hell with migraines for a few days in a row, so needless to say, I wasn’t really in the mood to stare at a computer screen.

Anyway, I hope everyone had an amazing Labor Day weekend. As I said, I spent the majority of the past 4 or 5 days laid up with persistent migraines, but I did manage to create a fabulous feast for us yesterday. I’ll share my favorite part, the fabulous potato salad. This isn’t just any potato salad, either. This is the most fabulous potato salad you’ve ever tasted!

You’ll need the following:
1 pkg. bacon (regular cut works better than thick cut bacon)
1 onion (any color, it really doesn’t matter)
5 – 6 large russet potatoes, whole
5-6 large eggs
1 jar Sweet Baby Gherkin pickles
Mayonnaise
Mustard
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper, to taste

To start, wash your potatoes, put them in a large pot and fill it with salted water. I like to add a little oil to keep the water from foaming and boiling over on me. Do NOT dice your potatoes. Leave them whole while you boil them. You’ll dice them later.

IMG_2495

Hard boil your eggs. This takes 10 minutes once the water reaches a rolling boil.

Next, get that beautiful package of delicious bacon. You did save it, and not eat it for breakfast, right?

IMG_2493

Okay, take that package of bacon and fry it up nice and crispy. You need it crispy, because you’ll crumble it and add it into your potato salad. Soft bacon is delicious, but doesn’t crumble very well. Here’s a picture of my bacon starting to fry. Does it look yummy, or what?!

IMG_2499

Now, while your bacon is frying, dice up your onion. You can dice it large or dice it small. It all depends on how big you want the pieces of onion to be in your salad. I, personally, prefer to dice small. Throw your onion in a large bowl when you’re done. The bigger the bowl, the better. It’ll give you more stirring room.

IMG_2504

Once you’re done with your onion, gather these three ingredients out of your fridge.

IMG_2508

Take 5 or 6 pickles out of the jar and dice them up into small chunks. Once you are done, add the pickles to the onions in the bowl. Get a medium mixing bowl, take about a cup of mayonnaise, 2 TBSP or so of mustard, and roughly a quarter cup of gherkin pickle juice and mix them all together.

Check your potatoes, and flip your bacon while doing all of this. Drain your bacon on a plate lined with paper towels. Your potatoes will be done when the skin starts to crack and break on them. Once that happens, drain them and cool them by soaking them in cold water. Do the same with your eggs.

Once your potatoes have cooled, dice them into large chunks and put them in the bowl with your onions and pickles. Dice your eggs and add them to the bowl as well.

Once your bacon has drained and cooled on the plate, crumble it. Chop up any large chunks that didn’t crumble well, and then add this to the bowl.

Stir in your mayonnaise mixture. It may not be enough, so you may have to mix more. I do all of this by head without really following any set recipe, so my measurements are all approximations. Once you’ve coated everything with your mayonnaise mixture, season your potato salad with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, to your taste. I prefer about 1 1/2 TBSP of garlic powder in my potato salad, but you may want more or less.

Then, cover your bowl, pop it into the fridge for a few hours to chill, and then enjoy with your favorite barbequed meat. We had ribs.