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.]
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I’m Your Resident Coffee and Wine Snob

I have learned both of these obsessions from my dear husband, and I thank him dearly for showing me the finer things in life! Not only am I snobbish about wine and coffee, but I’m a little peculiar about cheese. This practically brings my poor cheese-loving Swiss husband to tears. I can’t stand his favorite cheeses.

My coffee must be dark roast, preferably the darker, the better. We routinely drink French roast or espresso roast in our drip coffee maker. In fact, a couple of years ago we discovered this fantastic “deal” on coffee through Amazon: a 5 lb. bag of whole bean Italian espresso roast coffee. Yes, we consume this entire bag in a little over a month! It’s fantastic both as regularly brewed coffee and as a great espresso.

I’m also a huge wine snob. I can’t stand cheap wine! My favorite brand is a great bottle of Moët & Chandon. Of course, living a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget isn’t exactly an option for us, so I don’t get this very often; we get to indulge maybe twice a year. It’s worth it, though. I still want to try Veuve Clicquot. Since Veuve Clicquot is nearly twice the price of a bottle of Moët & Chandon around here, I still haven’t had the opportunity to taste it.

As far as cheese goes, I dislike all of the cheeses that smell and taste like sweaty socks. They gross me out. My husband loves a good Brie or Camembert, but I just want to hurl chunks smelling them! I like “normal” cheeses like cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan. I’ve tried all of his “fancy” cheeses, as I call them, and cannot stomach the smell or flavor! I still buy them for him to enjoy, but I pass on them.

What are some things you’re snobbish about?

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

Cheesy Cheddar Broccoli Soup

I don’t know about you, but I love a good broccoli cheese soup. I’ve always loved it, and I used to buy those hideous dried soup packets by Bear Creek until I figured out how to make this. I don’t remember where I got the original recipe, but I’ve tweaked the hell out of it, to the point I’m not sure the two look the same anymore. I love this soup because it’s not made with that horrible product known as pasteurized process cheese product, a.k.a., Velveeta. NASTY! The worst part of Velveeta is how it twists my insides into knots and makes it feel like a grenade went off inside me. So, this is amazing!

Here’s a beautiful picture of my bowl before I dug in.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Ingredients:
1 – 10 oz. package broccoli florets (you can find these in the produce section of the grocery store)
1 – 32 oz. carton chicken broth
1 – large onion, diced
2 – cups shredded carrots
2 – large spoonfuls of chopped garlic (the kind in the jar)
1 – bay leaf
1/2 – TSP garlic powder
1/2 – TSP allspice
1/2 – TSP dried basil
1/4 – TSP cayenne pepper
1/4 – TSP paprika
1/2 – TSP salt
6 – TBSP butter
6 – TBSP flour
1 – 1 pint carton whipping cream
1 – 8 oz. package cream cheese, diced
16 oz. extra-sharp cheddar cheese (either buy it already shredded or buy a block and shred it – I prefer the latter)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients through salt in a large stock pot. This is your “broth” base. Bring it to a boil and cover it, allowing it to boil for around 15-20 minutes. You want your broccoli super-tender and your onion cooked through.

When your broth is nearly done cooking, melt your butter in a small saucepan and whisk in the flour. Keep your heat on medium, and whisk this briskly for about 2 minutes. It should bubble furiously while you do. Voila! You’ve just made roux! Remove it from the heat after 2 minutes.

Dig your bay leaf out of your broth. This next step is completely optional, but I strongly suggest you do it – ladle out about 4 scoops of veggies from your pot and try to drain out as much liquid as possible. Put this in your food processor with the chopper blade and pulse it until everything is completely pulverized. Dump this back into your pot.

Now, turn up your heat to medium-high and pour in your cream and then your roux. Stir this for several moments, and then start dropping in the chunks of cream cheese. I like to drop them all in the pot and then take a spatula and crush the chunks against the side of the pot and then scrape it loose and stir it into the soup. Repeat this until you can’t see anymore chunks of cream cheese in your soup when you stir it.

Lastly, you want to slowly stir in your shredded cheddar cheese, a little at a time, until it’s all combined and melted into your soup well.

Now, your soup is done! I like to serve it with a slice of homemade bread, and garnish it with some red pepper flakes and extra shredded cheese.

Enjoy! This is the best soup ever!

Gooey, Cheesy, Creamy Deliciousness!

Want another super-easy crock pot recipe? I thought so!

This one is courtesy of Progresso. It’s my favorite chicken burrito recipe, and it’s so freakin’ easy to make, yet turns out so amazing that you’ll shock even yourself at your slow cooker skills!

Here’s what it looked like when I made it for the first time a couple of years ago.

Cheesy Chicken Sour Cream BurritosJust as an FYI, those are home-pickled jalapeños and homemade salsa all from my garden. I miss having a garden!

Anyway, like I always do, I’ve altered this recipe slightly. I add a spoonful of chicken base and some taco seasoning. I usually do this by pouring the can of cheese sauce into a mixing bowl and adding those two ingredients, and then whisking them until they’re well combined, before dumping them over the chicken. I also add nacho jalapeño slices (the pickled jalapeños in the jar) to the sauce, before turning on the heat. After that, it’s just a matter of following the recipe. You can, of course, add more cheddar cheese at the end, than what the recipe calls for, but the better idea would be to buy extra-sharp, so you get that flavor without the extra calories and fat.

Enjoy! This really is an amazing recipe!