Valentine's Day is for lovers, unless you have three kids under six...
On Valentine's Day I don't spend hours laboring over a romantic meal for my husband. He and I both know better. If I make a fancy meal, it means a lot of fancy clean up and an exhausted wife. We go out for a romantic dinner on a different night an leave the cooking and cleanup to someone else. We celebrate the 14th with our little family and some simple gooey cheese and LOTS of chocolate.
In an attempt to keep your life easy, here is how our "romantic" family fondue is made.
1 cup grated Swiss Cheese (imported, nice, in the fancy cheese area of your local grocery story)
1 cup of Gruyere (also to be found in the fancy cheese area)
2 TBL Flour
1 clove of garlic
1 cup white wine or chicken stock
Pinch of nutmeg
Grate your cheese and toss with 2 Tlb of flour and set aside. Rub your fondue pot with a clove of garlic and then turn on the heat. Pour in the white wine. Let it come to a simmer. Once you have a simmer, whisk in a handful of cheese at a time. Watch the mouthwatering cheese melt before you add more. The slower you go the more smooth the fondue. After the cheeses are incorporated you can add a pinch of nutmeg, a dash of dry mustard or other strange things you might come up with.
Serve with whatever you like to dip in cheese! A nice baguette or other nice dense loaf of artisan bread, veggies of all kinds, apple slices, cooked bite sized meat (you can grill chicken or a nice steak and cut it into bite size pieces), cooked shrimp and so on. The sky is the limit when you are with your kiddies.
- Do you want to make it even easier??? Some grocery stores sell the grated cheese already in a package (in the fancy cheese section), simmer a cup of white wine and add the cheese and you are done. Another package fondue that gets good reviews is in a redish box, Fondue from Switzerland, made by Emmi. haven't tried it yet, let me know if you do.
- Careful that your pot doesn't burn your fondue.
- Give everyone a stick, long bamboo skewers work nicely too, if you don't have official fondue skewers.
- It is fun for the kids to help, my son nicely arranged the veggie and fruit tray...hope you like the apple slice border. Not a hard task and he was super proud of himself
- Have lots of bread, apple, and pear slices...they go the fastest in my house
- Confession: It think the white wine taste better, but the chicken stock works if you have an opinion. I have also heard that apple cider is a good substitute too (seems a little sweet for me).
- You can still do this if you don't have an official fondue pot...just use a sauce pan. Be careful not to boil or burn the cheese and you have to eat it fast and reheat. Sometimes this works better because there is not an open flame for your two year old to be curious about.
- If you are interested, I have done a cheddar cheese sauce dip (it is really just my mac and cheese sauce) not my favorite, but my four year old couldn't get enough of it. He thought I was a culinary genius...cheese sauce makes everything better! The flavors were more appealing for the kids and it wasn't as stringy and difficult to dip). I can come up with a recipe if you want, let me know.
Now for my favorite part...
Who can go wrong with these ingredients?
2 Tbl Butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Melt butter in a fondue pot or saucepan, add condensed milk and chocolate chips. Stir on medium heat until melted. Add 1/4 cup cream and stir until incorporated. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Dip everything in chocolate and enjoy!
A few more Notes from the Doe:
|Here is what we dipped (not strawberries because |
I would have had to sell my youngest child to
buy some this time of year, hopefully
the price will go down in time for Valentine's Day)
- Let's be honest, my kids eat a little bit of the cheese and save most of their tummy space for this!
- If you are not serving this right away, make sure to cover it to keep it fresh. Don't keep the heat on unless you are stirring it every few minutes.
- If you think it is too thick or thin add or omit the cream. Add more cream to make it thinner (ironic) and don't add any if you want it rather thick.
- I like the semi sweet chocolate chips, my mom says, "the older you get, the darker the chocolate you like." Use whatever you fancy, but be aware that the condensed milk it is really sweet.
- I usually make rice krispies to dip, this time I made them and then stuffed the warm Rice Krispie mix into small cupcake tins and made perfect sized dipping Krispies. No cutting! I may just do that always from now on!
- At one point I think we microwaved a marshmallow, smothered one side of a graham cracker in chocolate fondue, and smashed it together...big smiles around our table that night.
I hope you enjoy! Most importantly, have fun with it. Let me know if you try something super creative and yummy! Happy Dipping!