Yes, I've come back in from the desert for my occasional contribution to this food blog.
We moved to a new house in South Nashville (Glencliff, if getting specific) two weeks ago, and as a housewarming gift, our friends Brad and Shawna came over last night with fondue fixins'. Well, I guess fondue doesn't have "fixins," perhaps something more like "accouterments."
The first course was Belgian beer, garlic, cheddar cheese and flour mixed for a delectable cheese sauce. We dipped French bread, pickles and even Pink Lady apples into it (the later is for sweet-and-savory lovers). Fondue, or any properly French meal, isn't complete without wine, which we had on hand in shades of red and white. Two of our favorite wines are Fat Bastard chardonnay, an affordable, yet lovely wine introduced by Aunt Sharon (thanks!) and Our Daily Red, an organic, sulfite-free, yet affordable red table wine.
After a quick clean-up, the fondue pot was ready for hot oil, into which we dipped battered pieces of salmon, tilapia (if you're ever curious about where your seafood fall on the "Sustainability Scale," check out this site, super-easy to use) and chicken. Two dipping sauces, both Asian inspired, perfectly complemented our tempura-like meal with a peanut-red chili sauce and a soy-ginger sauce.
Once the fish and chicken were done, it was time for dessert and bottle-a-red number 2! Another quick clean-up of the fondue pot led to a can of sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla extract and a dash of milk for a Belgian chocolate dipping sauce. Bananas and strawberries came out with an all-natural version of chocolate shell (Yeah, you know you've eaten it) on them.
Fondue's a great way to slowly savor rich food, good wine and conversation, something we could all stand to do more often in the midst of "grab a sandwich" or "pop something in the microwave" approaches to dinner time at the end of long days. Friday night's a perfect time for fondue or a long, drawn out meal. Everybody's just finished their work week, you can stay up late if you like and then sleep in, relax on Saturday. Good times.