Fondue



     The last post of 2010. Everyone is getting ready to ring out the old and bring in the new. It is a time for togetherness and celebration. With all the celebration there must be food. Food is part of the fun. Do you ever go to parties or functions and dread the drab selection of food? I will admit it, I do. Well this recipe will be a hit of the party. It is fun, easy, and colorful. Not to mention the variety or theme that can be brought together with this dish. Sweet, savory, crunchy, soft, etc... Adults and kids love fondue, it is different and unique.  I made a classic swiss fondue with an arrangement of fruits, vegetables and different kinds of breads all in perfect dipping sizes.
     
     
I started by blanching the carrots and broccoli, just to take some of the raw taste out of them. I dunked them in a big pot of salted boiling water for a minute or two, pulled them out, drained them, and then left them to cool. I had some fresh mushrooms sitting in the refrigerator begging to be used so I sauted them in a little olive oil for a few minutes on a high heat to give them a little color. I went to the grocery and purchased a loaf of  regular french bread and a loaf of multi-grain bread (sorry no homemade this time), cubed it and set on the serving platter. I cut up a granny smith apple and a red pear for color and sweetness and spritzed with lemon juice, to keep their flesh white and prevent them from turning brown. I added items that we like and what was readily available. Feel free to arrange your platter any way you wish. Add some protein of meat, fish, or seafood. Add potatoes. Or cauliflower. The options are endless.    



    The star of the show is the fondue. What wouldn't want to bath in a bubbly pot of cheese? Who wouldn't want to consume something that was bathed in a bubbly pot of cheese? Mmmm, Cheese! I love cheese. Ok, enough with the drooling. I used two different cheeses in this fondue an imported Swiss and a Gruyere, but feel free to use what you like. Normally fondue calls for Kirsch, which is a cherry flavored brandy. I could not find this anywhere, so I substituted apricot brandy. Hey I had it on hand, and it worked. That is what matters.


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Stuffed Apricot French Toast


The holiday season is here and dishes that can be made in advance are a great time saver. Imagine Christmas morning your family waking to the smell of sweet goodness of french toast and all you had to do that morning was to top it with a nutty strudel and toss it in the oven. Bake it while they sleep or bake it while opening the gifts that Santa had left. Either way it is so convenient because the majority of the work was done the night before.



This is a great brunch idea. Take this simple dish and you will be the star of the party. The presentation looks like you slaved away for hours, but in actuality the hardest part was slicing the bread. You may make this dish the same day, just make sure that you let it set at least an hour so the bread has a chance to soak up all that eggy goodness.



This dish is very versatile. If apricot doesn't appeal to you, use your favorite fruit and jam. Mix up the flavor combinations, maybe use orange marmalade and some fresh cranberries or peanut butter and jelly. Add cream cheese to your favorite flavors. For more simplicity use canned pie filling. Any way you serve it up I am sure it will be good. Another idea....use eggnog as your egg base. Now that would be a rich and tasty addition. Any way you prepare it, it will be good. And as always, make it your own.






STUFFED APRICOT FRENCH TOAST

1 loaf french bread, sliced 1 1/2" thick
2 jars of apricot jam
10 apricots, halved, pitts removed
10 eggs
2 c milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

TOPPING:
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter, cubed
1 c chopped pecans
2 Tbsp maple syrup

Arrange 1/2 of the slices of bread in a greased 9x13 pan.  Arrange the fruit on top of the bread, spread with jam, and top with remaining bread slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour mix over bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, combine the brown sugar and butter in a small bowl until it resembles crumbs, add nuts and syrup. Sprinkle over the french toast. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes until egg mixture is set and knife comes out clean when inserted near the center. 

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Turkey & the Leftovers


A quick entry for post Thanksgiving turkey leftovers...

Thanksgiving has been over for a week now, it is time to use up that turkey or throw it away. I would hope that you use it (remember that there are hungry children in Africa). First off save that carcass and scraps. It is very easy to make stock which will freeze until next Thanksgiving, if it lasts that long. It is great to have homemade stock to use in soups, sauces, and as an everyday cooking liquid. It is very easy to make and the aroma of your house is magnificent.
The following is a list of all the wonderful ideas to help use up your celebratory bird.

  • Turkey Tortellini/Noodle Soup (great use for that yummy stock you have simmering on your stove) (freezable)
  • Turkey Rubens
  • Turkey Omelet
  • Turkey Pot Pie (freezable)
  • Turkey Salad
  • Turkey Lasagna (freezable)
  • Turkey and Dumplings (freezable)
  • Turkey Taco Salad
  • Turkey Noodle Casserole (replaces Tuna) (freezable)
  • Turkey Gravy over Mashed Potatoes
  • Chipotle Glazed Turkey Tacos
  • BBQ Turkey Sandwiches (freezable)
  • Turkey Joes (sloppy joes) (freezable)
  • Turkey Tettrazini
Hopefully this will help in your left over bird consumption and gives you plenty of ideas for the present and future Thanksgiving leftovers.

TURKEY STOCK

Turkey carcass, bones, skin and all
3 carrots or more, no need to peel
3 ribs of celery, leaves attached, or more
2 onions, peeled
1/2 head of garlic
1 Tbsp peppercorns
3 Tbs salt
fresh or dried herbs to taste, I used sage, rosemary, dill, and thyme (just because I have them in my garden)
Water to cover

Throw everything in a big stock pot and cover with water. Simmer on medium low heat for 5 hours or so, until stock becomes brown and rich in color. You will see squash seeds because I had butternut squash that day too, so I threw in the peelings and some seeds happened to find their way into the pot too. Use whatever scraps you may have, that is the beauty of stock. 
Strain and pour into containers, freeze until ready to use.



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