As New Year's Eve got closer and closer, we leaned more and more toward staying in. And then I ended up being sick all of last week so that solidified our plans to stay in. But just because we were staying in didn't mean the night wouldn't be special and fun.
I wanted to make us something different for dinner. In the past I've done lamb chops because we don't eat them often, and I was thinking about making some this year when I remembered that Jeff had actually bought me a Le Creuset fondue pot two years ago just after I had a fondue party using my old fondue pot. I somehow never managed to make fondue since that day, so I thought New Year's Eve would be the perfect night to break out my still-new, two-year-old fondue pot.
We talked about what sorts of dippers we wanted, and Jeff said he would be happy as long as there was meat. I knew I wanted bread and potatoes, so we started from there. I ended up deciding to make steak and chicken kebabs with red peppers and onions, steamed broccoli, and roasted potatoes. Then I cubed up some bread and sliced pepperoni and set those out along with orange cherry tomatoes and some crackers. It was quite a spread.
We dipped and dunked and swirled and ate while watching the Train concert on Palladia and flipping through other channels, contemplating watching movies, sipping Riesling, and enjoying each other's company.
The cheese was a little strong and the fondue was thinner than I'm used to, so next time I would probably use more Fontina and less Gruyere and less wine. I loved the pancetta in there though.
Italian Cheese Fondue (Giada's recipe, Food Network)
8 ounces grated Fontina
8 ounces grated Gruyere
5 teaspoons cornstarch
6 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, chopped
2 cups dry white wine (Pinot Grigio)
Dippers of your choice
Toss cheeses with cornstarch in a large bowl, and set aside.
Saute pancetta in large saucepan (or in fondue pot if it can go on the stove) over medium-high heat until crisp, about 8 minutes.
Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Pour off excess oil.
Pour wine in the same pan, and bring it to a boil.
Lower heat to medium, and whisk in the cheese a few handfuls at a time. Continue whisking until cheese is melted and fondue starts to bubble.
Stir in the pancetta, reserving a little bit to toss on top.
Transfer fondue to a fondue pot, and set it over a burner or candle. Sprinkle the remaining pancetta on top.
Skewer dippers of your choice and dip, swirl, and eat!
Don't forget the fondue rules: No double dipping! (That one should be a given.) Don't drop your dipper in the pot. Tradition dictates that if a man drops something in the fondue, he has to buy drinks, and if a woman does, she has to kiss the person next to her. Be careful! Remember that the fondue fork is made of metal and the cheese is hot, so that metal can get very hot.
And a plug for my fondue pot: I learned that the Le Creuset fondue pot can go right on the stove, which was just amazing. I used to have to make the fondue in a normal pot on the stove and then transfer it to a fondue pot. This saves so much extra cleanup work and keeps the fondue warmer.
After we'd had our fill of cheesy goodness, we retreated to the couch to watch the New Year's Eve countdown shows.
A little later on, we had dessert, which you can read about tomorrow...
I'll always remember 2010 as the year we got engaged and started planning our wedding. I hope 2011 has fabulous things in store for us and for all of you too!
How did you spend New Year's Eve?