Dress up a pre-cooked deli chicken, grate some cheese and set the table
Story and Photo by Paul Thompson
Fondues and Don'ts
Inviting friends to share fondue is a notch different than the usual dinner invitation, somehow more festive, more free-wheeling. As we cross bayonets at the melting pot, we move to a more intimate proximity. We talk more, listen more.
That was the scene at the Piper household, welcoming the New Year with two varieties of fondue, a green salad with pine nuts, and, of course, champagne. Small cauliflower florets and two colors of bread cubes were the dippers.
We selected two contrasting fondue recipes, one with a cheddar cheese base and the other, Swiss cheese. We are familiar with the mild-to-extra sharp distinctions of cheddar cheese, maybe less so with Swiss cheese. We used Gruyere, a stronger, more flavorful — and, of course, more expensive — variety of Swiss cheese. But it’s worth it, I think, for the occasional fondue.
French Fondue Tillamook Style
1 clove garlic
2 Tbl butter
3 Tbl chopped chives
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups shredded Tillamook extra sharp
3 Tbl all-purpose flour
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Rub the top of a double boiler or chafing dish with the clove of garlic. Add the butter, chives and wine. Heat to the boiling point. Toss the flour with the cheese, then add slowy, stirring in one direction until the cheese melts. Add pepper, nutmeg and salt while stirring.
Keep the fondue warm over a chafing dish or food warmer.
Sue’s Swiss Cheese Fondue
1 clove garlic, cut in half
1/2 lb. Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 lb. imported Swiss cheese (Jarlsberg)
3 Tbl. flour
1-1/2 cups dry white wine
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbl. Kirschwasser or cognac
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 loaves French baguette, cubed
Dippers (broccoli, cauliflower,
mushrooms, carrot and apple chunks)
Fondue is easy enough to create. Shred the cheese, mix it with other ingredients and melt. I find it easier to melt the cheese on the stovetop and then move the fondue pot onto its tabletop warmer.
Turn the lights out, and let the flicker from the Sterno can create a mood for romance.
Chicken a go-go
We’ve all seen and probably used the hot rotisserie chickens at our grocers. They taste pretty good most of the time.
What started out as a hunt for duck ended with a lovely chicken l’orange. We envisioned the classic duck l’orange for dinner. So much for visions. Our search for fresh or frozen duck in area stores was in vain. Saddened, we lowered our scopes to the lowly preroasted chicken. It was so much easier and quicker starting out with a freshly roasted bird. The orange sauce, drizzled
over the bird, took it to heaven. This recipe is fast and easy, with ingredients you probably have on hand. It’s a classy way of upgrading an otherwise-ordinary dinner.
Roasted Chicken with Sweet-Sour
Orange Sauce (makes about 2 cups)
1 cup chicken stock, thickened with 3 tsp cornstarch mixed first with a little of the stock.
In another pan, cook together until light brown 2 Tbl vinegar and 2 Tbl sugar.
Combine with the chicken stock and cook 4–5 minutes.
Add 2 Tbl; julienned and blanched navel orange rind, 1/2 cup hot orange juice, 1 Tbl lemon juice, 2 Tbl Triple Sec and salt and pepper to taste.
Place chicken in 375º oven for 15 minutes to crisp.
Transfer to platter, pour suace over the top and garnish with sprigs of rosemary, parsley and fresh orange slices.
Serve additional sauce on the side.
Paul Thompson grew up in Longview and, following his career at Wright College in Chicago, is retired in Sequim, Wash. He writes CRR's regular print-edition column, "Man in the Kitchen." He enjoys cooking, filmwatching and playing golf.