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ATG's Lazy Chef: X-Mas Fondue

Don’t leave – fondue is much more than just melted cheese! Of course, there’s certainly nothing wrong with ooey, gooey cheesiness, but it doesn’t make much of a holiday meal. The Swiss thought the same thing, which is why they started switching it up by dipping meats in hot oil and fruits in melted chocolate – although it took them about 250 years to make the leap. Cheese fondue has been in the Swiss record books since the late 17th century, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that a Swiss-American immigrant introduced <em>fondue bourguignonne</em> (meat fondue) and chocolate fondue to the food-dipping set in New York. The result is a hot, delicious three-course meal that brings people together in a fun, tasty and interactive eating experience – a perfect holiday trifecta. All you really need is a <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/fondue-set-fountains-fondue-sets_3248.html?&amp;option0=optionA=235076|14544~Valu" target="_blank">fondue pot and forks</a>, the ingredients and a few simple instructions … <strong>1.       </strong><strong>Cheese and Veggie Fondue (Appetizer)</strong> <ul> <li>Large loaf of French or sourdough bread, cubed</li> <li>Assorted veggies, sliced</li> <li>1 1/2 cups Gruyere cheese, grated</li> <li>1 1/2 cups Emmental cheese, grated</li> <li>1 1/2 cups dry white wine</li> <li>1 tbsp. cornstarch</li> <li>1 tbsp. thyme</li> <li>1 clove fresh garlic, halved</li> <li>Pepper to taste</li> </ul> <strong>The Method</strong> Rub inside of a <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/sauce-saute-pans_3296.html?linkLoc=topnav" target="_blank">medium-sized pot</a> with garlic and discard. Add wine and set heat to simmer. Mix cornstarch with a splash of water or wine in a cup and set aside. Add cheese to pot and stir in a crosswise pattern so it doesn’t ball up. Once melted, stir in cornstarch and wine mix. Cook for about 6 minutes while stirring and then transfer mixture to your fondue pot over flame. Dip bread and enjoy. <strong>2.      </strong><strong>Hot Oil Beef and Veggie Fondue (Main Course)</strong> <ul> <li>1/2 lb. butter<strong></strong></li> <li>1/3 lb. beef sirloin per person, cubed <strong></strong></li> <li>3/4 cup olive oil <strong></strong></li> <li>Assorted veggies, sliced</li> </ul> <strong>The Method</strong> Melt butter with oil in a small pan then transfer enough to your fondue pot to fill it halfway. Heat mixture to 365ºF, dip meat and veggies into mixture to cook and enjoy in one of the below sauces. <strong>2a.    Sauces</strong> <ul> <li><em>Creamy mustard</em>: 1/2 cup butter, 3 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 5 tbsp. Worcestershire</li> <li><em>Horseradish</em>: 1 1/4 cup sour cream, 4 tsp. horseradish sauce, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, salt/pepper to taste</li> <li><em>Curry</em>: (1 cup plain yogurt, 1 tsp. curry paste, 2 tsp. lime juice)</li> <li><em>Chili</em>: 6 tbsp. mayo, 2 tbsp. sour cream, 1 tbsp. ketchup and 1 tbsp. crushed red chilies</li> </ul> Mix ingredients for each and set out in small ramekins with the hot oil and meat. <strong>3.      </strong><strong>Chocolate Fondue (Dessert)</strong> <ul> <li>Strawberries, apples, pears, marshmallows, etc. for dipping, sliced</li> <li>6 oz. bittersweet <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/chocolate-fountains-fondue-sets_3248.html?&amp;option0=optionA=235075|14544~Valu" target="_blank">chocolate</a> (64% max cacao), chopped if not in pieces</li> <li>1/2 cup heavy cream</li> <li>2 tbsp. unsalted butter</li> <li>2 tbsp. brandy</li> </ul> <strong>The Method</strong> Simmer butter, cream and brandy in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate, stirring until smooth. Transfer to fondue pot and set to low heat. Try one course to mix and match with a more traditional meal, or try them all for a whole new holiday experience. Happy holiday dining, and check back soon for more recipes from the Lazy Chef at <a href="http://www.atgstores.com/" target="_blank">ATGStores.com</a>.
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