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(post, Annie Witkamp)
I don’t know if your area is sans gruyere but everywhere we’ve ever lived has not had this lovely cheese in any chain grocery store. Those days are over (I hope I’m not speaking too soon) because I have found it at both Super Target and Cub this weekend. It just appeared and my husband got to see me jump up and down in the stores. I really did and people saw and escorted their children to another area. I mean who wants absolute joy around their kids anyway? That stuff could be contagious. You can put this cheese on so many things-its nutty flavor can’t be held back. I’m talking mac n’ cheese, salads, strata, pasta, potatoes, casseroles and on and on. If you want to enjoy it at its best I would make fondue and I did. I must admit that a few weeks ago we were over at a friend’s house where sharp cheddar fondue was served and I was craving more afterwards. I have that recipe, as well as, my own that I will share below. No, you don’t need a fondue pot, a makeshift double boiler will suffice or even just a pot (if you eat it quickly). I was under the impression that fondue required alcohol to be termed ‘fondue’ but I have come across many recipes without. The show Passport to Europe may have persuaded me of this impression when Samantha visited somewhere in Switzerland. That Samantha Brown has a life; I adore her. I miss watching her shows and Anthony Bourdain while I’m on that topic. Alright, now I am beyond that and ready to discuss more of the weekend. Greg and I attempted to take Fall (although it snowed the day before) pictures on the bluff in Red Wing (Minnesota). The gates were closed on this park so we instead walked around the town. The largest boot, a Red Wing boot, is located here and I took Greg’s picture for his mom’s pleasure. I know how much she enjoys pictures like this. We also went to the town farmer’s market and Ferndale Market (Cannon Falls) on the way to Red Wing. We picked up some rhubarb jam, pear butter (with very little sugar I was told) and my favorite find, honeyed, pickled jalapenos. The honey really enhances the subtle heat of the peppers. We enjoyed all of these canned wonders with our fondue that night. I was in a (caloric) cheese mood and also baked some camembert that was amazing with the pear butter on crusty bread. That recipe is also below. All of these cheese recipes are simple and would make for great party dishes. At Ferndale Market, my first visit, we purchased ground lamb and Sweet Sixteen apples. The man was very kind and warned that these could possibly be the areas best apples (the orchard is directly behind the store). I would have to agree that he is right on with this sweet variety. The products there are all within “local” range and most of what we looked at was from Cannon Falls and other surrounding towns. The story of this store is heartwarming so check out that link and if you live in the metro/Minneapolis area, the store is less than an hour away. Their legacy is based on turkeys-free range, hormone-free and I intend to support the family this holiday season and beyond. For a glimpse into their products, check out ferndalemarketonline.com. Sunday was full of chores and seemed to slink away as if it were ashamed to be the day before Monday. I have a small case of the Mondays. Sharp Cheddar and Beer Fondue (by Josh’s mom) Serves 4 (I would make more if this is the main meal) Ingredients: 1/4 cup butter 1/4 cup flour 10oz extra sharp cheddar, shredded or cut into small pieces 12oz lager beer 1 tbsp Worcestershire Melt the butter in a pot (not fondue pot yet) and add the flour, mixing until smooth. Then, add the beer and whisk while turning up the heat to boil. Once it boils, add the cheese and Worcestershire until melted. If using a fondue pot, add cheese mix and set the heat to keep warm. This is great with apples, crusty bread, pumpernickel, cauliflower or whatever you fee like. Gruyere and White Wine Fondue Serves 4 (I would make more if this is the main meal) Ingredients: 2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp flour 10-12 ounces gruyere, shredded or cut into small pieces ½ cup white wine Melt the butter in the pot (not the fondue pot) or double boiler (a glass bowl set over a pot of hot water) and add flour until smooth. Add the cheese and wine and melt until smooth, then add to fondue pot set to warm, if you are using one. Serve with crusty bread, crackers, veggies, pretzels, fruit, meat, or whatever you wish. Baked Camembert Serves 4 Ingredients: 8-10 ounces of a round of camembert (or brie) salt/pepper-optional Preheat the oven to 350. Cut the top of the cheese (rind) off and sprinkle salt and pepper over the top. Bake until softened, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with crusty bread. This is great with fruit jam.