Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy New Year (Fondue, Shrimp & Grits)

Hi again. Happy new year! I realize I never finished my pre-Christmas post. Things got a little nuts here. Luckily, there has been plenty of good with the bad. The bad is mostly aches and pains, hopefully temporary, so things certainly could be worse.

Now onto the food! Unfortunately, for both dishes that I want to share we gobbled up the food before I even thought to get a picture, but they were both super-delicious. And one evening's menu led to a few others, which is always nice.

For New Year's Eve, we hosted a small dinner party of a 3-course fondue menu: cheese, broth, and bananas foster (the dessert was based on the recipe from The Melting Pot). The cheese was beer cheddar and really nice and smooth. It was perfect with tart apples, chorizo sausage, and crusty, whole grain bread (I stuck to mostly apples and a bit of bread). For the broth course, we did surf and turf, specifically sirloin and shrimp. We also had carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, and little roasted new potatoes (red). I made 3 dipping sauces- a creamy whole grain mustard with yogurt, cocktail sauce, and ponzu. The broth itself was just simple vegetable broth (heavy on the carrot and mushroom flavors). For dipping in dessert, we had banana chunks, fresh pineapple, brownies, pound cake, soft macaroons, and marshmallows. Yes, I ate processed sugar and flour voluntarily. I think my body can handle it once a year :-) But I still tried to stay more with the bananas than brownies (though I perhaps should not have made my favorite brownie recipe).

In addition to the shrimp and grits (below), I also made stew with the leftover beef (mushroom stew, adding the beef at the last minute to just cook through so it wouldn't get chewy.) and strata (a savory bread pudding) with the leftover bread cubes. I love when several days' worth of leftovers can be spun into completely new meals.

Silky Cheddar & Beer Fondue: (serves 4-6)

16 oz. sharp cheddar cheese (I used 2%)
1 tbsp. Earth Balance or other healthy fat (extra virgin olive oil would do- unrefined coconut would affect the flavor too much)
1 tbsp. flour (I actually used white flour for this since there is so little, but white whole wheat would work, just not be as silky)
1 c. winter ale (or brown ale, such as Newcastle, would work), preferably flat

Note: Rather than starting in the fondue pot, start this in a skillet.This allows easier incorporation of ingredients and a larger cooking surface for whisking. If you don't want to use beer, you could substitute

1. Heat the skillet on medium-low heat. Melt fat and whisk in the flour to create a roux.
2. Alternate adding a little beer and cheese at a time, whisking in thoroughly.
3. Add to fondue pot to keep warm and dip away!

Leftover-inspired Shrimp and "Grits": (serves 2)

When you have uncooked shrimp, there is a very small window in which to use it, so needed a way to use up the shrimp the day after fondue. I was inspired by the shrimp from the broth course and the chorizo from the cheese course. I was even able to use the prosecco leftover from our midnight toast. This one was more shrimp and polenta, but it's what I had on-hand. Either will do. It was very simple, but these are by far the best shrimp and grits I've ever had. This would be delicious over grits or polenta, so use what you have. I made 1/2 c. dry polenta for the 2 of us and stirred in approx. 1/4 c. asiago cheese when cooked.

2 links chorizo sausage (I prefer veggie or chicken), sliced into coins
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
approx. 1/2 c. vegetable broth/stock (chicken will do, if that's what you have)
approx 1/3 c. prosecco or champagne (optional)

1. Heat oil in hot pan.
2. Add chorizo and sautee until browned
3. Add garlic and sautee briefly to soften (careful, this will burn quickly!)
4. Add stock and prosecco and let reduce by about a third.
5. Reduce the heat and shrimp and stir until it turns pink and is just cooked through.
6. Remove from heat and serve immediately over polenta or grits



Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!