It is a tradition at our house to have fondue on New Year’s Eve. It used to be just us and the kids, but over the years, more and more people have joined us. Our dining room table was at capacity this year and the two fondue pots I had going were barely enough. Next year, I think we’ll have to expand to another room and add a pot.
First, the table. New Year’s started out as a simple thing and has gradually become more complicated. This year we ended up with 9 people (one unexpectedly showed up at the last minute and we had to scramble to add a seat). It’s hard to see in the photo, but I took curling ribbon, curled it, and ran it the length of the table. Then I made shorter strands and laid them the opposite way along it. In between each place setting, I put another squiggle of curled ribbon. We also have some crazy new year hats and crowns that the guests amuse themselves with before dinner.
This year I used Martha’s fondue recipes. First, the cheese fondue. Let me say here that cheese fondue and I have a long and troubled history. The first few years it went beautifully. Then we entered a period where the fondue did not combine well for a few years – it would be stringy or separate. Last year I cheated and bought some already made, which I just heated. This year I put my trust in Martha. It was touch and go. I had the wine heated and started slowly adding cheese. All it did was clump up in the bottom of the pan. I kept stirring and stirring and slowly adding cheese, with no change. After half an hour, I reached the panic stage and Mr. MarthaAndMe was sent to look online for help while I called my mother. No help from either place. I kept stirring and finally added the cornstarch and lemon juice and POOF it suddenly came together. Miraculous.
With the cheese fondue I served:
– squares of ham
– slices of Italian chicken sausage
– slices of pear
– chunks of French bread
– chunks of pumpernickel rye bread
– pieces of hot pretzels (a total hit with the guests)
I also served a honey mustard sauce and a creamy dill sauce. Also on the table was the carmelized onion dip (see yesterday’s post). Martha’s fondue was excellent. It had a nice mix of cheeses which gave it a nice depth of flavor. As always, you’ve got to keep an eye on you fondue pots. If it gets too hot, it starts to overcook. If you cool it too much, it gets clumpy.
Next up was the chocolate fondue. This is easy to make since you just melt chocolate in cream. I used a mix of dark and semi-sweet chocolate. It was fabulous. I also used the same recipe and substituted some white chocolate to make a white chocolate fondue.
With the fondue I served:
– chocolate chip cookies
– fortune cookies
– chunks of rice krispie treats
– pound cake
I also served a bowl of chopped peanuts and a bowl of flake coconut (to roll things in after they are dipped in the chocolate). The chocolate fondue is always a big hit and so delicious.
We had a great time, but this party just about kills me every year! It takes so long to chop and prepare the many foods in advance and then there are so many plates, forks, and serving dishes to wash afterwards! Our party is dinner only – guests go elsewhere for the ball drop, so we were in bed by 10:30 and sound asleep from exhaustion.
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