I fondue, do you?

So it’s no big secret.  I didn’t finish the 31 day series.  Sad… so sad!  But there’s always next year?  I feel like a major failure over it, I’m not going to lie.  In trying not to think about it, I have worked on a few other blogging/home projects already this month.  Just preparing the photos and then it’s blog city up in here!  Moving right along…

This past weekend we had some wonderful friends over.  These are the kind of people you can be around just about every single day and never tire of them you know?  I suppose that’s good, since I am around the 2 of them at work every single day!  And they are just the best, best, best!  To celebrate their first visit to our home, I thought we could use one of our unused Wedding gifts – the fondue pot!  I looked up several recipes, finding that they all called for at least 2 ingredients I either had no interest in tasting, or could not get my hands on.  We made our own recipe out of all that I found, and it was fabulous!  Here is a shot of the post eating marathon.  YUM!

Here is what I mixed into the pot – aka the “Recipe”:

Roughly 1 cup of milk (I didn’t measure it).  Let it simmer for a few minutes with the temperature at 200 degrees.

About 4 cups of Swiss cheese and 4 cups of Gruyere shredded with about 3 tablespoons of flour mixed in.  The flour is in there to make sure the cheese doesn’t get too lumpy.  Some people add the flour separately, but I read several recipes and blogs that suggested mixing it into the cheese.  Magic!  It worked beautifully.

The cheese was added in slowly over the milk.  I did about 1 cup at a time again to avoid lumpiness and ensure the cheese melted properly.  Once all of the cheese was melted (and very thick!) I added the white wine.  I put in a good amount – probably 2 cups?  This was also poured in slowly.  You don’t want to overwhelm the delicious cheese with its new BFF wine all at once!  Once the wine was in, the consistency was magical.  I did not change the temperature on the fondue dish.  200 degrees seemed perfect and I didn’t want to mess with that.  Sorry for the lack of “during” pictures… Luther the unruly dog was busy getting at the expensive cheese on the counter and jumping all over our guests, so I was distracted!

Here are a few more shots of the wonder that is melted cheese.  Did I forget to mention there was bread?  Oh yes… Alex did a lovely job cutting the bread into little cubes, and we added some veggies for good measure.  Our gracious guests brought some jalapeno poppers and other goodies.  Of course, there was wine.  Sound like a party?  Luther made sure it was one…

Here is the awesome wine we tried – this is not what I used int he fondue.  I used a dry white wine for the cheese, and this stuff is much fruitier – AND delicious.  We have tried the People’s Pinot Grigio, and it’s a new favourite in our household.  These are hard to find at some LCBOs though, so I have to keep my eyes peeled.

The lovely guests also brought some dessert – Portuguese custard tarts (Pasteis de Nata) from a local bakery we all love.  These are heaven-on-earth melt-in-your-mouth good.  We added some Lacey’s we had just purchased at Costco.  I you have never had these, go.  Go right now. Get to Costco and get them because they are nothing short of scrumptious.  Toffee and almonds and chocolate all melted together and soft and crunchy, melting in your mouth…. oh my!

Luther grabbed a half eaten tart right off of someone’s plate.  Before I could reach into his mouth to pry it out, he had swallowed it.  I tell you, this dog is stealthy when it comes to stealing food!

I realize this was a bit long winded, but the visit warranted a lengthy blog post.  And hey, at least you got some yummy tips along the way!

Linking up here!

A funny thing happened

So… I had big plans yesterday, and the day before that.  I was planning on coming home, making a delicious dinner, enjoying it with my husband then sitting down to write all about it! 3 out of those 4 things happened.  Guess which 3?  Yeah… the first 3!  I started uploading photos for the blog and closed my eyes… just for a second!  At 10:30 Alex woke me up from my curled-up-with-the-laptop slumber and we went to bed.  No blog.  I was so looking forward to making up for my nothingness from the previous day too!  In an effort not to dwell on my sleepiness and lack of blogging, let me just tell you all about Tuesday night…

I stopped at Costco and Sobey’s on my way home for some groceries, list in hand for some delicious meal recipes I found online and couldn’t wait to try!  I have been posting so much about how to make our house look like a home, but I really think this is a huge part of what makes a house be a home – sitting down for a delicious meal together.  As a family.  Just the two of us!  Now because I had a lazy Monday and didn’t even make dinner (the popcorn doesn’t count… the Whirly Pop did all the work!), I needed to redeem myself.  How did I try to do that? I attempted to make 2 meals at the same time.  Yep… I did.  Here is how that went:

Firstly, here are the recipes which I got from The Nest:

Recipe 1: Pasta e  Fagioli

Recipe 2: Maple Salmon Over Nutty Couscous

Please note: these were not meant to be eaten together.  I was making the pasta and beans for us to have this week with lunch and as a warm stew/soup.  Plus, I loved the sound of it and I really wanted to try it!

So I didn’t wrap the thyme, rosemary and bay leaf into a cheesecloth because I don’t have one.  I just left them as they are.

Onion chopping.  No tears!

Butter and olive oil. Delicious!

Add pancetta (best part).  I did not measure this.  I thought it’d be better to just have as much pancetta as I see fit!

The recipe calls for 2 cloves… I used 3.

While the onions, garlic and pancetta sauteed, I got started on the salmon.  I forgot to take photos of the maple syrup and balsamic, but you get the idea… it’s a syrupy, dark mixture.  My salmon was frozen, so I put it in the oven for a few minutes to soften it up.

Here are the beans I used.  I didn’t want to use all kidney beans, plus I really like Romano beans.

Adding in the broth.  As a quick FYI, the container has about 3 3/4 cups, so just dump the whole thing in there and measure 2 cups from the next one.

I got pre-chopped walnuts.  I accidentally cut the bag upside down.  Oops!

And while the bean concoction was busy boiling, I got to making the quinoa.  That’s right… no couscous.  I thought quinoa would be a better alternative.

Here is what the kitchen looked like while all of this was going on:

The picture does not do the smell in the room any justice… honestly, it was heaven in that kitchen!

The recipe says to blend a cup of the stew in a blender.  We do not have a blender.  I thought I would be smart and use our food processor… huge mess!  But it sort of worked.

I would have used whole wheat macaroni, but let’s face it… white pasta alway tastes better!

The salmon was done before everything else.

Here is the finished Pasta e Fagioli… parmesan cheese and all.  It tasted better than it smelled, which I did not think was possible!

Yes, we did end up having both the beans and the salmon.  We wanted to try both dishes.  And finally the salmon.

Finally, the kitchen post cooking 2 meals and eating… not bad, right?  Alex did the dishes.  Love that husband of mine!!

Go here for the 31 days of House to Home.

Linking up here.