Sunday, February 03, 2008

Political Fondue Party- Dippity-Doo-Dah

In my entire life I've never before had two candidates I really could actually truly vote FOR. Seriously.

But of course, we live in California, so not only are we responsible for selecting the next president of the United States, we also have to vote on a half a dozen propositions, money for parks, gas tax, authorizing slot machines for casinos, extended retirement for police officers -- jeez louise-- don't even ask. We'll set aside for a moment my questions about why _I_ have to do this when we pay people to go to Sacramento to make legislation and deal with budget issues.

Our larger problem is that we have to actually read the accursed props before SuperTuesday. This year we've actually been organized enough gather together a group of like-minded (i.e. also confused) friends on the Sunday before the election, so that we can all read through and argue the pros and cons.

We originally billed it as a Political Pizza Party, but it seemed appropriate to promise our constituents one thing and then deliver another, so we turned it into a fondue party instead. It was partly inspired by Melissa Clark's recent piece in the New York Times of course, but we did the Martha Stewart twist, because her Spanish fondue sounded wintry and warming.

We escaped the 70s without a fondue pot, so we worked with candles and All Clad instead and that worked just perfectly.

And instead of cubed bread, I tried making grissini. The bread sticks were actually quite yummy on their own, although I have to say, the smooth surface means that the cheese doesn't stick quite as well as it does to rough bread pieces.

Political Fondue Party Menu
  • Classic Fondue of Appenzeller, Gruyere and Emmenthaler
  • Spanish Fondue of Manchego and Brigante with Red Bell Pepper and Sherry
  • Semisweet Chocolate Fondue and Lemon Madeleines
For dipping, we also offered lightly steamed broccoli, new potatoes, fennel slices, red bell pepper slices, cherry tomatoes, cornichons, olives and chorizo as well as the grissini. There were also chunks of Gala apples and pears for the chocolate.

Um... there's a paw in that picture.

Um. Excuse you.

Our arrangement attracted the attention of the Cheese Kitty, who inspected all concoctions, before settling on my knee to keep an eye on the action.

Classic Fondue

1 clove of garlic, split
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1.5 lbs of swiss style mountain cheeses such as Gruyere, Emmenthaler, Raclette or Appenzeller
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
white pepper

Grate the cheeses roughly and combine in a bowl, tossing with cornstarch.

Rub the cut side of the garlic clove over the surface of the pot and then add the white wine and bring to a boil. (I also chopped the garlic up and threw it into the pot too.) Add the cheese in handfuls, stirring until the cheese melts. then add in lemon juice, and if desired, pepper and nutmeg.

Serve hot!

Spanish Cheese Fondue

1 clove garlic, split
1 1/2 cups dry Spanish Sherry
1.5 lbs Spanish Cheese such as Mahon, Manchego, Idiazabal (We used an Italian cheese called Pecorino Brigante, but it worked quite well in this recipe)
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 small red bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Grate the cheeses roughly and toss in a bowl with cornstarch to coat the cheeses.

As with the recipe above, rub the cut side of the garlic on the surface of the pot, and then add the sherry and bring to a boil. Add in handfuls of the cheeses and stir until they melt. Stir in the red bell pepper, salt and pepper. Serve hot!

And this one is SUPER-easy:

Chocolate Fondue

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 lb semi sweet chocolate (we used 58% cacao El Rey)

Heat the cream over a medium heat, but keep an eye on it so it doesn't boil. When steam begins rising off the cream, add in chocolate and lower the heat if necessary to keep it from over boiling. Stir until the chocolate is melted and then serve -- hot! We served with some madeleines and fruit.

We have no fondue forks either, so we improvised by rubber-banding triplets of bamboo skewers together-- which turned out to be highly effective and way cheap.

Oh, and positions?

Proposition 91- Gas Tax: NO
Proposition 92- Community College Funds: (unable to decide!)
Proposition 93- Term Limits: NO
Proposition 94- Indian Gaming: NO
Proposition 95- Indian Gaming: NO NO
Proposition 96- Indian Gaming: NO NO NO
Proposition 97- Indian Gaming: FER PETE'S SAKE-- NO ALREADY!

And bonus for San Franciscans:
Proposition A- Parks Improvements: YES
Proposition B- Defer retirement for Police: YES
Proposition C- Global Peace Center: NO (How did this even get to the ballot? Sheesh.)

Oh, and New York won!!!

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