Happy New Year! How is it already January?! It seems like Halloween was just a couple weeks ago. It certainly has been quiet on my blog the past few months...yikes! One of my New Year's resolutions is to return to the blogosphere and post a bit more frequently than once a month. I'm ready to jump back in with new recipes I've been trying, and a couple cakes I have coming up. No promises, but I have missed the blog world!
There's not much to report on from the past few months, we've just been busy with work and holiday festivities. I was lucky enough to spend a week in my home state for Christmas visiting with friends and family. We decided to come back before New Year's Eve, though, and enjoy an evening at our home. Our schedules are about to get a tad hectic with some work and personal trips coming up, so it was nice to spend a couple days home relaxing. Well...relaxing and doing lots of cooking of course.
Here's a few food highlights from my Christmas:
Delicious Pioneer Woman sweet rolls I made for a family breakfast
Helping my niece and nephew bake cookies for Santa
For New Year's Eve, we decided to test out one of my new Christmas gifts - a fondue pot! One of my favorite spots to go for special occasions is The Melting Pot. We used to live close to one, but now it is a little over an hour away. The dinners are also a bit pricey, so we decided to try our hand at making our own fondue night at home. We went all out for NYE and did a 3 course meal. As we were doing it, I began to see why it costs so much at the restaurant! There is a significant amount of ingredients to buy, and a ton to prep! But, it was a blast doing it ourselves; we will definitely get some use out of the fondue pot. We will just stick to one or two courses an evening from now on, though.
I had a strong suspicion I was getting a fondue pot for Christmas, so I'd been planning this evening out for a while. Copycat recipes are always tricky because I tend to dive in with high expectations. Thankfully I was very pleased with our replications of our favorite Melting Pot dishes. Since they turned out well, I decided to share them with you all! Over the next week, I'll be sharing our take on the Fiesta cheese appetizer, Court Bouillon main course, and the Bananas Foster white chocolate dessert. First up, the Fiesta cheese.
I've had two cheese courses at the Melting Pot, but the Fiesta cheese is by far my favorite. It's a pretty simple recipe to follow and doesn't require too many ingredients - cheddar and swiss cheese, beer, salsa, jalapenos, and cornstarch for thickening. My husband and I aren't beer drinkers so we kind of guessed on what kind to use. But, all in all I thought the recipe tasted very similar. Our texture was slightly different, but I think we needed to just experiment a little more with the amount of corn starch we use. We were pleased with the quality of the cheese, though, I would definitely stick with block cheese that is freshly shredded.
Before I share the recipe, let me point out you certainly don't have to have a fondue pot to enjoy this! You could also make the recipe in a double boiler.
Fiesta Cheese ingredients:
- 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
- 2 oz Emmental swiss cheese, freshly shredded
- 3 oz salsa (just whichever kind you like best)
- 4 oz lager beer (we used a lighter beer which seemed to work well)
- ~2 tbs corn starch
- Minced jalapeno
- Cubed French bread
- Cubed apples
- Tortilla chips
- Heat beer in fondue pot at the warm setting (or heat in a double boiler) until almost boiling
- Add salsa and mix until it is fully combined
- Slowly add cheese, mixing as you incorporate
- As the cheese begins to melt, mix in the corn starch to achieve a thicker consistency
- Add 1 tsp of minced jalapeno, add more if desired (we added a whole jalapeno!)
- Dip and enjoy!