Sunday, January 06, 2008

Get ready for Fondue Mac (no relation to Fleetwood)

Let me start with this: desperate times call for desperate measures. And when one's garden stairwell turns into a full-on waterfall, gushing towards ones front door, things get a little desperate. I mean, we've been wanting a water feature to complete the Zen garden vibe, but this is ridiculous.

In any case, after one gets soaked to the bone, trudging through knee-deep water to sandbag the house, one requires coziness and comfort, to say the least. But what's the ultimate soothing, warming dish? Certainly, it involves cheese, but in what format? Fondue? Mac and Cheese? Well readers, necessity is the mother of invention. Like other awesome flavor combos, this is a taste sensation for the ages. It’s a decadent treat that satisfies both cravings. And it’s pretty much the easiest, cheesiest, ooiest, gooeyest goodness you’ll ever lay lips on. So when the winds pick up and the rain buckets, hunker down with a big bowl of this ridiculously comforting combo.

To begin, let it be said that I usually make fondue from scratch, but time was of the essence. Melty cheese, stat! This being the case, I started with one of those fondue kits that have the kirsch and garlic flavors pre-mixed. Very Sandra Lee “Semi-Homemade” of me, I know. Anyway, I heated the packaged fondue as a base, then added about 5 cups of cheese: a grated blend of Emmenthaler, Gruyere, Raclette and Sharp White Cheddar. Whenever it got too thick, I added a little milk. While the fromage was melting, I boiled a bag of macaroni. Once done, I returned the mac to the hot pan, poured the cheese sauce over it, mixed it through and then transferred the whole delicious mess to an oven-proof crock. I sprinkled it with panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) and baked it at 450 for about 10 minutes to brown the top. We served it with greens tossed in blood orange olive oil and sea salt and a chilled Sauvignon Blanc. Sitting by the fire eating this luscious yumminess, we forgot all about the felled trees and waterfall in our yard. Oh, and the tequila shots helped, too.


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