Fondue Party

A gathering of your favorite people, revolving around vessels of {typically} cheese or chocolate, accompanied by perfectly paired foods and libations.  The reason to why fondue parties went out of style will forever be a mystery to me. 2019 is the year we are taking back fondue. Foodies, rejoice!

Fondue 4

There are few foods that I love more than cheese. Cheese makes everything better. A close second? Chocolate. But that doesn’t mean cheese and chocolate are the only types of fondue-to-do. For your starter you can easily sub out the cheese with a marinara or Alfredo sauce and go Italian themed. Have breaded chicken/veal cutlets, some spicy or sweet Italian sausage, ravioli, garlic knots, mozzarella sticks,  shrimp & scallops for dipping. Make it southern and have some homemade sausage gravy in your fondue pot with fried chicken fingers, biscuits, hush puppies, potatoes and corn fritters as your dippers. Not one single person has ever said fondue was healthy. For dessert, swap out the chocolate for melted peanut butter and joyfully dunk just about anything in your reach. Caramel or a bubbling strawberry compote are great options too, but I’ll list a ton of great combinations and fondue options below.

You do not need a fondue set to execute the perfect fondue party. You can simply heat up or melt your ingredients on the stove and pour them into a bowl for serving. Keeping it heated is not overly important, as I promise that someone will be licking that bowl clean before it’s even cooled down. I would, however, ensure you have some sort of poker stick/kebobs for dipping purposes. You can find wooden ones at just about any grocery store. Don’t forget to put out some refreshments on your bar cart or counter, some good IPA’s or wine being some of my favorites! However, some bubbly cocktails or fruity mocktails would be just as enjoyable.

Just like there are no rules to cooking, there are no rules to fondue. Have fun with it, try new things! The best part about fondue is how casual it is. It’s not your typical sit-down dinner party. It’s a social gathering, an “experience” if you will. Put on a good playlist, serve it at an area where people can gather around informally while they eat and communicate, laugh, sing, dance. I love serving on a kitchen island or even on a coffee table, just throw a few pillows down for some floor seating and even put on a movie for a more intimate feel. I hope you enjoy all the recipes and pairings I’ve curated below and that your next fondue party is both tasty and lighthearted.

Recipes

Beer Cheese

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup favorite beer
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup mild cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 cup swiss, shredded
  1. In your fondue pot or in a saucepan, melt your butter.
  2. Sprinkle in your cornstarch and seasonings, whisk until combined.
  3. Pour in your beer and bring to a simmer. Continuously stirring, begin to add your cheese a little at a time. As it melts, continue to add more until desired consistency.

 

Mexican Style Cheese Fondue

  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • salt/pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup cerveza (Corona, Pacifico, Modelo)
  • 1 1/2 cups mild cheddar, shredded
  • 1 cup monterey jack, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Rotel, drained
  1. In your fondue pot or in a saucepan, melt your butter.
  2. Sprinkle in your cornstarch and seasonings, whisk until combined.
  3. Pour in your beer and bring to a simmer. Continuously stirring, begin to add your cheese a little at a time. As it melts, continue to add more until desired consistency.
  4. Stir in your pickled jalapenos and Rotel before serving.

 

Sausage Gravy

  • 16 oz. Jimmy Dean pork breakfast sausage
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  1. In a large skillet, use your spatula to crumble the sausage and cook over medium heat. Add in your butter and sprinkle flour over entire mixture. Stir until combined.
  2. While whisking, slowly pour in your milk. Continue whisking until gravy begins to thicken. Season with ground black pepper and salt to taste.

Fondue 2

Chocolate Fondue
*I actually prefer to prepare my dessert fondues on the stove, using a double boiler, and than transferring to a fondue pot/serving vessel. Ingredients high in sugar tend to burn faster/easier and fondue pots tend to be difficult to control heat.

  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • dash of pure vanilla extract
    *optional: 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  1. Using a double boiler, pour in your heavy cream & vanilla, followed by your chocolate chips. Continuously stir until smooth & creamy. Immediately remove from heat and transfer to preferred serving vessel.

 

Peanut Butter Fondue
*I actually prefer to prepare my dessert fondues on the stove, using a double boiler, and than transferring to a fondue pot/serving vessel. Ingredients high in sugar tend to burn faster/easier and fondue pots tend to be difficult to control heat.

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3 tbsp. heavy cream
  1. Using a double boiler, pour in your heavy cream and peanut butter and stir constantly. As peanut butter begins to melt, stir in the confectioners sugar. Once mixture is completely smooth and melted, remove from heat and transfer to preferred serving vessel.

 

Salted Caramel Fondue
*I actually prefer to prepare my dessert fondues on the stove, using a double boiler, and than transferring to a fondue pot/serving vessel. Ingredients high in sugar tend to burn faster/easier and fondue pots tend to be difficult to control heat. 

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  1. In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, begin to heat your sugars. Whisking every minute for about 7 minutes until they begin to melt.
  2. Immediately reduce heat to low and add butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir until butter is melted, combined, and beginning to bubble (just a few minutes).
  3. Slowly stir in your heavy cream and let it come to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Add salt and transfer to preferred serving vessel.

 

Homemade Corn Tortilla Chips

  • 1 package small corn tortillas
  • frying oil, enough to cover 1″ depth in your frying pan
    • canola, vegetable, and coconut oil are my preference
  • chili powder
  • garlic powder
  • fine sea salt

*Please always be careful while using hot oil. You can test if your oil is ready (hot enough) by running your fingers under water and flicking a TINY amount of the water into the oil. If the oil begins to bubble where the water has touched, it is hot enough to begin frying.

  1. Heat your oil over medium for about 5 minutes or until hot enough to fry.
  2. Cut your tortillas in half vertically and horizontally, creating 4 triangles.
  3. Carefully drop 8-12 tortillas (depending on the size of your frying pan) into your oil at a time. Let fry for just a few minutes, until light golden brown.
  4. Remove from oil and transfer to a dish covered with a paper towel. Immediately dust with chili & garlic powder and sea salt.

 

Pairings

*dippers listed are just options, it is not required that you serve alllll of them LOL

Traditional

Fondue: Beer Cheese

Dippers:

  • ham
  • sausage/kielbasa
  • meatballs
  • steak
  • bacon
  • chicken fingers
  • cocktail hotdogs
  • shrimp/coconut shrimp
  • scallops
  • french baquette
  • pretzels/soft pretzels
  • broccoli/cauliflower
  • apple/pear slices
  • potatoes
  • bell pepper slices

Italian

Fondue: Marinara or Alfredo Sauce

Dippers:

  • meatballs
  • spicy or sweet italian sausage
  • chicken/veal cutlets
  • shrimp
  • scallops
  • garlic knots/garlic bread
  • fried eggplant
  • ravioli
  • mozzarella sticks
  • zucchini
  • potatoes

Southern

Fondue: Sausage Gravy

Dippers:

  • buttermilk fried chicken fingers
  • chicken fried steak
  • biscuits
  • hush puppies
  • corn fritters
  • potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • brussel sprouts
  • cauliflower
  • green beans

 

Cinco De Mayo 

Fondue: Mexican Style Cheese

Dippers:

  • chorizo
  • empanadas
  • taquitos
  • taco style meatballs
  • sliced flank steak
  • homemade tortilla chips
  • corn bread bites
  • sliced bell peppers
  • mexican street corn

 

Dessert

Fondue: Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, Fruit Compote, Peppermint Bark for the Holidays

Dippers:

  • fruit: strawberries, pineapple, banana, blueberries, apples & pears
  • marshmallows (“SmashMallow” has great flavored ones!)
  • graham crackers (teddy grahams would be great for little ones!)
  • wafer & waffle cookies
  • sugar cookies (fun to use cookie cutters and coordinate with holidays)
  • pound cake, cubed
  • cheesecake bites
  • bacon
  • gingerbread cookies
  • homemade donuts
  • pretzels/soft pretzels

*I also love serving a small side of vanilla or funfetti frosting on the side with a spreading knife. Who doesn’t love the funfettis!?

I would love to see all of your fondue creations, so be sure to tag me @jaclyndrift on instagram!

cropped-jackie-drift-signature-1.png

Peppermint Bark

One of my favorite holiday treats (that I indulge in all year long.) Not just for the flavor, but for it’s festivity! It’s also probably the easiest to prepare of all the Christmas treats.

I find that using the mint flavored chocolate chips instead of peppermint extract gives it a more delicate flavor of mint, rather than that pungent “just brushed your teeth” zing. It’s perfect for topping your bowl of ice cream or decorating a cheesecake – ’tis the season to drizzle everything with peppermint bark! Enjoy!

Peppermint Bark 1

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. mint chocolate chips
  • 12 oz. white chocolate chips
  • 4 candy canes, crushed
  1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Pour your mint chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave in increments of 20 seconds, stirring in between until completely melted.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, carefully spread the melted mint chocolate across the parchment paper in a thin layer. Put in the freezer until it’s completely set, about 25 minutes.
  4. Repeat step #3 with the white chocolate chips. Spread the melted white chocolate in a thin layer on top of the mint chocolate. While still melted, generously sprinkle your crushed candy canes over the entire surface of bark.
  5. Place your bark back in freezer until hard, about 25 minutes. Break into a variety different sizes and enjoy!

cropped-jackie-drift-signature-1.png

 

Oven Roasted Prime Rib

Sorry all vegans and vegetarians, but this is the meal I wait all year long for. Almost as far back as I can remember, my mom has been hosting Christmas dinner. Along with the perfect charcuterie board and some bacon wrapped shrimp to start the evening, she followed with the big boy; A prime rib the size of a linebackers thigh. To this day, I sneak in the kitchen while the rib is resting and pick at the perfectly seasoned & crisp outer  crust.

As I learned from my mom, roasting a prime rib is fairly easy. The key is to have a good meat thermometer and to take it out a little early, since it will continue to cook while it’s resting under an aluminum foil tent. Remove your rib from the oven when it reaches an internal temperature of 120°, let it rest under a tent for about 20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 130°. If this is “under-cooked” for some of your guests, serve some piping hot aus jus on the side – pouring this over your meat will cook it a little more!

Helpful hints:

  1. Put your order in to your butcher a week in advance (at least!) A lot of people are cooking prime ribs this time of year, so you want to make sure you have one ready for you. Order it cut & tied (cut off the bone, but tied back on) with the fat left on. The bone and the fat – that’s where you get all that juicy flavor. Rule of thumb is one rib per 2 people, so if you’re feeding 6 people order a “three rib Prime Rib, cut & tied, with the fat on.”
  2. Take your rib out of the refrigerator an hour (at least, depending on the size of meat) before cooking so it reaches room temperature.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 Prime Rib (mine was 3 rib, about 12 lbs.)
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 head roasted garlic
  • kosher salt
  • coarse ground black pepper
  • fresh rosemary

Homemade Horseradish Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup of mayo
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons roasted garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated horseradish (I use Gold’s)
  • salt & pepper

IMG_5746 2

Preheat your oven to 450° and place your prime rib, fat side up, in a deep roasting pan or baking dish. Coat the entire outside of your rib in softened butter and roasted garlic. Generously season with kosher salt, black pepper, and 3 fresh sprigs rosemary.

With your oven rack on the lower third of your oven, put your prime rib in and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce your temperature to 350° and continue to cook for about an hour and 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120°.

 

Remove the prime rib from the oven and immediately cover under a tent of aluminum foil. Let rest for about 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 130° (perfectly medium-rare on the ends and rare directly in the middle.)

Cut the ties, remove from the bone, and slice into generous slabs of beautiful meat for your oh so happy dinner guests. Serve with homemade horseradish sauce and piping hot aus jus.

IMG_6032 2

IMG_6136 3

 

cropped-jackie-drift-signature-1.png

 

 

Holiday Dinner Party

Facetune_13-12-2018-19-12-00

This past Sunday was spent scurrying around a kitchen with one of my sweet friends, Allie (take a look.) With cocktails in hand, together we executed a pretty-damn-flawless dinner party for our significant others and a few friends. I handled the cooking and Allie managed the bar, charcuterie and somehow accomplished to set a tablescape that I swear I’ve seen in a magazine. The girl has an eye for design and let me tell you, I’m a little (a LOT) envious. You’re going to wonder where she’s been for every event you ever hosted (I’m considering renewing my vows so she can plan my second wedding), but not to worry! She has a blog where you can access all of  her wonderful thoughts that are brought to life. Better yet, let her come paint your dream party for you.

IMG_4754

IMG_4755

I’ve hosted my share of dinner parties over the past few years and there’s a few things I’ve managed to pick up along the way. My first tip: Don’t overthink it! Nobody at your party/gathering will be able to relax if you’re not relaxed. My second tip? Take help when it is offered! I am MOST guilty of this. Not only do I sometimes feel awful accepting help when I’m the one who invited people over, but it’s also a controversial topic whether or not I have a serious case of OCD. However, I’ve learned that typically people are offering to help because they want to. Give them an easy task to do! It’s not asking much, but it’s one less thing you have to worry about. My last prequal tip before I get into my real tips is to save the damn dirty dishes for the morning. Yes, five of your friends will offer to do them. Your husband will probably offer, too. The mountain of dishes will irritate the crap out of you. The cure? Pour yourself a glass of wine. Kick off your heels and go enjoy the company you just hosted. Relax, laugh, make memories; The dishes will still be there in the morning, but your friends and family will be leaving soon.

IMG_4753

IMG_4752

When it comes to the bar, I like to offer at least one pre-mixed cocktail. Something that’s all ready to pour and people don’t have to think about it (we think all day – it’s time to relax!) Whether it’s sangria, punch, or a big batch of Mimosas, it’s sure to be a hit. There’s no shame in making a party BYOB, either. In the age of IPAs and a plethora of different wines, people actually like to drink the things they prefer. Just make it known, so people aren’t left high and dry.

IMG_4779

IMG_4780.jpg

Appetizers, antipasta, hors d’oeuvres, the first course. I love charcuterie. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s really true. There’s something on it for everyone (put some nuts on it for the vegans!) and it’s not too much. If you’re planning to follow your first course with a main course, you don’t want to spoil everyones appetite. However, if you’re having a party that starts later in the evening, possibly after people would have eaten dinner or too late to serve dinner, I would go a little heavier on the appetizers or snacks. Especially if there’s alcohol involved.

`IMG_6040 2

IMG_6021 2

IMG_6015-2 2

The Dinner Plate: Protein, starch, and a veggie. Every party is not Thanksgiving and it can be quite the buzzkill if everyone’s ready to head to bed after dinner. For Christmas my mom always makes Prime Rib and my mouth is seriously watering just thinking about it. With that being said, when planning with Allie what to make for our dinner party, I decided to stick with what works (do not try to fix something that’s not broken.) To go with the Prime Rib (recipe to follow), I decided to stray away from the “been there, done that” mashed potatoes (who AM I!?) Instead I made Creamy Garlic Parmesan Polenta. WOW. I would never mean to cheat on potatoes, but sometimes a girl gets weak. With the Prime Rib and Polenta being so rich, for my vegetable I decided to go with a salad. Don’t worry, it wasn’t just an ordinary salad! This Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad is sure to be your new favorite.

Facetune_13-12-2018-19-06-08

Lastly, it’s time for dessert. I’m truly not much of a baker. My pies consist of store-bought crust. I don’t play well with yeast or anything that has to rise. I love everything that starts with Phils and ends with Bury. Cheesecake is just about the only thing I can handle, which is fine with me because it’s so versatile. If you can find your perfect cheesecake recipe, it’s pretty easy to make it fit any occasion. For example, for this holiday party I made a “Kris Kringle Cheesecake” (recipe to follow) that consisted of a peppermint bark Oreo crust, my traditional cheesecake recipe, a white chocolate ganache, and crushed candy canes on top. It was heavenly and fit the theme seamlessly.

Throwing a dinner party doesn’t have to be hard, but it should always be fun. If you’re not much of a cook or funds are tight, opt to have a potluck. This way, everyone brings a favorite dish and a whole lot of pressure is taken off of you. You can make it fun by requesting everyone bring recipe cards for their dish too, so it becomes somewhat of a recipe exchange. People are always looking for new recipes and it’s a great conversation starter!

Facetune_12-12-2018-20-43-39

At the end of the night, what matters is exactly why you had the party in the first place: To pause our crazy, hectic lives for a few hours to spend time with the people who make life so enjoyable. I hope this holiday season you’re all able to have a party or attend one, meet a new friend, try a new dish, and remember everything that makes each of us so blessed. Happy Holidays to you and all those who make your life so special.

IMG_4757

IMG_6136 2

Allie’s Blog: Love Forever

Photography: Daphne Sipes

jackie drift signature

Kris Kringle Cheesecake

Cheesecake – just about the only dessert I can handle making without resulting in a complete disaster/anxiety attack. The crust never involves rolling out dough and you don’t have to worry about the cake becoming too dry. The hardest part (in my opinion) is ensuring it doesn’t crack, which I found is nearly impossible if you bake it in a water bath and let it cool in the oven after baking.

Both a wonderful and convenient thing about cheesecake is how versatile it is. Once you nail your classic cheesecake recipe, the possibilities are really endless. You can add berries, jams, and compotes. Make it vanilla bean, chocolate, hazelnut, or peanut butter. Throw in some liquor and make it bourbon. Create a crust out of graham crackers, cookies, pretzels, or cereal. Finish with a drizzle of caramel, a dusting of confectioners sugar or a squeeze of lemon; The sky is your limit.

For this particular cheesecake, I wanted it to look and taste festive. I immediately thought of peppermint bark and candy canes. I didn’t want it to be too peppermint. Mint can become very overwhelming, very fast and it not something every single person is going to love. So, I went the mild route. I found these peppermint bark Oreos last year and should have bought stock in them I ate so many. Trader Joe’s has a similar cookie, too! Rather than adding any peppermint extract or crushed up chocolate mint candies to the filling, I decided to keep it as a traditional vanilla (this is what kept it mild.) To make it decadent I chose to make a white chocolate ganache to pour over the top. Finally, for good measure I garnished with crushed candy canes. It was the perfect amount of peppermint and it fit our holly jolly theme seamlessly.

Facetune_12-12-2018-18-21-26
I even got some help from my littlest elf, Emma.

Cheesecake Notes

What You’ll Need
Printable Recipe: Here

For the Crust:

  • 2 packages of Peppermint Bark Oreos (should equal about 3 cups once processed into crumbs)
  • 1 stick butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

  • 32 ounces (4 blocks) of cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperate
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vanilla

For the White Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 package (11.5 oz) white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Facetune_13-12-2018-19-06-08

  1. Begin by preheating your oven to 300° and tightly wrap the bottom of your springform pan in aluminum foil. Combine the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter and press into the bottom of your springform pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar, sour cream, and vanilla and beat until well combined. On low speed, gently mix in the eggs, one at a time just until combined. Pour the batter over the crust.
  3. Place the cheesecake in the center of a large roasting pan. Fill the pan with water to make a bath for the cheesecake, about 2 inches deep. Bake for about 1 hour or until the edges are set and the center is only slightly jiggly. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake to sit for 1 hour with the door closed. Do not remove cheesecake from springform pan yet.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup of heavy cream to a simmer. Pour hot heavy cream over white chocolate chips a little at a time, stirring until melted and combined. Evenly pour the mixture over cooked cheesecake and then refrigerate until the ganache sets, about 1 hour.
  5. Using a butter knife, gently separate the sides of the cheesecake from the springform pan. Carefully remove the sides of your springform pan. Garnish with crushed candy canes before serving.

 

Facetune_13-12-2018-19-06-45

cropped-jackie-drift-signature-1.png

Shaved Brussel Sprout Salad

Behold! The easiest, most delicious salad of all time. It will quickly become a staple for every breakfast (um, it has bacon), lunch, dinner, and midnight snack. Treasure it.

IMG_6015-2 2

What You’ll Need:

  • 16 oz. brussel sprouts, shaved on a mandolin
  • 1/2 pound of bacon, cooked and cut into pieces
  • the seeds of 1 pomegranate
  • 1/2 cup of sliced almonds
  • 4 oz. feta cheese
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • drizzle of honey
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • drizzle of balsamic
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and evenly lay your bacon on a baking sheet covered in aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  2. While your bacon is cooking, carefully shave your brussel sprouts, one at a time, on your mandolin. Add to a salad bowl.
  3. Garnish your shaved brussel sprouts with your bacon pieces, pomegranate seeds, feta, and almonds. On top, drizzle honey, olive oil, and balsamic. Season with salt and pepper. Toss before serving.

 

cropped-jackie-drift-signature-1.png