Crank up the 8-track with some good Carpenters or the 5th Dimension and get ready for some good old fashioned delicious fun! It was fondue night here.
As a kid, I remember fondue night happened every few months and my brother and I were always happy to see that little orange fondue pot with the long forks appear on the table!
We always did hot oil fondue in our house (I never knew you could use cheese or broth to fondue until I was an adult!) and it was always so satisfying to sink cubes of steak into that sizzling oil for a minute or two and come out with a delicious little bite of yum!
We also had tempura batter for veggies to dip and fry. Come on, fried mushrooms and zucchini? That is just plain delicious!
When my kids were little and they’d spend the night at their grammy and papa’s house, my mom would pull out that little fondue pot (now an antique! LOL) and my kids had the same thrill!
At one point a few years ago, I went on e-bay to buy a fondue pot like my mom’s. The asking price was something like $15.00 and in two or three days the the bids were up to $75.00 or something crazy like that. The seller even posted a note basically saying “Hello…you know this is just a little orange fondue pot circa 1970 right? It’s not a magic lamp or gilded in gold..” It was pretty funny.
I ended up at Target and found a modern day Rival fondue pot for about $40. We don’t use it often, but it is actually pretty handy for chocolate fondue (I had a chocolate fountain…note “had” it, what a flipping mess that made!), it keeps meatballs hot for a party, and of course, for dinner tonight!
Fondue actually a very easy dinner, though messy, and on the nutrition scale, my 15 year old was quick to point out that frying things in oil is not the healthiest of cooking methods, but tonight we through caution to the wind and just enjoyed!
True to my memories, we fried cubes of sirloin that were well seasoned with salt and pepper ( the fancy term for beef fried in oil is Fondue Bourguignonne by the way) in hot canola oil. We also had mushrooms, zucchini and cauliflower florets and a quick tempura batter. My husband got creative, wondering what a banana in tempura would be like (which was quite tasty, but needed some cinnamon and sugar).
The kids proclaimed it yummy, and my 11-year old said, “Mom, this is fun!” at least twice while we were at the table. I have to say, the cook your own dinner, two forks per person situation extended our mealtime in a good way. It made us all slow down, talk more and laugh more over our dinner together and that was the best part of our retro dinner. (Well, that and maybe the banana cream pie I made for dessert..)
So dust off that fondue pot folks and have a fun night with your family and friends! And here is a recipe to try when you do!
1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornstarch
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 egg, beaten
2/3 c seltzer water (or cold water if you don’t have seltzer)
Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Combine the egg and seltzer and add to the dry ingredients, mix with a fork until just combined. There will be lumps in the batter.
Use the batter to coat vegetables like mushrooms, peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini whatever you like! You can also use the tempura on shrimp, fish, scallops or even cooked chicken. Enjoy!