Crispy Pan Fried Snapper with Strawberry Tomato Salsa

This recipe is interchangeable with any of your preferred fish proteins, including shellfish-like scallops! I occasionally add cubed granny smith apples if I’m roasting salmon steaks; the tartness of the apple cuts through some of the fat in the salmon for me. I also introduce lots of lime wedges when I pan-fry a crispy battered white fish—whatever method of cooking is your fav, be sure to top off with this tasty summertime salsa. Try the recipe below I made for red snapper; it’s delicious! 

You’ll Need:

4- 6 oz pieces firm Snapper

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt, divided

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

1 medium green apple, cored and diced (optional)

1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup fresh strawberries, hulled and diced

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, torn right before use

2-3 tablespoons neutral-tasting extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon knob of butter, cold

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

2 limes, cut in wedges

Here’s How:

Cut and combine the berries, tomatoes, and apples if you use them into a small bowl, tear in the parsley, and add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle a little olive oil, add rice vinegar. Toss. Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Set aside.

Make three small slices into the skin side of each filet to prevent it from curling up while cooking. Salt and pepper the fish front and back. 

In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and a knob of butter until melted. Add the fish filets skin side down and cook until the fish is crispy. Depending on the size of your filet, this should only take about 6-8 minutes. Gently flip the fish and cook until the flesh is opaque for an additional 2-3 minutes. 

Remove from the pan and tap tap on a paper towel to remove any excess cooking oil. 

Serve warm topped with strawberry salsa and lots of lime wedges! 

Makes about 4 servings

YAS! Crunchy Fish Tacos Smothered in Serrano Chili Avo Sauce and Topped with Sweet Tangy Slaw!

This recipe screams weekend! Although most fish taco enthusiasts always disagree about what makes the ultimate fish taco- know this-  in its simplest form, this iconic dish consists of only a few items! Savory pieces of fish, a little dressed cabbage slaw and a creamy delicious dressing folded into a warm tortilla.



For the Cabbage Slaw ( Make Ahead)

Ingredients

1 small head of Savoy cabbage, shredded

1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro, rough chopped

1/2 cup fresh Italian leaf parsley leaves, rough chopped

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 cup plain greek yogurt

1 teaspoon honey or agave

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 lime, juiced

White pepper

2 teaspoons poppy seed ( optional )



For the Spicy Serrano Avocado Sauce ( Make a head) 

Ingredients:

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

Juice from 1 lime

1 Serrano chiles stems removed (seeds left in for more heat)
1 ripe avocado, flesh and pit removed

1 large garlic clove, cleaned

1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
Kosher salt

 


For the Batter 

Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour, or Gluten free flour sifted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon baking powder

1-2 cup sparkling apple cider or plain bubble water

 


For the Fish and Tortillas
Ingredients:

1 lb. halibut or other firm-fleshed white fish fillet, skin removed cut into 1-2 inch pieces
Coconut oil, for deep pan frying
Salt and white pepper
10- 12 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas,
2 limes cut into wedges



Preparation for the Fish Tacos

Begin by preparing the coleslaw. In a small bowl whisk together the apple cider vinegar, plain greek yogurt, honey, garlic salt, cumin, white pepper, lime juice and the poppy seeds. Set dressing aside.

In large mixing bowl add the shredded cabbage and thinly sliced red onion. Toss well to combine. Add cilantro leaves, parsley and the dressing. Toss well. Cover air tight and set aside to chill in the refrigerator.

Prepare the Serrano chili and avocado sauce by combining the yogurt, lime juice, Serrano chiles with garlic and avocado in a blender or mini food processor and blend until smooth. Taste. Adjust seasoning by adding cayenne, salt and white pepper. Stir, cover air tight and set aside in the refrigerator.

Next, prepare the batter for the fish. Mix the flour, salt, and pepper, baking powder together in a medium bowl. Gradually add the sparkling cider, whisking until the batter is smooth with no lumps. Set aside.

In a deep skillet, over medium heat, add enough oil to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350’ F, or test with a small drizzle of the batter. The oil is ready with the batter sizzles when dipped into the oil.

Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan, salt and pepper the fish. The dip the fish strips in the batter and coat on both sides. Let the excess batter drip off, then fry the fish in the hot oil until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

In a lightly oiled pan, warm the tortillas individually on both sides until the edges are slightly brown. Lightly wrap in foil, and place in a warm 200’ F oven with a small bowl of warm water, until the fish is ready. (The water will prevent the corn tortillas from becoming too dry)

To assemble a taco, spread a tablespoon or more of the Serrano chili and avocado sauce onto the center of each tortilla, lay one or two pieces of the fried fish on top of the sauce, top with cold slaw, fold over to make a soft taco.

Serve with lime wedges and squeeze the fresh lime juice directly on top of the taco filling.

Makes approximately 10- 12 delicious tacos

Mini Pancake Bowl with Maple Syrup Flakes and Fresh Berries

Who doesn’t just love a pancake… especially a mini-pancake bowl… not to mention, I’ve added a variation ingredient if you incline; chocolate! Mini pancakes are the best for adults as well as kids! Make these cuties and eat some now, save some for later! Freeze individually on a baking sheet, then pop into an airtight freezer bag. Reach in that freezer and you have breakfast in five! 

You’ll Need

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

3 ½ teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons good-quality sifted cocoa ( if making chocolate minis )

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 ¼ cups milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Maple Syrup flakes

Optional Garnish: Milk, fruit, maple syrup, powdered sugar, or whipped cream for topping, or butter and maple syrup.

Here’s How 

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, and melted butter; mix until smooth. With a funnel, fill a squeeze bottle leaving 1-inch headspace, and replace the lid tightly.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, start squeezing little dots of batter with space between them. Cook the mini pancakes until the tops form tiny bubbles and look dry. 

Flip them with a spatula a bunch at a time, and cook on the other side for 30-40 seconds or until golden brown. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. You may need to lightly spray your pan with nonstick cooking oil now and then.

Serve with fresh-cut strawberries and optional toppings of your choice. I like powdered sugar on my chocolate minis. 

Pro-Tip: Crispy edges. I make these pancakes with crispy edges, and well done. Doing so prevents the mini cakes from going soggy as quickly. Simply start with a perfectly heated pan. The smaller you pipe them, 1/2-inch or just over the better. Keep in mind, the larger the pancake, the fluffier and softer they will be.

Homemade Churros with Chocolate Sauce!

All you need is a few simple ingredients and less than 30 minutes for hot, crispy Homemade Churros with Chocolate Sauce! Churros are traditional Spanish desserts. They are popular in Spain, France, the Philippines, Portugal, South America, and the Southwestern US States. Now we know why!

For the Churro Batter

You’ll Need

2 cup water

1/3 cup unsalted butter, diced into small cubes

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cup all-purpose flour 

2 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Peanut oil, for frying

For the Sugar Coating

You’ll Need

1 cup granulated sugar

2 heaping tablespoons of ground cinnamon

For the Chocolate Dipping Sauce

You’ll Need

8 ounces good quality dark chocolate, chopped

1 cup heavy cream

Here’s How to Make Everything You’ll Need

For the coating whisk together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish, set aside.

Heat about 2 -3 inches of oil in a large pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat to 375’F degrees. While oil is heating prepare batter.

Add water, butter, sugar, and salt to a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add flour, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon; until the mixture comes together and is smooth. Transfer the mixture to the mixing bowl, of your stand mixer and allow the batter to cool for about 3 minutes.

At medium speed, using your paddle attachment, add the vanilla, and egg to the warm mixture until the dough comes together and is smooth, keep in mind it will separate with the addition of the fat; continue to keep mixing, it will come together. It’s sort of like Pate a Choux!

Transfer to a 16-inch piping bag fitted with a rounded star tip (no larger than 1/2-inch). Pipe mixture into the preheated oil, into about 5 inch lengths, cut end with clean scissors. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to dry very, very, briefly then transfer to cinnamon-sugar mixture and roll to coat.

Set churros aside to cool and make the sauce by slowly heating the cream in a small saucepan and adding the chocolate. Stir to melt. Serve immediately. 

Serve warm with chocolate sauce for dipping.

Pro Tip: Keep the oil temperature between 350′ F and 375’F degrees, ensuring the batter will not soak in the oil resulting in greasy churros. Nobody likes greasy churros. I also recommend using the Ateco tips, number: 845 or 846.

Quince. What to do with this ugly-delicious forgotten winter fruit.

Let’s face it, Quince is not inviting. It’s tough, green, woody, and unlike myself, most people feel Quince is useless. But hold on! This old-world fruit if you allow it, will ripen to a floral sweet perfume that develops and continues to deepen in fragrance. Related to apples and pears, Quince has a floral aroma. Its firmness pairs well with pork, and its syrup can also accompany cakes, tarts, boozy drinks, even Champagne!

Every year as a young Pastry Chef in Sonoma, California I could not wait for the locals to come by discarding crates of their fresh-picked ( off the ground most-likely) Quince on the restaurant’s back doorstep. The staff would drop them in my bakeshop. It wasn’t easy, but we developed a relationship out of necessity, plus, I needed to keep my job. From then on, I’ve looked forward to Winter, only to see Quince on my year-end menu.

When cooked, it takes on some of the best attributes of its sister fruits — pears’ floral aroma, apples’ firmness — oh, and quince also surprises you when it reveals a startlingly coral-like pink tone when you least expect it. Quince feels magical. The longer it sit in poaching liquid, including storage, cooked Quince will significantly turn deeper in beautiful hues of rose’ and Burgandy tones.

Such a weird fruit! Quince is perfectly ripe when it is deeply yellow, not greenish-yellow, and besides the hints of sweet fragrance, Quince won’t soften over time, so don’t let them fool you.

Poaching in some sort of liquid and sweetener is the best way to wrangle this exotic comeback. I like to use spirits and aromatics along with the juice from other fruits. But not too many flavors. That’s will confuse this precious fruit. Poaching gives a great return including a surprisingly beautiful, aromatic fragrant syrup, which is good for so many things. Not to mention your bartender will be willing to make a good trade. You can make a variety of flavors based on the spices, and poaching liquids you use.

Because the fruit has lots of natural pectins, when reduced it produces a honey-like syrup in a saucepan, the liquid is exceptionally beautiful and thick and makes a lovely, nectar for drizzling or glazing hams, or fruit tarts, spritzers, or to make candies with. Everyone puts their twist on flavoring this fruit. I love a very small knob of fresh ginger slipped into the poaching liquid, complementing the sweet fruit with a spicy kick. I’ve also been known to add occasional chili pepper.

The bottom line is Quince pairs well with savory fall dishes, so try flavoring it with a sprig of rosemary, thyme, or sage in anticipation of serving with pork tenderloin or baked sweet potatoes. So many uses for the syrup too. Drizzle on fresh fruits, cakes, icecreams, even in Champagne. O-M-G! My mouth is watering!

You’ll Need

4-5 fresh quince
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons local honey
1 tablespoon light brown sugar or maple syrup
A large strip of lemon or orange peel
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 whole cloves
1 cardamom pod, smashed
Fresh vanilla bean, cut open do not scrape
4-5 black peppercorns, whole

1/2 lemon, juiced
1-2 cups sweet white wine
Water to cover
1/4 inch coin of fresh ginger, peeled and smashed

Here’s How
Peel the quince and place it in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon. Set aside. Slice off any weird spots. Quince is not much of a commercial crop, most of the quince you will see will be locally-grown so expect to see some spots. Use a small, sharp paring knife or the little eye remover on your potato peeler. Return the manicured quince into a bowl of lemon water to prevent browning.

Managing one whole piece at-a-time. Cut the quince in half with a sharp, heavy chef’s knife. Be sure your cutting board is secure with a damp paper towel underneath to prevent moving; the fruit is very tough and will be difficult to cut, so be careful. Slice into quarters, lay each quarter piece flat on one side, and cut away the core and any seeds by using the tip of your knife, or a small round cookie cutter. return to the water bath until all slices are groomed. Set aside.

Prepare the poaching liquid above and add any additional flavorings you desire.

Add the quince and cover with a fitted cut-out parchment round making direct contact with the fruit. If you don’t have parchment you can cover the pan loosely with a lid instead. The goal is to keep most of the liquid from evaporating while cooking the quince but to still let it reduce a little bit into a sweet syrup.

Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 50- 60 minutes or until the quince is turning pink and is tender when poked with the tip of your knife. Remove from the heat, strain reserving the liquid. Use it right away, or refrigerate the quince in the poaching liquid for up to a week. Place quince in a jar and use it as jam if you wish.

Pro Tips:
Quince can also be frozen, with or without its liquid.

Chef Gigi’s Holiday Cutout Cookie Dough

Be sure to read my pro-tips at the end of this recipe to ensure a successful baking experience!

You’ll Need:

6 cups, all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons fresh baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pound cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-2 inch chunks

2 cups white granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons good-quality Madagascar or Bourbon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon good quality lemon or almond extract (optional)

1 lemon, zested (optional)


Here’s How:

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a large mixing bowl using your hand beater, cream the cold butter with the sugar until light and fluffy and sugar crystals are melted and dissolved. About 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time- beating in between each addition. Add the extracts. Mix well.

In an additional medium-sized bowl, stir with a whisk or fork to incorporate the baking powder and salt well throughout the flour.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two or three batches- mixing slowly until incorporated and dough comes together.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and quickly, by hand – knead until dough forms a ball. Flatten and shape into a large 1/4 – 1/2 thick inch large square. Cut with a knife into quarters and individually wrap air-tight in plastic wrap. Chill for a minimum of 1 hour, up to 10 days.

Pro Tip :

Always work quickly with this dough to maintain a manageable temperature. If the dough becomes too warm it will stick. Continue to keep dough cold, by working only with the portion you need, and keeping the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

Lightly dust all work surfaces and tools with flour.

Preheat oven to 350’F degrees. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove and cool on a rack.

Bake on a cooled prepared baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.

This dough is butter-based and will move shapes. To prevent moving cut-outs roll the dough directly onto the back of the silicone mat on a baking sheet and make sure the dough is cold before applying the shape cutter. Remove the excess dough in between the shapes and never worry about moving the perfect cut shapes again. Bake, but be sure to not let baked cookies fly off the side of the inverted baking sheet when removed from the oven. The upside-down sheet is awkward until you get a handle on it. I also pull the Silpat off the hot sheet pan into a cool surface to allow the pan to cool off.

Traditional Vanilla Bean Pot De Crème

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Doesn’t come anymore traditional than this! Time consuming, but if you have the time to spare- you will learn why this recipe is a classic ! Deliciously rich, creamy and elegant.

 

You’ll Need

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon

1- vanilla bean, split and beans scraped into milk

Pinch salt

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

Unsweetened whipped cream for serving.

Here’s How

In a medium saucepan, combine the whole milk with the heavy cream and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the pinch of salt.

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream, and drop in the empty pod.

Bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. Set aside, and allow the vanilla to steep in the cream for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until thick and creamy, about 1 minute.

Re-heat the cream just until warm, and slowly whisk 1/2 – 1 cup of the hot milk, into egg yolks while whisking vigorously. This is called “Tempering” – By slowly adding in some of warm cream it brings the eggs up to temp and hopefully prevents curdling the eggs.

Now, you can bring the egg yolks close to the same temperature as the milk. Begin cooking over low to moderate heat to form the custard, make sure to whisk constantly, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Remove from the heat and strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a large glass measuring cup or bowl to help you pour into smaller serving vessels or molds if needed.

Preheat the oven to 300’F Degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Bring a teapot filled with water to a boil.

Place the individual serving molds in a large high-sided casserole baking dish. Place the baking dish onto a sheet pan lined with a non slip silicon baking sheet or parchment paper. This will provide double the insulation so the custards can cook evenly and slowly and non slip surface when you remove it from the oven.

Place the sheet pan with the vessel containing the molds on the center rack in the pre heated oven.

Gently stir the custard, remove any film that might have formed along with the the vanilla pod and discard.

Carefully fill each mold with the custard mixture while in the oven.

Once the molds are filled with the custard- carefully pour the hot water from the teapot around the molds. ( try not to splash) Bring the water level up halfway – two-thirds up the sides of the molds.

Bake for 30 to 55 minutes. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the molds. To test for doneness, reach into the oven and using a tea towel to protect your hand, gently shake one of the molds. The custard should be set, but will still jiggle slightly, like gelatin.

With tongs carefully remove the molds one at a time onto a tea towel and then onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely, then refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Wait for the water in the oven to cool before removing the sheet pan for safety.

Serve the pots de crème with lightly sweetened whipped cream and white chocolate shavings or a dusting of powdered sugar.

Makes approximately 8-10 servings depending on the size of your molds.

Note: If eggs begin to curdle in tempering stage immediately cool cream before and further additions and immediately run the mixture through a sieve before proceeding to the next step.

Turkey Pho Gà! A play on a classic. Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup.

The morning after. Feeling abundant due to the over indulgence of the holiday and looking for something different to do with your leftover Turkey? Make something light and delicious– a spin on the classic Vietnamese chicken noodle soup! 

The trick to delicious Pho gà is to add a little of each garnish as you eat your way through the bowl, not to dump them in all at once. You will want the herbs to maintain their fragrance, and the bean sprouts to stay crunchy in the soup — good Pho gà is all about aroma and texture. If you add too much – too soon, you’ll end up with wilted, over cooked herbs and limp soft sprouts– which will totally defeat the whole purpose behind the classic dish. 

The other trick to this dish is really good quality stock! Don’t skimp. People painstakingly skim the stock while cooking the chicken for Pho Ga –just to gain a clean clear broth. 

In Hanoi, you’ll find everyone enjoying delicious Pho – anytime of day. Breakfast, lunch or dinner! Pho to Vietnamese is the equivalent of Bugers to Americans– But better!

Ingredients:

1 pound cooked turkey, about 4 cups, shredded

6 whole scallions

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeked and crushed

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 quarts good quality chicken stock

Fish sauce, for seasoning

1 (16-ounce) package dried rice vermicelli, cooked according to manufactures directions

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

1 bunch cilantro, chopped 

Garnishes 

1 bunch Thai basil sprigs
4 cups Mung bean sprouts

4 Limes, cut into wedges

4 Jalapeño chiles, stemmed and thinly sliced into rings

Method:

In a large heavy bottomed stock pot on high heat combine the scallions ginger, stock, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 35 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add additional fish sauce to season. Add turkey, turn off heat and set aside. (Do not serve the cooked scallions and ginger from this pot)

Prepare the soups garnish and arrange the basil, mung sprouts, lime wedges, and jalapeño slices on a serving platter.

Divide the prepared rice noodles evenly among warmed soup bowls. Top each bowl with about 1/2-3/4 cup of the shredded turkey, then divide the chopped scallions and chopped cilantro evenly among the bowls. 

Ladle the hot stock over the top, dividing it evenly. Serve immediately, accompanied with the platter of garnishes.

Leftovers? Make Mash Potato Bombs!  

Baked or fried these are a fun way to use up any left-over mash potatoes… or, a good excuse to make more!

You’ll Need:

Filling:

3 cups chilled mashed potatoes

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

½ cup bacon, chopped small dice

1 bunch chives, chopped

Pepper to taste

Breading Station:

1 cup flour or GF flour

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs or GF breadcrumbs

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated fine

Xtra virgin coconut oil, Ghee or Organic Canola Oil for pan frying

Here’s How: 

Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees, unless pan frying.

Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel and set aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the leftover mashed potatoes with the eggs, cheese, chives and bacon bits. Mix to combine, cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Prepare 3 breading stations. One bowl of flour, one bowl of beaten eggs and one bowl of panko bread crumbs mixed with the Parmesan cheese.

Dust your hands with flour and use an 1/2 ounce portion control scoop to measure the balls. Or a Tablespoon.

Pat them gently to form them into balls and roll them in the palm of your hands to get them perfectly round.

Immediately dust them with flour again and set aside. Repeat until you have 24 flour-dusted balls.

Drop a ball into the egg mixture and use a spoon to turn the potato ball over until fully coated.

Lift the potato ball out of the egg mixture with a fork. Drain off any excess. Immediately drop the potato ball into the panko and cheese mixture and use another spoon to dredge it fully.

Pat in any excess bread crumbs that might be falling off the ball.

Set aside on a parchment lined cookie sheet and repeat with remaining balls.

Fry in batches in hot oil over medium high heat until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Or, bake at 400’F degrees for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with my homemade ketchup! 

 

 

Yum! Makes approximately 2 dozen potato bombs!

Roasted Kabocha Squash Fondue

Drool! Fragrant melted cheese served in a communal pot, or a traditional caquelon or fondue pot over a little réchaud brought to temperature with a candle or various other types of flame material. Small-bit-sized foods are consumed by dipping bread, assorted vegetables, and proteins dunked right into the warm, mouth-watering melted cheese using long-stemmed pronged forks. 

Fondu was created to promote a national dish in Switzerland. I think they nailed it. It became so popularized in North America in the 1960s the term “fondue” has now been coined for other dishes in which a portion of food is dipped into a communal pot of warm liquid kept hot. We have all heard of chocolate fondue, fondue au chocolate, in which pieces of fruit or pastry are plunged into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which elements of meat are cooked in hot oil or broth. 

Either way, you enjoy it, sweet desserts or savory choices are up to you. I’ve been on a savory Fondue craze this winter and just wanted to share with you.

You won’t even need a fondue pot to enjoy melted cheese. I used a winter squash, and at one point, I hollowed out a giant round loaf of walnut bread. Cut up and pre-roast some sweet baby potatoes and various veggies I knew my family would enjoy. I especially love to dunk roasted baby carrots and raw red bell pepper. The challenge is eyeballing how much of the fondu you’ll need to fill your squash or bread round and then trying not to eat all the ingredients during prep time. 

When it comes to the perfect serving portion — it’s another variable. I always prep about two to three pieces of each selection, equalling about a dozen bites per person—some on the side for those with larger appetites, like myself. Shhhhh! 

Take a quick peek at the recipes below. 

Enjoy! 

You’ll Need

1 whole kabocha squash or any winter squash of your choice, about 5-8 inches in diameter

3-6 cups of fondue to fill squash or bread round ( feed 6-8 pp)

1 large clove of peeled garlic- smashed 

Here’s How

Preheat your oven to 350’F degrees. Prepare your squash as you would for carving out a pumpkin for Halloween. Cut off a ‘lid’ and scoop out all the seeds and membranes. 

Gently rub the insides with a hefty knob of butter and a good sprinkling of salt. Smash the clove of garlic and rub it all over the interior. Drop the clove to the bottom of the squash leave it throughout the roasting process. Place the lid back onto the squash and sit the whole pumpkin on a sturdy baking tray. Foil the stem of you, think it will be at risk of burning.  

Bake until cooked through but still firm to a knife. About 30-60 minutes to depending on the size of your squash. I like to roast my squash until I can poke a sharp knife through the flesh and then add the fondu making sure it doesn’t fall about all soggy. Remember when choosing your squash’s size, the larger the squash, the thicker the walls, the dense the meat, and the longer the cooking time. Don’t forget you will roast an additional few minutes when the fondu is added.

 While the squash is roasting in the oven, prepare your fondu filling. 

For the Cheese Fondu

Use this recipe to yield about 3 cups of fondu and adjust accordingly to your bread or squash bowl size. I usually double the recipe for a sizeable sourdough round.

You’ll Need

1 cup Emmental, grated

1 cup Gruyère, grated

1 cup mature white Cheddar, grated

2 tablespoon of cornstarch

3/4 cup of crème fraîche or lite sour cream

1/4 cup tablespoons of dry white wine or splash of bourbon or sherry

1 shallot, cleaned, and cut in half 

2 garlic clove, smashed

pinch of nutmeg ( optional )

Here’s How

In a medium-sized bowl, toss the grated cheeses with the cornstarch until the cheese is completely coated. 

On the stovetop over medium-low heat, add all the fondu ingredients and slowly warm until melted, stirring occasionally.

The last 15 minutes of roasting, remove the squash from the oven. Remove the lid and set it aside for a serving garnish.  

Remove the garlic clove and discard. Carefully pour the melted fondu mixture into the baked cavity of the squash—place back into the oven and continue to baking for an additional 10-15 mins or until the fondue bubbling and slightly brown and the flesh of the squash appears to be baked and creamy. 

Place on a platter and surround the squash with various pieces of bread and veggies for dipping. Supply your guests with spoons so that they can scoop out chunks of soft, roasted pumpkin with the melted cheese after the dipping session. 

Suggestions for Dipping 

Crusty bread, cut into bite-sized pieces

Crunchy breadsticks 

Al dente roasted vegetables

Raw vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces

Roasted butternut squash cubes

Whole raw scallions

Crackers

Variations

Use any variety of squash or choose individual ones for each of your guests.

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