Here the recipe for the Wild West cheese fondue. I've made it as simple as possible. Feeds 4-5 people:
- 600gr Edamer, 400gr Jarlsberg (CostCo: $15)
- 1 bottle of Chardonnay (0.7l) (Trader Joe's: $2)
- Garlic, pepper, nutmeg (Wherever: $5)
- Kirsch, lemon juice, cornstarch (Beltramo's: Sigh...)
- Bread, pears, whatever you like to dip
The traditional cheese fondue consists of about 2/3 Gruyere and 1/3 Emmentaler (Appenzeller, for some). Since none of this is available in California for a reasonable price, just replace Gruyere with Edamer or Cheddar, and Emmentaler with the ubiquitous Jarlsberg.
200-250gr of cheese feed one person. It scales up linearly. Cut the two cheeses into small pieces (not too small). You can also grind them, but there isn't much gained by shredding them to small pieces. That's why cutting them with a knife is sufficient.
Pour about 0.6l of white wine into the caquelon and heat it up. Traditionally, you would put the garlic in first---you would even smear its juices onto the walls of the caquelon. If you had a real caquelon at hand, I guess. So forget it and just throw small pieces of garlic into the white wine, as much as you feel comfortable with.
Once the white wine is warming up, put in half of the cheese and see it melt, while stirring. Traditionally, you would stir an 8, counterclockwise. Well, this is the revolutionary new Wild West cheese fondue so forget about any artistic aspirations and just stir evenly, whatever way you prefer.
Pour in a small cup of Kirsch, mixed with 2 spoons of cornstarch and some lemon juice. Just keep stirring. Really, the exact proportions aren't that important. Keep adding cheese until all the cheese is in the pot. If you put in too much wine, add a little cornstarch or keep stirring until the wine is gone and the fondue is starting to bind.
During the binding process, season with pepper and nutmeg. Wait until all the cheese has resolved into a nice sluggish yet delicious mass and you see smaller or larger blubbs coming up to the surface.
Have the bread or pears or whatever ready in bite-size pieces. Move the pot over from the stove to your rechaud. Voila, you are done. Happy eating!
PS: Please don't tell Swiss immigrations about this recipe... I still want to be able to get back into the country.