…three fondues and a hot oil pot…

Tom Jobim and Elis Regina  …….  Aguas de Marcu
…Just to get you in the Mood!…

So…. here we go to the Fondue Recipes… there are lots of
variations on the internet…these are just the more traditional
ones, and the ones I chose to use for several parties through
the years.

I have included a little bossa nova tune to help you get in the
mood, as you dream about your fondue parties…

*Swiss Cheese Fondue

*Sharp Cheddar Fondue

*Chocolate with Gran Marnier Fondue

*Sizzling Meats with Three Dips

The first three can be made directly in your Fondue Pot… the
ones with a little candle underneath.   Or it can be heated over
the stove in a double boiler, and then transferred.  The second
option is the one I prefer.

The last one…hot oil for sizzling meats… should be an Electric
Fondue Pot, to keep the oil good and hot, and at a measured temp.

***Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

1 C dry white wine
1/2# shredded swiss cheese
1/2# shredded gruyere cheese
2 T flour
1/4 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg

Simmer the wine, add cheeses 1/4 # at a time, stirring each
time until melted before adding more.  Stir in flour, and add
the salt and nutmeg at the last.

Serve with a nice selection of cut up breads, veggies like
mushrooms, cauliflower flowerettes, and crisp apples
wedges are great.  Also pear pieces, broccoli tops, and
anything else that goes well with Cheese…

***Sharp Cheddar Cheese Fondue

6 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 oz shredded swiss cheese
4 oz beer
2 T finely chopped garlic
2 T worcestershire sauce
2 T flour
2 t mustard, or more to taste

Put the beer, the chopped garlic, worcestershire sauce
and the mustard in your pot on medium heat, or in a
double boiler.  Add shredded cheeses, 1/3 of the quantity
at a time, and melt, mix and whisk well til smooth with each
small batch.

Serve with platters of chunks of a variety of breads, crisp
apple wedges, pear pieces, or any vegetable that appeals to you, cut into
manageable pieces… not too small, but a good bite size.

***Chocolate Fondue

12 oz dark chocolate chips, or semi sweet chocolate
squares, chopped up.  I really prefer the bitter sweet
60% Cacao myself, but choose your favorite.
8 oz heavy cream
pinch of salt

Warm the cream to a slow boil, and add chocolate and let
it sit for a minute to soften, then whisk until incorporated
into the cream.
Optional:  add 2 T Frangelico, Amaretto or Gran Marnier
for an added flavor boost.

Serve with platter of fruits like Strawberries, chunks of
pineapple and bananas, pears, apples, or how bout pound
cake pieces!  Nice little salty Pretzel shapes are also great.
OH… and here’s a great one… Candied Ginger!

Save a little cream to add, if your chocolate starts getting
too thick as it sits and heats.

***Sizzling Hot Oil Meats

This requires an electric pot, to keep the oil at a good hot
temperature.  Be sure your meats are dried off, to prevent
splattering as they are lowered into the oil.

Meat is your choice… tender beef chunks, solid pieces of
chicken, even good sized shrimp or prawns.
Each guest should only use One fork at a time, to prevent
the oil from cooling down too much.

Good oils to use are: Peanut Oil, Canola Oil, or my favorite,
Grape Seed Oil… it’s light, healthy, and can be heated to a
higher temperature without smoking, allowing your meats
to cook nicely and have the juices sealed in.
* Just a little handy hint… don’t buy your Grape Seed Oil at
the local grocery…it will be a Fortune!
Go to Trader Joe’s, or other Natural Foods outlets, because
this wonderful Oil is Very Cheap there!
And remember….Don’t overcook!

***Serve Meats with Sauces for Dipping:

*Honey Mustard- 1C honey, 1/2 C dijon,
mix and let sit a while.

*Tomatoe Ginger- 1 C crushed tomatoes with juice, 1 T chopped
onion, 1 T finely chopped fresh ginger, 1 T olive oil, 1 t celery salt.
Heat oil on the stove, add onions and ginger, cook til tender.
Add tomatoes, cook til soft, then cool.
Puree in a blender, add S & P to taste.

*Garlic Lemon- 1 +1/2 C mayonnaise, 1+1/2 T lemon, 1 T garlic,
1/2 t tabasco.    Just mix it up, and let it stand a while.

And the list goes on and on…. it’s your call.
How bout
*Wasabi Mayonnaise ?
Or a
*Teriyaki Tamari…?

Of course, someone will start it, and Why Not?
Dip the meat pieces into those Cheese Fondues!  Mmmmm

OK…now I’m really getting hungry….
Please… promise me you’ll check out Martin Denny….
…and will you also consider some old Jobim, the early stuff,
the newly born Bossa Nova…  mmmhmmmm
“Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars…”

Actually….. it’s playing right now.

..from the sixties… in your used records place….oh ya

……………………….Gots ta go!……………………
>>>>>>  ENJOY!   and    Have Fun!  <<<<<<



…the party!…

Well, the party was a great success!  Many people, Lots of foods,
and a Six Layer Chocolate Cake with a fudgey hazelnut filling…

I set up four Fondue Pots, and many foods for dipping…

1…traditional swiss cheese fondue
2…sharp cheddar cheese fondue
3…chocolate fondue with gran marnier
4…a hot oil pot for cooking meats on skewers

I was so busy cooking, baking the cake and frosting all those layers,
I wasn’t able to take photos of our gorgeous tables, but I will be
sharing the Fondue Recipes with my next post.

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Meanwhile, get out your Vintage Fondue Pots, or visit your
nearby Goodwill, where you’ll usually find one or two, and
at a minimum expense.

There’s just something about those Retro shapes and colors,
and those Teak Wood handles, that just Make the scene.
Add a little Henry Mancini or Retro Tropical Music…
(…Martin Denny is my All Time Fav for Retro Parties, with those
jungle sounds, bird calls and strange moods… also hilarious ….)
….and Voila! you have an unforgettable Happening.



A Fondue Party is just the thing for creating a great social
atmosphere for spontaneous talk and unexpected laughter.

…the party house…

Today her friend was making plans.  Her husband was
having a monumental birthday party, with many friends
and associates, and massive foods and drinks were in order.
They had traveled to the huge home that the husband and
his group had built for one of the friends, and it was quite
spectacular, atop the golden hills of the Big Island, West
side, with a sweeping view of blueness, and acreage.

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This place was Gigantic, with 8 or 10 bedrooms, hallways
where one could get lost (and did), decks and views of the
sloping, rolling hillside, dramatic and shrubby, palms
added here and there.
There were little guest houses too, and it would seem
perfect for conferences, or entire tribal getogethers.
Yet there was a cozyness about it al, that Island Casual
thing that she lovedl.

The Kitchen was a dream, completely stocked with stations
and work areas appropriate for feeding large crowds.
She was in heaven.

She had known it was part of the plan before she arrived,
and had included her several Fondue Pots in her luggage,
as this was to be her contribution to the festivities.
She loved to cook, loved feeding parties, and had wonderful
plans for several flavors and lots of things to fork and dip.

Meanwhile her friend was list making, while she did her best
to extract numbers and timings, so she could plan too.

“Gosh, we’ll need two black slaves to carry our things from
the stores,” she laughed…
“Well, that’s you babe,” came the quick response, and she
immediately checked her friend, to be sure this was a joke…
apparently it was not.
When she did her best to make light of the comment, her friend
suggested she put on her black face…
“Hmmm…I think my friend’s a little tense,” she mumbled to herself.

The shopping turns to her and two of the wives, and they all swing
and stagger through the isles of several island stores, with weighty
lists and last minute thoughts.
Lots of people, more each day are added, and there must be
enough of the appetizers, the main dishes, the desserts,
the drinks and wines, and of course… the cake!
So much to think of…

She hopes she can pull it together, as everyone seems a little
scattered, and who is doing what begins to be confusing…

Still, the excitement builds, she has her own little room to
herself, and just looking across this landscape of brush and
small trees and rocky hillsides excites her imagination.

She’d lived in the islands, and never seen this particular vast
western side, where the moisture has been stolen before it
could pass the mountains, and those rain laced laden Tradewinds
arrive dry and arrid, freed of their burden, and creating an
entirely different world.

Tomorrow they start cleaning and chopping and arranging for
the big afternoon, very soon to come.

She gets out her three little Vintage Fondue Pots, each with its
own stand and warming candle.
There are eight or ten little Forks to each pot, and the whole group
together, with its Retro avocado, orange and mustard colors,
and ‘modern’ lines, takes her back to the early sixties,
when Fondue Parties were quite the thing.

Parties were so civilized and jolly then, she thought.
A nice glass of wine, some jazz in the air, everyone dressed for
the evening, a small fire in the fireplace…  Yes….

…on the road…again…

We went to visit another old friend, Buquinha, and he had a nice
little place with a friend, where Alcir found some of his favorite
garden plants, and we shared drinks, smokes and talks.

He was a gentle fellow, very sweet, and once again there was lots
of Portuguese, yet I never felt left out.

We went to a little place where we sat by the small stream and
were served favorited snacks….very popular in the region…
In Brasilian grocery stores, you can always find Quail Eggs,
big trays of maybe 18 to 24 at a time, and So inexpensive.
I seem to remember them being like 2 reis or so, which at that
time was about $1 American.
For some reason they just Love them, and they are served in bars
and restaurants as little appetizers with beer.

There were streams all around us…

Here, sitting on park benches along the stream,  we had bowls of
them, and also a great munchy that I have taken home with me
to serve to my friends…. little trouts, sliced into small and handy
pieces, and fried til crunchy….
These are all served with a little dish of light salsa, nice and spicy.


Fried Trout Slices…

*Slice fresh trouts crosswise, into 1-2 inch pieces, bone and all.
Dust with flour, and heat a good oil, Olive or Grape Seed…til very hot.
(Grape seed is my favorite, as it can get much hotter without smoking,
so your fried foods end up crunchier and less greasy. )
**Fry til browned and crispy, but not too dark or dried out.
Remember…fish is delicate…
**Drain on paper, and serve with a nice smooth salsa for dips.
**Little Quail Eggs hard boiled and peeled are a very nice complement,
and of course, if you want to be Brasilian, serve very chilled
Ice Cold Beer.

The next day we visited a local artists’ gallery, and enjoyed some
very creative wooden pieces, the house itself being a work of art,
and had lots of fun chatting up the locals.

We also traveled along the coast and made a stop at a tourist-y
spot that had wonderful hand made chairs, made from tropical
hardwoods, and large models of Portuguese ships that I wanted
to bring home to my brother.

The Chairs were gorgeous, and so inexpensive, so well made.

As well, there were little table and chairs sets with animals
themes, similar to what was coming from Bali at the time.
These were some of the things I hoped to import by the container
full, and I was so filled with great ideas on how to make the money
flow, whilst still having Fun!

Problem was, I don’t think Alcir was anywhere into it as I was,
and he never took me back to get one of those chairs to take home.
I was sad, because Piney had sent money for the chair, and I
realized I would have to be more independant in Brasil if
I was to get things done, and be happy.

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…bobo de camarao…


Bobó de camarão, sometimes referred to as shrimp bobó
in English, is a Brasilian dish in a purée of manioc (a.k.a. casava)
meal, coconut milk, and other ingredients.

Shrimp bobó is nearly identical to the West African dish Ipetê,
and is one of the many iconic recipes from the Bahia region of Brazil,
which is known for its heavy Afro-Brazilian characteristics.
Bahia is a region on the Coast,  far North of Rio.

INGREDIENTS  in Alcir’s Bobo…

onions, garlic, tomatoes, coconut milk, sour cream,
cream cheese, olive oil, yuca root and prawns or shrimp.

***note: there are many kinds of yuca or yucca  (they call
it Yooka), and you just have to find what you can locally.
In Rio, we had a brown one with thin skins, which we peeled
before boiling.  When I made in the US, I could only find
darker ones with thicker skins, but after peeling, they
were pretty much the same.

**Peel Yuca, and Boil til soft… then mash up leaving chunks.
**Chop and cook tomatoes til very soft.
**Sauce… add coconut milk to tomatoes, plus sour cream,
cream cheese, and salt.
He also took all the shrimp heads, and cooked them for a long
time, then strained them and used this liquid in the sauce.
**Cut onions in circles, chop garlic, and saute in olive oil
til very soft.
**Clean Prawns, add to onions, and saute briefly.
**Add yuca to sauce, simmer and mix.
*Lastly, add prawns and onions, and season.

Serve over Rice of any kind.

As side dishes, he served his bobo with :
**French fried finely shredded batatas…..potatoes…

**Mashed batatas and cenoura…. boil potatoes and carrots in a
two to one ratio, mash leaving chunks, and season with butter,
salt and sour cream.

**Watercress Salad…. just wash and dry, then drizzle with olive oil.

A delicious and satisfying dinner, and a great treat for guests!



…down the rabbit hole…

There’s something about this condition,  this reality that we call Reality, where you think you’re going to do something, to work on something or other, and then find yourself falling down this Rabbit Hole into cul de sac after sac, and end up forgetting what it was that started the journey to begin with…

Case in Point, as they say:  I have spent a long and busy day, crossing thing after thing off of my list.  I love lists, have I told you that?  Especially Love crossing off things, to the point of, upon completion of some task, and finding that I never listed it to begin with, I have been known to Write it on the list, just so I can cross it off…

 At any rate, so my list is sorta completed for the day, my brain and body is sure of it, and I line up some cool Netflix film to nestle down in to.  Love those movies in bed…

Shutting off the lights, I turn on the heater…. One of those super efficient ones that have a little glowy thing that makes you hold your hands to the fire that your brain still can’t accept is not real, and I notice it’s really making a lot of noice.  Not clanky clangy sort of noise, just too much.  I also smell a little something, like burning hair or furry dust bunnies. 

 I remember a couple winters ago, when mine made a big nasty smell that combined the above with a touch of electrical, and I had to replace the heater-motor thingy. 

So, me thinks to meself…. Hmmm, best turn it off and look at the backside.  And sure enough, there’s enough dust clinging to that filter, it would choke a horse… well, maybe a rat.  Anyway, I can see it’s time to wipe and shake and bang that puppy, so it can do it’s job.  Then I notice that the inside that I can now see is positively snowed in with dust, dog hair and spider webs.  Hmmmm  this could be more serious than first ventured. 

Ok, big brave me am Goin In.  Get those screwdrivers, and scalpels, and move in for the sponge and scrape phase. 

Hmmmm…. I have the phillips in the correct size, after pawing through my ‘tools’ drawer, but as I begin the process of dropping out the motor,  I notice that every other screw is one of those that requires one of those little bent wire jobbies they call an Allen Wrench.  Probably because some guy named Allen decided that we all needed another set of wrenches.

 Then I remember that the last time I went in for the kill, I ended up going to the Ace is The Place place, to at last find the correct size.  It cost a quarter, but it took 45 minutes.

Ok…so that means it’s gotta be here somewhere.

Back to the ‘tools’ drawer, which sports somewhere near a thousand things, from art supplies (they’re tools!) to blades for the variety of cutting dealies I own, to many sizes of screwdrivers, a small hammer, some very old hard Sculpey, pens that don’t work, measuring devices, screws with something sticky on them….. 

I paw around for a while, being careful to avoid those cutting dealies…. I finally decide to retrieve my Head Lamp, which is always in the right corner of my underwear drawer, just in case the lights go out.  It’s not there, and I remember I was using it last night to go outside and check on the animals I’m caring for right now.

Hmmmm… where would I have put it this time?  Finally I find it near the fish bowls, and am glad to see it has fresh batteries.  Back to the ‘tools’ drawer.        Paw Paw Dig Shuffle…..

 I find one too small, and one too big.  Beginning to feel like Goldilocks here, and I wonder where that one they call Just Right might be, and starting to think I’m getting lost in a Fairy Tale Book with dyslexia.   

I think…. Where would I have Logically put it?  A smart person would have Duct Taped it to the undercarriage of that heater, but Nooooo…. 

Meanwhile,  Geeee, I Really need to clean out this drawer.  Well, I don’t really need that… and this is all dried up… and I have three of these….. and if I put all these together in this little box…… oh No!… here I go down the Rabbit Hole….. Heeeellllppppp Meeeeee…..

 Back on track, Carol, back on track……..  it’s Finding Just Right Allen Wrench now….

Finally find it in one of the teeny tiny boxes of collections of teeny tiny screw drivers.   Oh god oh god oh god….. yes!  Your loss, Helpful Hardware Man.

 Back to the heater.  Unplug it…. I’m so smart,…. And Go In. 

Now I see how completely disgustingly Full this thing is with the finest baby powdery dust, and I go for my handy little hand vac… a Scorpion!  Trouble is, the Scorpion is full, as it only holds about an ounce of dust, and there’s clearly 2 in there. 

Ok, open up the insect…. Nope, scorpions are not Insects, as I should clearly know, being a Scorpio…. They are in the Spider family, Arachnids!  Did you know that?

 So I bang and I wipe, and it take it outside and do it somemore.  Dog hair!  That boy is so beautiful, but does he ever have the Hair!  I need to brush him more…. Where is that brush that works so good….?  Oh no!  down the rabbit hole I almost tumble again…  oh, and the catch on the scorpion door lock is just slightly sprung, so I work on that for a while. 

 Back to the heater, which lies spreadeagle, lacking only stirrups holding it down…

Goin in for the clean up….where’s the haz mat suit?  There’s dust all over the floor now, and I think about my other vacuum that I’ll need to clean up from this vacuum…. but its bag is full too…

I get a stiff paintbrush, and begin to dust it down, finding several tools and a bit of creativity is needed to drag out the leavings of 6 months in this little cave of mine.  The spider webs are particularly difficult, and these teeny tiny pointy things are coming in handy.  Vac vac vac….dust dust dust….wipe wipe wipe….

Well, might as well clean the outside, long as I’m here, it’s looking a little used, and not well.  I can see wag marks from the dogs’ tails, and god I never noticed how dusty it was when you have it upside down.   I go for the Eco-cool spray cleaner made of Tea Tree Oil, and find it nearly empty.   Go find the Eco-cool cleaner, add water, pour in, ready to spray.  The outside begins to look smooth and black once more, and I can see that faux fire much better now, through windows that are now transparent. 

Finally I reach a place where the return is not worth the investment, and so I stop, and I plug it in, turn it on, and after a small amount of complaints, it at last sounds relatively normal. 

Put away screw driver, find good place for that Allen Wrench where I’ll find it a little faster next time, tucking it in a little plastic bag with Papa wrench and Baby Wrench. 

Vac up the floor with the Scorpion, which is now full again, but I’ll leave it for next time. 

 Ahhhhh……Warming up now, as I wonder if  this what they call Adult Onset ADD…

And now ……….uh……what was I going to do?




…out out damned spot…

Back in the fifties in Los Angeles, when TV was a new and novel thing, there was a live program…everything was live then…in the afternoons, called Handy Hints.

There was this Betty Ferness type in apron, and high heels of course…. didn’t everyone wear high heels in the kitchen? …. and she offered up little treasures for the little housewife.   Sort of a primeval Martha.

Well, I feel like starting a new show or column, because I just found the most Awesome Handy Hint, something that Everyone will use one day or another… or this very day.     Ready?….

My daughter and her family are gone just now, and I am housesitting, taking care of her animals, and sometimes spending time in the house, as it is cozy and provides a rich environment for me to enjoy, that I don’t have in my little nest.

I was working on a bunch of large fabrics, tablecloths, pillows and afghans, to sell in my Etsy store on line.   I was using the table to iron them on, very handy, and the next day as I removed the many layers of fabrics I had used as a ironing pad, and also to protect the table…. Much to my Horror, there was a big White area that I had created with the steam iron!  I mean Big.  I mean Giant Family Sized Pizza Big.

Oh Goddess, she was going to Kill me.   I might as well go back to Brasil, because this is her new table, and she Loves it.

I tried oiling it, thinking the heat had somehow bleached or dried it out.     I thought about the different ways I paint and stain things that I repair and sell.   I thought about a lot of things, but mostly how she was going to kill me.

I thought about Google.  Oh God bless Goodle.  The Google Gods were there with me that day, and I will now share one of the more Amazing Handy Hints ever.

The whiteness is from the moisture trapped under the finish.  The trick is to drive out the moisture with heat.  They suggested a hair dryer, which I tried for a while.  A very long while.  Then I tried the other suggestion….. an Iron!  Funny, huh?  Fight fire with Fire!

No steam, of course, but cover with a cloth…. I used a clean dish towel, not terry, but smooth and thick…..and iron on MEDIUM, below the steam setting.

At first I went back and forth.  Later I found that I could leave the iron on the area for up to 10 seconds at a time.    It took quite a bit of time, because of the size, but although at first I was not believing it was working, slowly shade by shade the stain faded, and…..VOILA!  it Works!!!

So go to that old white moisture mark on that precious wood something-or-other, and be prepared to be amazed.

It’s like MAGIC!