Today I welcome Avery Aames with a unique post. Not only does Avery tells us about her Cheese Shop Mystery Series, but she gives a recipe with photos...and she's offering three copies of her latest novel, Lost and Fondue to commenters. To win a copy, just comment on why you would like to read the book. Winners (random numbers) will be announced on this post on April 13. Be sure and stop back to see if you've won.
4/13: WINNERS are Gram, Fricka & Janet Bolin. Please email me with your snail-mail address, so Avery can send you a copy of Lost and Fondue. Thanks for commenting!
Avery Aames is the author of A Cheese Shop Mystery series. The first, The Long Quiche Goodbye, is a national bestseller. Avery is an Agatha Award nominee for “Best First Novel.” Avery blogs at Mystery Lovers Kitchen - a blog for foodies who love mysteries. And some of her characters show up on the Killer Characters blog, You can pre-order LOST AND FONDUEHERE.
AVERY AMES: “I’m melting…”
I love fondue. Don’t you? And guess what? It’s National Fondue Day. That’s right. According to a number of Internet sites, every April 11 is National Fondue Day. Who came up with the idea of a day to celebrate cheese fondue? Well, I’m not exactly sure. I couldn’t dredge up a name after extensive research. It might have been a cheese company that originated the idea. Who cares, right? Fondue has been around for a while. There are references in Homer’s The Iliad about a dish prepared with wine, goat cheese and flour. But the Swiss made it popular. The dish came into being centuries ago as a result of food preservation. Breads and cheeses made in the summer and fall needed to last through the winter. The bread turned hard; the cheese turned hard. But the cheese, when heated and mixed with wine, turned into a thick sauce. The bread, which was so hard it required an axe to chop it, [I’ve had bread like that in my breadbox, haven’t you?] became soft if dipped in the warm cheese. Yum!
What’s not to love about fondue? It’s romantic, it’s easy, it’s delish. It’s usually made up of two or more cheeses, heated in a caqualon, or communal pot.
So why am I so obsessed with fondue? Because my next book in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is called LOST AND FONDUE. In the story, Charlotte’s friend Meredith decides to throw a fund-raiser to create a liberal arts college. Meredith asks Charlotte to provide cheese and fondue for the event, and Charlotte is excited until she learns the location for the fund-raiser—a long-abandoned winery that is rumored to hold not only buried bodies but buried treasure. Charlotte’s joie de vivre deflates like a bad soufflé. Her fears are realized when an art student is found dead in the wine cellar, and Meredith’s niece is the main suspect. Fondue is a mainstay of the novel. Charlotte shares a few recipes. She serves different fondue tastings at The Cheese Shop. And fondue actually plays a part in solving the mystery.
In honor of the release of the book, I’m sharing a new fondue recipe with you today. It’s something I created by combining a couple of normal cheeses with Doux de Montagne fondue. Doux de Montagne cheese is a pale light cheese with teensy little holes and a fruity, buttery flavor. It’s one of my favorites.
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped yellow onions
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Half ‘n Half
8 ounces Doux de Montagne cheese (may substitute with cream cheese)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup (packed) grated Gruyère cheese
1 pound new potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine 6 cups water and salt in large saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add potatoes. Cook until potatoes are just tender when pierced with skewer, about 6 -12 minutes. Drain. Cut potatoes in half or quarters (bite-sized). Transfer potatoes to bowl. Add olive oil and parsley; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Potatoes may be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover refrigerate. [Reheat potatoes in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.]
Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; sauté until soft, about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add Half ‘n Half and grated cheeses. Whisk until smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. [If it feels too thick, add a little regular milk to thin.]
Place potatoes on platter. Spear each with skewer. Serve with warm fondue.