May 29 - Folklife, fondue
Hey! Remember Folklife? It was only a few weeks ago. . .
So I went. Even after there was a stupid shooting the first night. Which was kind of funny (no one was fatally injured) because I didn't actually notice that anything was different. I maybe saw a few more police officers around, but honestly things were pretty much the same as I remember from last year. A lot of hippies, a lot of jam bands, a lot of scarf dancing and hula hooping.
In your face, weatherguy!!
good-times country bands and traveling juggling troupes, I partook in the best reason to hit an outdoor festival. That is of course, festfood.
I was intrigued by the representation of Southern style cuisine in booths around the music and dancing. While I was a bit disappointed by the absence of alligator on anyone's menu board, I did allow my interest to be piqued by gumbo.
And they had sweet tea! I've been meaning to try it for a while, and this was the perfect setting. A note to sweet tea noobs - it is sweet. They're not kidding about that. I nearly went into sugar shock after drinking the entire mega cup pretty much by myself.
What? Gluttony is part of fest-fooding.
Also an integral part of fest-fooding: Kettle Corn!! Man I love that stuff. Who decided it would be a good idea to put both sugar and salt on popcorn? I would like to shake that man's hand. I have a feeling it was Arnold Palmer. That guy seems to have a lot of great hybrid-food based ideas.
Folklife was a nice beginning to our Memorial Day weekend. I kind of forgot that it was a real holiday until we were walking through International District on Monday and saw this:
I thought it was funny that it was sort of warm out and some woman kept running around misting all the girls with a squirt bottle. Nothing says Memorial Day like dampened girls in costume.
I'd been wanting to put together a fondue party for a while, and after receiving the devil's fondue pot as a gift from my mother, I figured that was a great excuse. I had a ton of fresh, fat asparagus (yay for asparagus season!!) so I cut it up and blanched it for the dipping. I also had oven-roasted sweet potatoes, seasoned with Kosher salt and rosemary, and I cubed some onion rye bread from Dahlia Bakery.
I used Alton Brown's fondue recipe to break in my virgin fondue pot.
1 clove garlic, halved
1 (12-ounce) bottle hard apple cider
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon brandy
Pinch kosher salt
5 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere, grated
5 ounces (2 cups) Smoked Gouda, rind removed, grated
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
Several grinds fresh ground black pepper
Rub inside of fondue pot or heavy small saucepan with garlic. Pour cider into pot. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, the brandy and salt and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, grate the cheese and toss well with the cornstarch in a large bowl. When the cider just begins to simmer, gradually add the cheese a handful at a time, allowing each addition to melt completely before adding the next. Continue adding cheese and stirring until all cheese is incorporated, about 3 minutes. If mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low. The mixture is ready when creamy and easily coats the back of a spoon. Stir in curry powder and pepper. If cheese seems stringy, add some or all of the remaining lemon juice. Move fondue pot to alcohol warmer, and keep stirring during service. A variety of breads, from pumpernickel to rye to bagel chunks can be skewered and dipped as can cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms and potatoes. (Soften all vegetables by blanching briefly in boiling water then chilling.) Crisp fruits such as apples make great fondue fodder, as do cooked meats and sausages. Even soft pretzels make for good dipping. If any fondue is left over, cover with ice water and refrigerate, pour off water and reheat over low heat.
The fondue went off pretty well. The cheese didn't hold up the texture quite as well as I would have liked, but it tasted great. I really liked the array of things I prepared for fondue-ing (I also included some fuji apples and bartlett pears). Yes, we were using chopsticks to dip. I may have misplaced my set of fondue forks. These things happen.
I will leave you with a couple of critters I saw that week.
Beagle!! I love beagles. I think they're adorable. This one was chilling out on someone's balcony. He didn't seem like he was very enthusiastic about things, but it was really sunny out. Sunshine tends to make me feel kinda drunk and groggy too. We don't see it very often these days.