Sunday, October 28, 2012

Fiesta Cheese Fondue

The Melting Pot is one of my favorite restaurants.  Making their fondues at home is actually way easier than it looks.  For Halloween I decided to make their fiesta cheese fondue, serve it in a roasted pumpkin, and make homemade tortilla chips.  Boy was it good!

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups colby jack cheese
1/4 cup salsa
2 tablespoons corn starch

8 corn tortillas
vegetable oil

For the roasted pumpkin, you want a medium sized pumpkin.  Cut about an 8 inch circle in diameter off the top of the pumpkin.  Use a sharp knife to cut down at an angle.  Once you do this, you can pull the top off.  Clean out the inside with a metal spoon and get rid of the pumpkin seeds.  Roast them if you'd like.  Clean out as much of the flesh as possible to make a smooth inside.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Roast the pumpkin for a half hour or until it turns golden.  Set aside for later.

Heat the oil in a small sauce pan about 2 inches up the side.  Cut each corn tortilla into 8 triangles.  I use one to test the oil.  Once it floats to the top it is finished.  Toss in about 8 at a time and stir around with a slotted spoon.  Cook until they turn lightly golden.  It should only take about a minute or two.  Drain on paper towels and LIGHTLY season with salt.

Get a fondue pot of a small sauce pan and begin heating the vegetable broth with the salsa.  Grate your cheese by hand.  Do not buy pre-shredded cheese as this makes the fondue clump.  I learned that the hard way.  Once all of your cheese is shredded, mix with the corn starch.  This will also prevent clumping.

One the broth is hot, stir in your cheese one small handful at a time and slowly whisk in.  Allow all of the cheese to melt before adding more cheese.  Once all of the cheese has melted, pour into the pumpkin.  Serve hot with the chips!


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Pumpkin Brownies

So brownies are one of my favorite things ever.  I found a recipe for brownies that are actually faster than box brownies and way better.  And adding pumpkin in the middle made them absolutely unbelievable. Make these for any fall occasion.  They are warm, gooey, with just the right amount of pumpkin.

1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
7 oz canned pumpkin (usually half of a normal can, NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING)
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for about 1 minute.  Stir in the white sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and eggs.  Once completely stirred, place about 1/3 of the batter in the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  It is very thick so it might take some good spreading, but don't worry if it doesn't completely cover the bottom of the pan.  Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes.

While the bottom layer is baking, in a separate bowl mix the pumpkin, chocolate chips, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Then put 1/2 cup of the remaining brownie batter and stir together.  

Once the bottom layer comes out of the oven, pour the pumpkin mixture on top and spread.  Then put the remaining brownie batter on top of that and spread.  Again it is very thick and may be difficult to spread.  I would put small spoonfuls all over the top and then try to spread.  

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Allow to cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into squares and enjoy!  Beware, you can't eat just one!

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