Building Relationships… with Pumpkin Fondue

October 30, 2011 5:00 am
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Everything PieYou might not associate Kelly and her blog, Evil Shenanigans, with clean eating, but she is a firm believer in cooking real food with real, wholesome, local ingredients (…and lots of butter — she suggests that you consider her your “cheat day” friend.)

Kelly has been blogging since 2006 and recently published her first cookbook, Everything Pie. Her second cookbook, Not So Humble Pie, is slated to be released in May 2012. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Pumpkin Fondue Recipe

When Andrew asked me if I wanted to participate in this year’s October Unprocessed I was thrilled.  Of course I wanted to participate because when it comes down to the nitty-gritty Andrew and I both believe that when you cook real food at home for yourself and your loved ones you are doing something that is nourishing to mind, body, and spirit.

Growing up I spent a lot of time with my mom in the kitchen.  She even bought me one of those kitchen play sets that we kept in the kitchen so that while she made dinner for me and my dad I could make “dinner” for my dolls.  By now I am sure you have heard how beneficial cooking with kids can be, to which I can heartily attest.  It builds confidence, creates memories, and helps them develop a critical life skill.  One day when they flee the nest they will not have to survive on pizza delivery and fast-food alone.

When I left home for the first time I discovered that nearly all my friends had no idea how to cook for themselves outside heating up a can of soup. Gradually, as word spread, my kitchen became the gathering place for friends and friends-of-friends who wanted a home-cooked meal. I found myself teaching my friends some cooking basics, like how to scramble eggs or bake cookies, in much the same way my mother had taught me.  We would talk, learn, and then eat in an atmosphere that was as much convivial as it was enlightened.

These days when I invite guests over for dinner we still congregate in the kitchen. I still teach people about cooking, and I often enlist them to help prepare the meal. Many of them claim to be inept in the kitchen; years of commercial brain-washing have convinced them they simply can’t cook, but that does not stop me.  Even a small task like chopping vegetables or whisking a sauce leads to a big sense of accomplishment, and I hope it builds confidence, memories, life skills, and reveals to them that they can cook … and might even like it.  Even young guests get into the act, with parental supervision of course, and I guarantee they never feel left out of the evening and eat everything they are served.

So, how can you strengthen your relationships through cooking?  Here are just a few ideas:

Plan an interactive menu where your guests can help prepare their food.  Plan a pizza party where guests build their own masterpiece, or create a salad bar in your kitchen so your guests can create their own bowl of leafy bliss.

Invite your guests to an interactive pot-luck.  Rather than making food in advance and bringing it invite them on a trip to the local farmer’s market to gather fresh, local ingredients for a favorite dish, then make it together.  This is also a great opportunity to spread the word about how eating local and in season is good for farmers and consumers, something I am passionate about.

Plan a progressive dinner party where each course is hosted at a different home. This is a fun way to get to know your neighbors and develop a tight-knit local community.  Be sure to include the recipe for each course served, and remember that if you are not doing a walking only party you should skip, or limit, the alcohol.

So, there you have it!  I could end here, but I could not leave without giving you a recipe for a dish that is as interactive to prepare as it is to consume.  Plus, it is perfect for the Fall.  It would make a wonderful dish to serve at a Halloween party or other spooky themed gathering.  I am sharing with you a rather delicious Pumpkin Fondue.  Most pumpkin fondue recipes call for a cheese sauce to be baked in a hollowed out pumpkin.  I find those recipes to be a little disappointing as they are often thin and lacking in much pumpkin flavor.  Here I incorporate homemade pumpkin purée into the fondue along with a crisp apple cider, warm spices, and creamy cheese.

Why pumpkin in the fondue?  First, it is loaded with vitamin-A, Vitamin-B, Vitamin-C, and Vitamin-E.  It is also a good source of fiber and minerals.  Second, pumpkin purée works as a replacement for some of the cheese in this recipe, and since it is naturally low in calories but packed with flavor you don’t miss anything.   Finally, it is seasonal and I love cooking with what is fresh and in season.

So, gather your friends, cook something delicious, and remember that food is more than fuel for the body, it is fuel for the heart!

Pumpkin Fondue

Pumpkin Fondue
Author: 
Serves: 12 to 18
 

Ingredients
Fondue
  • 1 clove Garlic, smashed
  • 1¾ cup Crisp-Style Hard Apple Cider (or non-alcoholic apple cider if you prefer)
  • ¾ cup fresh Pumpkin Puree
  • ¼ tsp. dry Mustard Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • ¼ tsp. Homemade Mixed Spices (See below)
  • ½ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 Tbs. Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 oz (about ½ cup) grated Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 oz (about ¼ cup) grated Gruyère Cheese
  • 3 oz Brie Cheese, rind removed (about ⅓ cup of cheese without the rind)
  • 1 tsp. fresh Lemon Juice
Mixed Spices
  • 1 Tbs. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Allspice
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. Cloves
  • ⅛ tsp. ground Ginger

Instructions
Fondue
  1. In a medium sauce pan combine the garlic, apple cider, pumpkin, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, mixed spices, and sea salt. Whisk occasionally until well combined then cook over medium heat until it just comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  2. While the mixture is heating combine the flour with the cheeses and toss to coat. Add the cheeses to the pumpkin mixture in three installments, whisking until the cheese is melted before adding the next addition. Whisk in the lemon juice then pour into a fondue pot, or a heat-proof serving bowl that has been warmed.
  3. Serve with diced apples, cubed rustic bread, and cut vegetables.
Mixed Spices
  1. Combine the spices and mix well. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use. Yields 2 tablespoons (enough to season 1 apple pie).

13 Comments on "Building Relationships… with Pumpkin Fondue"
  1. Comment left on:
    October 30, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I agree 100%! And great idea about an “interactive” dinner party. That sounds fun!

  2. Comment left on:
    October 30, 2011 at 8:47 am
    suzy says:

    This looks so good. I can’t wait to try it.

  3. Comment left on:
    October 31, 2011 at 9:33 am
    Nicole says:

    Loved all your tips for strengthening relationships through cooking and this pumpkin fondue recipe sounds wonderful! I was just having a conversation with my aunts about how to change things up at Thanksgiving this year and I’m thinking that a fondue pot could be a lot of fun for the appetizer table.

  4. Comment left on:
    November 13, 2011 at 3:00 pm
    Sarah BD says:

    I made this for my family yesterday night when we had our annual family cider making day, it was a hit. It was especially good with cucumbers dipped in it (weird I guess but so yummy) and red peppers.
    Now, what do I use the rest of the homemade spice mix for?

  5. Comment left on:
    November 21, 2011 at 11:28 am
    Jekka says:

    I cannot wait to try this!

    • Comment left on:
      February 29, 2012 at 9:37 am
      Jekka says:

      I finally made this last night – delish! It seemed decadent but left my husband and me feeling much better than traditional fondue does. We’ll make this again, thanks!

      • Comment left on:
        February 29, 2012 at 9:38 am
        Andrew says:

        Woot!

  6. .
    February 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

    [...] original post in its entirety is here. Kelly’s own recipe for homemade pumpkin puree is embedded in her muffin recipe [...]

  7. Comment left on:
    April 6, 2012 at 1:45 am
    ellyn says:

    Love concept of a pumpkin fondue but can eat cheese (dairy) or wheat. Can you recommend alternatives? Thanks.

  8. .
    July 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    [...] Eating Rules photo. See original recipe. [...]

  9. .
    November 12, 2012 at 10:03 am

    [...] Pumpkin Fondue : Who doesn’t love a fondue? (image via) [...]

  10. .
    November 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    [...] with Brown Butter and Toasted PecansProsciutto Bruschetta With Browned Sage ButterPumpkin DipPumpkin Fondue -for people who really want to spend time in the kitchenPumpkin Mashed PotatoesRed Wine Glazed [...]

  11. .
    November 1, 2013 at 5:52 am

    […] Pumpkin Fondue by Eating Rules […]

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