And the Oscar goes to-- Gerry and Lori's raclette dinner! Yeah! Every year Mom and I get together for the Academy Awards. I go to Mom's house and we banish my dad to the upstairs. We have a bottle of wine (okay, well mostly I have the bottle of wine) and we almost always have cheese fondue. We start watching the pre-show around 6 p.m. Then at 7 p.m. we start flicking back and forth between the pre-show and the Barbara Walters Special until 8 p.m. Then we watch and watch and watch... I think it was about 12:45 a.m. before it ended this year! We spend most of our time criticizing the gowns and hairdos. We have our own best-dressed and worstdressed list. We also give points for behaviour-- after all, we are at the Academy Awards! And we give points for keeping all the body parts where they were meant to be inside the dress-- there were a couple of faux pas this year! I stay overnight and then get up at some ungodly hour to get home before my kids need me in the morning. It is a great night and a great tradition with lots of food, fabulous company and very little sleep. This year we decided to try a little twist on the cheese fondue tradition. We made
raclette. Raclette is both a method of eating as well as a family of cheeses. It is similar to cheese fondue in that you end up eating food covered with cheese, but the method is different. Originally, a large half round of cheese would be held up to a wood fire and then once the outer layer started to get melty, it would be scraped off onto boiled potatoes for everyone to eat. Now, you can actually buy raclette grills for your table so that you can do it with a party of guests at the table. You grill your potatoes or other food of choice on top of the grill; but then there are little drawers under the grill where you put slices of cheese to melt. Then you scrape the melted cheese onto the food. Yummy! Mom and I do not have any of the fancy gadgetry, so we did the quick and easy method. We baked some sausages in
the oven and boiled some small new potatoes. Then we put them all together in the baking dish once they were cooked (leave all the juices from the baking sausages in there because you will want to sop that up with bread later!). Then, we grated the raclette cheese and spread all the grated cheese on top. We then put that back in
the oven and let the cheese melt all over the sausages and potatoes until it was bubbly and slightly crispy around the edges. Then eat! The raclette cheese itself is a semi-soft Swiss-type cheese. Most stores call it raclette cheese right on the packaging. It has to be served with sour little pickles known as cornichons and sour pickled onions. We also added the bread (for sopping up extra juices and cheese) and a pile of fresh fruit. Now, the raclette dinner is decadent enough, you really don't need dessert. Especially since we had all that nice fresh fruit with the main course. But don't forget this is an evening of fun and we are sitting there for about seven hours, so Mom made key lime pie for dessert-- one of my favourites! So, if you are going to make raclette, you will need: · a variety of sausages-- we found that the honey garlic and farmer's sausage were best: the Italian were too spicy and overwhelmed the cheese · new potatoes · cornichons · sour pickled onions · fruit such as apples, grapes and pears · fresh baguette · raclette cheese (or if you can't find it, then gruyere or swiss will do in a pinch) Have fun and keep cooking!