Friday, October 8, 2010

Fondue in a Pumpkin

I grew-up in the country which allowed me to ride my horse up to Lisa's house. Of course, we rode bikes back and forth too, but I can still see in my mind's eye riding Midnight up through the woods, across a couple of big fields, and to her house. I have many fond memories of riding horses together. Our friend, Tracy, also had horses so we'd often all ride together. I have one memory of all of us riding together in a big open field, running our horses as fast as they would carry us, when all of a sudden Midnight got spooked and came to a screeching halt. I flew over his head and landed in the field. We all just laughed and laughed about it. Looking back, I could have gotten seriously hurt, but when you're a kid, you don't think about those things. You just dust off your bucket, get back on the horse, and get to the fun part again.

I'm trying to look back at those early days when Lisa and I first met. For some reason, I'm thinking it had something to do with a gerbil. She was going on vacation and I was going to keep the little rodent while she was away. Come to think of it, I believe she was watching the gerbil over summer vacation. It belonged to a teacher at our school. I can see the teacher's face, but I just don't recall her name. Oh to be young again and have a fresh mind with memories right where I need them!

Anyway, we became great friends and had so much fun together. I can't even begin to remember the number of times we gathered around their kitchen breakfast bar with other neighbor kids and played "spoons" while eating so many homemade French fries (that were cooked on the stove in a pot, horror of horrors) that we used a coffee mug just to hold all the ketchup we needed for dipping. Oh those were the days!

When our kids were little, we made a trip to the Windy City to visit Lisa and her family. While there, she shared this recipe which she had received from a neighbor. And I think I've made it every October since!

If you are entertaining friends or need to take something different to a gathering, this is the recipe to make. It's not only beautiful, it's very, very yummy. It's practically guaranteed to get lots of ooohs and ahhhs!

Fondue in a Pumpkin

What you will need:

1 pie pumpkin (4 lbs.) washed and dried
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
6 oz. baby Swiss cheese, shredded
4 slices of white bread toasted, crumbled
2 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 pint half and half
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Variety of bread sticks and crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With a sharp knife, carefully cut a 2 inch slice off the top of the pumpkin and reserve. Remove seed and fibers. Blend oil and garlic and rub into interior of pumpkin; place pumpkin in shallow roasting pan. Alternate layers of toast crumbs and cheese inside pumpkin. Combine half and half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and pour over layers. Replace pumpkin top and bake for 2 hours, gently stirring contents after 1 ½ hours.

Serve with bread sticks or an assortment of quality crackers.


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