I wanted to host a birthday party for my college roommate, but I wanted to be able to be part of the party too. You know if you've hosted very many parties that this is often easier said than done. Another friend of mine, Sara, told me about a party she hosts every year that she says is the easiest and most fun for her--fondue! I'm talking old school, 70's type fondue where you heat up oil and cook your meat and veggies at the table. She was also gracious enough to loan me her fondue pots and her dishes. The pots are necessary, but the dishes are just a nice touch. And did I mention that she also gave me her sauce recipes and recommendations for meat and veggies? Yes, she's a sweet friend. The party was a raging success! We sat at the table much longer since we had to cook our food, which meant we had more time to visit. AND, the food was delicious!!
Here's what I used for the party:
- fondue pots (I suggest 1 for every 4 people)
- peanut oil
- tenderloin or rib-eye, cut into about 1" cubes (1/4 lb per person)
- sushi grade tuna, cut into about 1" cubes (1/4 lb per person)
- broccoli florets
- whole mushroom caps
- assorted sweet peppers
- pearl onions
- assorted bread
- Garden Salad with Oranges and Candied Almonds
The morning of the party, marinate the meat. After about 8 hours, drain and pat the meat dry and refrigerate until ready to use. You really want to make sure the meat is dry so that it doesn't splatter when you cook it in the hot oil. Here is Sara's recipe:
- 1 & 1/4 c. Soy Sauce
- Splash of Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Large Onion
- 2 Cloves Garlic (or 1 tsp. chopped)
- Blend all ingredients in blender.
-Pour over meat to marinate. (about 8 hours)
Then I set up my outdoor dining room table. I bought some plastic coated fabric to cover the table because I knew that oil drips and spatters were going to be part of the deal. I set up the fondue pots which took some planning to get all the cords situated and out of the way. I taped the cords to the table and I wrapped them around the table legs and taped them to the floor. The one thing I did not want to have to worry about was anyone tripping on a cord and spilling a pot of hot oil! No other decorations are needed because the food ends up being the center piece. Notice that I used paper napkins too.
Since there were 14 of us, I also used the coffee table on the deck. I just pulled up 2 ottomans and 2 poufs. This table got its own fondue pot too.
A couple of hours before the party, I got all the veggies ready and made the Garden Salad with Oranges and Candied Almonds. Aren't these colors great? I also cubed the bread--it was delicious after it was fried!
About an hour before the party, I got the marinade for the tuna ready and put the oil in the pots but didn't turn them on yet. The tuna only needs to marinate for about 30 minutes so that it doesn't start to cook in the marinade. I also made the sauces. Here are Sara's sauce recipes:
Horseradish Mayo Sauce
- 1 c. Sour Cream
- 1/4 c. Mayo
- 1/4 c. Horseradish, drained
- Salt to taste
- Cayenne Pepper to taste
Dijon Caper Sauce
- 1 c. Sour Cream
- 1/2 c. Dijon Mustard
- 3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
- 3 Tbsp. Capers
- Sea salt to taste
- Ground Black Pepper to taste
- Heat ingredients in saucepan, and serve warm.
Here is the marinade I made for the tuna:
- 2 C orange juice
- 1/4 C sesame oil
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced into discs
- 1/2 C olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed
Put all in a zip top bag and add the tuna and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Drain after 30 minutes and pat dry. Refrigerate until ready to use.
About 15 minutes before you want to sit down to dinner, turn on the pots to heat the oil. You'll want it to be about 350 degrees and each pot is slightly different, so just read your manufacturer's direction. Now just sit down, start cooking and have fun! Be sure to remind your guests to let whatever they are cooking cool a few minutes on the plate before they eat it...
I now have 2 fondue pots of my own as well as plates because this was a party I want to repeat. The only blunder of the night was that I was having such a good time that I forgot to take pictures, so you'll just have to use your imagination for the rest.
I'll keep you posted...
One cautionary note--A friend of mine said she went to a fondue party and they were sitting at a glass table and the heat of the fondue pots broke the glass and everything ended up on the floor! Luckily no one was hurt. So the lesson is, glass and fondue don't mix.