Swiss!

Good food? Check.
Great friends? Check.
Lots of laughter? Check.
Crashing a Nike party and having fun around a fire pit looking around downtown Portland? Double Check.

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This Swiss dinner might just have made its way to the top of my list of favourite Friday Night Dinners. The food was delicious (who doesn’t love a good fondue?!), we had a slideshow of pictures in the background of Christina’s trip to Switzerland and we crashed a Nike party in the penthouse. Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so. I also may or may not have been asked to cater someone’s party in April. That was a little weird/overwhelming.

Switzerland’s cuisine is heavily influenced by the surrounding countries, Germany, France, Austria and Italy. Depending on where in Switzerland you are, you’ll have lots of traditional dishes from all four of those countries with a little Swiss flair.

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The food last night was totally fantastic. Probably the best fondue I have ever had — the Swiss sure know what they’re doing when it comes to fondue. I think it was the combination of white wine and garlic; with the cheese it was the perfect combination. And Mary’s homemade bread? Whoa. It was the perfect complement to the cheesy fondue, but it was just as good all by itself. That girl knows how to make bread. We also had potato rösti topped with sautéed swiss chard, vegetables for some fondue dippin’ and some cheese/onion puffs, courtesy of good ol’ Safeway. Dessert was Swiss meringue (its Swiss because you heat the egg whites/sugar slightly before beating to stiff peaks) and some Toblerone. The crazy level of twinliness (yeah, I just made that up) Taylor and I have reached new levels when we both brought bars of Toblerone for the group. Clearly we know our Swiss chocolate.

I highly encourage you all to try out each and everyone of these dishes. They were so, so good and really easy to make.

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{I have just started a separate blog, Bryony Cooks, detailing my experiences at culinary school and featuring some of my own original recipes. Be sure to check it out!}

Fondue:

Via

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 -2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 pounds mixed grated cheese, such as Gruyere and Emmental
  • 1-2 tsp. kirsch (optional)

Directions:

  1.  In a sturdy pot, add 1 1/2 (375ml) cup white wine, the garlic and the cornstarch.
  2. Add the grated cheese and cook over moderately-high heat, stirring often, until the cheese is melted and smooth.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1/2 cup (125ml) more white wine until its texture is to your liking. If you wish, add the kirsch.
  4. Serve warm, preferably in a fondue pot.

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Easy Italian Bread: 

Adapted from

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg + 2 tsp. water

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the sugar and salt.
  2. Add the bread flour and mix well for 2-3 minutes on medium speed.
  3. Gradually blend in the all-purpose flour, about 1 cup at a time, until a soft dough forms (you may not use all the flour).
  4. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough into a greased bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  6. Punch the dough down and turn onto a floured surface.
  7. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a loaf, about 12 inches long.
  8. Place each loaf, seam side down, onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  9. Using a sharp knife, make four shallow slashes across each loaf.
  10. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  11. In a small bowl, beat together the egg and water. Brush egg mixture over the loaves.
  12. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Rösti: 

Via

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 lb. russet potatoes (about 3 large)
  • 2 tbsp. lard or unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

Directions:

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes. Peel potatoes, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.
  2. Heat lard and oil in an 8″ nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. When lard has melted, add potatoes, sprinkle with salt, and mix well, coating potatoes with fat. Using a metal spatula, gently press potatoes, molding them to fit the skillet. Cook, shaking skillet occasionally, until edges are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  3. Cover skillet with a large inverted plate, invert the rösti over onto plate, then slide it back into the skillet, cooked side up; cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, sprinkle with salt, and cut into wedges to serve.

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Swiss Chard: 

Via

Ingredients:

  • 1 large bunch fresh Swiss chard
  • 1 small clove of garlic, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • Pinch crushed dried red pepper
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Rinse out the Swiss chard leaves thoroughly. Remove the toughest third of the stalk, discard or save for another recipe. Roughly chop the leaves into inch-wide strips.
  2. Heat a saucepan on a medium heat setting, add olive oil, a few small slices of garlic and the crushed red pepper. Sauté for about a minute. Add the chopped Swiss chard leaves. Cover. Check after about 5 minutes. If it looks dry, add a couple tablespoons of water. Flip the leaves over in the pan, so that what was on the bottom, is now on the top. Cover again. Check for doneness after another 5 minutes (remove a piece and taste it). Add salt to taste, and a small amount of butter. Remove the swiss chard to a serving dish.

Swiss Meringue: 

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175°F.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan 1/4 full with water and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, place ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer and place over simmering water. Stir constantly for 3-3 1/2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch.
  3. Place bowl of electric mixer on the mixer stand and, starting on a low speed and slowly increasing to high, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form — about 10 minutes.
  4. Pipe or dollop meringue onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake in preheated oven for 2 hours. Leave in oven for 30-45 minutes after baking so the meringues can set.
  5. Once set, remove meringues from oven and slide off parchment paper. Enjoy by themselves or with some fruit.

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Happy eating, everyone!

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