Every year around this time I put cheese in a pot and tell these random women to bring these specific items:
amy-chocolate 12 oz. of Swiss chocolate
If they complain they have to clean the cheese pot at the end of the night. The woman who was told to bring a pig's butt is going to be putting her own stinky cheese in a pot next year and eating it by herself.
And every year around this time I wonder what to give as a gift to the Wombat's Yankee Swap. I'm still in awe of Supa Cath's personalized cookbook from last year. Which was so beyond cool. And I'm simply over making my signature alpaca hat. So this year I went with chocolate. I made a Ghirardelli triple chocolate cake, wrapped with a crocheted bathroom set which included a rug, a toilet paper holder and a toilet seat cover. Lucky, lucky recipient.
Every year I'm in awe of these women who step inside my home from the snowy cold night and sit on my couch and drink wine from my wine glasses. I'm not really sure who they are or really where they've come from, like where they grew up and what their college days were like. I mean I know who they are. They are doctors and nurses and teachers. But really so much more than these labels too. Funny and smart and comfortable in their own skin. Which I love most.
And I guess that's all that matters on this night.
I'm still confused about what fates were involved in how they got into my life. Or how I got into theirs.
And I'm not sure why they bring their crappy gifts to the Yankee Swap because everyone should walk away happy. But I guess that's why it's so fun.
And some, well, some do odd things in order to steal gifts. It's just a little twist we've added to the Yankee Swap rules. It's our way of making each other look like asses for the sake of a laugh.
But anyway you look at it these female alien-like bodies come up my mountain to dip bread into cheese with sticks and then get all naked to steal each other's gifts...
then they dip pound cake into butterscotch, wash it down with wine and silently slink off into the dark snowy night in vehicles that run on batteries. I'm baffled by it.
And luckily they take their alien babies with them.
Because I'm not sure I could handle this crap lying around.
Here's the cheese sauce I recommend. I don't think you need a fancy dancy fondue pot but I highly recommend long sticks to use to stab your chunk of love bread into heavenly goo.
Three-Cheese Fondue with Champagne
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 cups dry (brut) Champagne
1 large shallot, chopped
2 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese (about 7 oz.)
1 1/3 cups coarsely grated Emmenthal cheese (about 5 oz.)
1/2 cup diced rindless Brie or Camembert cheese (about 3 oz.)
Generous pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of ground white pepper
Stir cornstarch and lemon juice together, set aside. Combine Champagne and shallot in fondue pot, simmer over a medium heat 2 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Add all cheeses and stir to combine. Stir in cornstarch mixture. Return fondue pot to medium heat and stir until cheeses are melted and smooth and fondue thickens and boils, about 12 minutes. Season fondue with nutmeg and pepper. Serve over candle (whatever) or canned heat burner, or better yet stir the shit up in any old pot and eat it right away, with sticks, like I said.
I'll give kudos for this recipe to a magazine that has the initials BA. And don't ever tell me I didn't give you anything. Eat bread and cheese. It'll make you fart.