When I was younger (as in, like, 5 years ago) I thought fondue was this strange, slightly embarrassing thing people did in the 70s. Like disco. And colorful polyester suits.
I imagined it involved using retro equipment that looked like this:
And people who looked like this:
Or maybe this:
(By the way, I totally got sidetracked searching for funky 70’s pictures. Like – hours. I’m back now.)
I don’t know why I had this impression of fondue. Maybe something I saw on TV? I have no idea. But I definitely thought of it as some quaint, odd thing that was done in the hazy 70s and that normal people didn’t do anymore.
And then I went to The Melting Pot with my husband. The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant (in case you hadn’t figured that out) and I discovered that – hey! – fondue is good! In fact, it’s more than good, it’s fabulous! And fun! Even without polyester and a disco ball.
For those of you who have no idea what fondue is, it’s basically dipping things in stuff. And then eating it. Bread and veggies into melted cheese, meats and seafood into hot broth or oil (to cook it), fruits and cakes into melted chocolate. You get the idea. There are endless varieties of what you can do with it. The Melting Pot has a whole menu full of choices.
The Melting Pot has a lot going for it. It has great atmosphere, and gives you four whole courses of dinner. But it’s also really expensive. On our second visit there, somewhere in the middle of the cheese course, the thought came to me, “How hard can it be to make this? I’m sure I could do this at home.”
This isn’t exactly ground-breaking food blogging here. There is absolutely nothing revolutionary about this at all.
But, like with other no-brainer posts I have on here (iced tea, popcorn, etc.), it’s just something else that’s “something I can eat,” and is something that’s especially helpful for a sugar-free diet. I thought I’d put it here simply because I’d like this blog to be a resource of ideas for eating on this diet, even the obvious ones.
Once you go off sugar, you find yourself really enjoying fruit more than you did before, and something about combining the right ones together in a bowl makes them even better. I find myself craving this a lot anymore, and it always hits the spot! If you’re having cravings for sweet things, give this a try. Don’t psyche yourself out and pretend it’s a brownie. It’s just something really yummy that will fill you up and taste great and satisfy those sweet taste buds.
I know everyone has their own take on fruit salads and everyone thinks they’re right. I, of course, am no exception, so I think that the way I make it is really the only right way. You can obviously do whatever you want, but this is what I expect from a fruit salad:
Fruits to use
- Fruits I ALWAYS use: pineapple, red grapes (cut in half), red grapefruit, mandarin oranges, and at least one variety of berry for color.
- Fruits I use when they look good and are affordable: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwi, cherries (pitted and cut in half)
- Fruits I never use: hard, crunchy fruits like apples (the texture is all wrong); melon (melon is good by itself, or in a melon salad, but I don’t think they go with the other fruits in a fruit salad); pears, peaches, and plums (I just don’t like their textures compared to the other fruits. Also, they get mushy and tend to get discolored quickly); bananas, unless it’s being eaten immediately with no leftovers (they get gross and slimy pretty quickly in a fruit salad).
Other things that add to it
- A couple sprigs of mint, shredded or chopped, adds a really nice, cool surprise of a flavor.
- Juice of a lime or lemon brightens up the flavor and helps to preserve the fruits.
- Juice from the jar of mandarin oranges (make sure it’s 100% juice and not sugar syrup) and from the grapefruit after the segments have been cut out gives the juicy base for the salad.
- Heavy cream, whipped up with an electric mixer, can be nice on top (though I prefer mine plain, with just the flavors of the fruits shining through.) If you use it, either have it unsweetened, or sweetened with only a bit of real maple syrup or stevia.
- Use fresh fruit and only if it looks good. If the strawberries don’t smell like anything, then they won’t taste like anything and you should just skip them. It will only be as good as the fruit that’s in it!
- The only canned fruit I use is mandarin oranges. I use it for the juice. Make sure it’s oranges packed in juice only and not a sugar syrup.
- Try to cut everything into roughly equal size. It helps to get a nice variety of fruit in every bite if everything’s the same size.
- In the winter, your fruit salad will be sparser because there aren’t as many fruits in season. I generally just get one variety of berry – whatever looks the best and is the best price – to add in for color in the winter. It gets too pricey otherwise.
- If you’re making this ahead of time, don’t add the juice until just before serving. The juice can make certain fruits (mostly the strawberries) mushy after a while.
- For the above reason, it’s also good to drain the juice before storing leftovers. You can keep it in a jar and pour some on as you need it, if you want.
- Try to get as many colors in it as you can. Use red grapes instead of green. Put some blueberries in, even if it’s just a few. We eat with our eyes, so color matters!
- Serve in a glass bowl, if you have one, because it’s pretty!
You may have noticed that I use spelt a lot on this blog. A lot. I’m having something of a love affair with spelt.
In the beginning days of this diet I went through a phase of experimenting with a bunch of different kinds of flours. Using all whole wheat just didn’t taste very good. I used buckwheat for quite a while, but had problems with it not rising right in certain recipes. Almond flour is great, but is also super expensive so I had to stop that. (I’ve since found that Trader Joe’s has almond meal for like a third of the price of other places, though, so I’m using it again these days!)
Then I found spelt. And I’ve never looked back.