Sunday, April 22, 2012

Great Dinner Party: Raclette!

I spent all of last week excited for our weekend dinner plans. 

Saturday night The Canadian and I had dinner with some of our favorite people in the world. Typically we get together every month or so to have dinner and drinks.

Our dinner parties are always delicious and a ton of fun, but this weekend was even more fantastic than usual. Christina brought out the big guns.

Want to know the secret of having the greatest dinner party of all time? 


A Swiss tradition, raclette is a what can only be described as an interactive dinner.

Raclette is basically an electric grill placed in the middle of the table. 

Preparation is super easy too because there is no cooking involved...just chopping and cutting.

Our menu included plenty of meat: shrimp, scallops, chicken and beef.

Lots of veggies: broccoli, green peppers, red peppers, orange peppers and potatoes (that's totally a veggie).

Also important are butter, oils and spreads, like pesto and bruscetta.

An array of cheese is also a necessity. We had mozzarella, havarti, parmesan, gouda and brie.

And of course, enough sliced baguettes to feed an army.

So here's how this goes down.

Each person has one or two 'trays' to manage for their meal. The goal is to keep each tray loaded with food in a constant rotation.

First, you choose several meats and veggies and place them on the grill to cook.

While their cooking, you take a slice of bread and start melting some butter and cheese by placing it under the grill.

By the time your cheese has melted, the meat and veggies are done grilling too. 

You pile your tray with whatever combination of food sounds good to you and then heat it again so it all melts together. I started with chicken, potato, havarti and peppers on a baguette.

While you're waiting for the first tray to cool a bit, you get your second monstrosity started on the grill. 

But maybe this time you try a different combo, like brie and shrimp and pesto. That, by the way, was my favorite of the evening. 

While that cooks, you eat your first creation. This way you eat lots of mini meals throughout dinner.

Are you following me? You eat one or two baguettes at a time while you're next one is cooking. It's a process. An interactive process. Everyone makes their own trays and eats whatever they want each time, at their own pace.

You then repeat the process five or six or ten more times until you're so full that you just might explode.

By the time dinner is over everyone will need to be rolled off their chair and into the living room.

Mission accomplished.

I mentioned before that this is a fairly low prep meal. There is no recipe involved, no oven, no stove. Just a cutting board. The best part is that it is an easy menu to divide up so the hostess isn't stuck providing all the food. If each person brings a meat, a veggie and a cheese then you're in business. You can even cut up everything while chatting over wine and munching on appetizers. Really, it's brilliant.

I warn you of one thing: buy more bread than you think you will possibly need. Six of us destroyed about five feet worth of baguettes. We're animals.

Next time you can't think of gift ideas for your birthday or Christmas ask for a raclette! 

You won't regret it and everyone will be begging you to host dinner.

We had such a great time! Thanks to Mike and Christina for having us...and for owning a raclette!


Friday Workout: Rest. Much needed and deserved.

Saturday Workout: 8 mile run. Boom! The furthest I've ever run in my life. Felt good, too.

Sunday Workout: Cardio - 45 minutes, bike and elliptical; Weights - biceps, shoulders, abs

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