'Tis the season: Raclette
I come from a state known as America's Dairyland and now live in a country famous for its cheese. Basically, I choose my places of residence based on its access to good cheese and chocolate. And while you can't find squeaky cheese curds or fried mozzarella sticks in Switzerland, they do know a thing or two about how to make an entire meal that revolves around cheese.
Before I moved to Switzerland I had never heard of Raclette. It's a similar concept to Fondue, with melted cheese playing a staring role. However, it requires a special Raclette machine, where you melt the cheese and also cook meats/veggies on the top griddle. It's a fun and very social way to eat, as you cook your meal together over the course of an hour or two.
Unless you're a tourist, don't you dare eat Raclette/Fondue unless the temperature has started dropping. Now that it is officially Autumn, we decided to kick off the season and invited some friends over the other weekend. The main concept is to melt individual slices of cheese, pour the melted cheese over various vegetables and meats and then season with a special 'Raclette' spice blend (basically paprika, red pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, garlic, coriander and cumin). In any store here, you'll find packages of pre-sliced raclette cheese, which is the perfect size and consistency for melting. Potatoes (pre-boiled) are one of the main staples and I also included an assortment of sliced mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper, apples, mini-corns, mini-pickles, pickled onions, garlic (a fave!) and bread. We also had a small amount of beef strips. The veggies and meat can be cooked on the top part of the machine, while the cheese melts below.
One reason it makes a good winter food, is that that damn machine is freaking hot! Maybe it's just the pregnancy, but we had to open all the windows and I was still sweating the entire time. So dress for summer and be prepared to consume large quantities of cheesy goodness!
And all the leftovers make for a great breakfast stir-fry the next morning. We made breakfast burritos with the leftover sautéed veggies and melted cheese. Delish. Cheese is my love language!