Thursday, February 7, 2013

Making a Fort

When we were little, my sister and I used to make forts under the dining table and living room couches.  Only we didn't really call them forts, we called them houses.  We would drape bathroom towels over upside down dining chairs, drag cushions in to make furniture, set up our little china tea sets and populate the various "rooms" with accessories.  Then we'd visit each other, crawling on our hands and knees through makeshift entry ways, comparing notes on the decor and inviting each other over again soon.  We'd have snacks, sometimes pretend ones and sometimes real ones.  Other times, we'd have our guinea pigs join us.  I can't quite remember how old we were then, or when we stopped giggling and started bickering and slamming doors instead.

We're back to being friends again now.

Sadly, my kids never really made forts.
But I still do.
Forts are good things.  Especially the cheese kind.

Fromage Fort
Thank you to The Yellow House blog for this brilliant idea, apparently an age-old French tradition. Fromage Fort translates as "strong cheese", which probably refers to the fact that there's booze in here. You essentially take all the odds and ends of cheese you have in the fridge* and pulverize them with some white wine and garlic to make an amazing spread. You can add herbs (many recipes call for them), and the mix of cheeses is entirely up to you. Some advise adding butter if your cheeses are all hard (like Parmesan), others advise avoiding strong blue varieties.  I advise just making this, period.

Broil it on toast.
Then crawl over to a friend's fort and share with her.

3/4 lb. of leftover cheese, roughly cut into 1 inch pieces
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 c. or so of dry white wine
fresh herbs (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
salt, as needed, to taste

Place the cheese into a food processor and process until very finely chopped.  Add the garlic and pulse that in.  With the processor running, pour in the wine, adding more as needed until the mixture is a spreadable texture.   The amount of wine needed will vary based on the type of cheese, and your idea of what spreadable is.  Not an exact science, by any means!

Give it a generous grind of black pepper, pulse, then taste to see if it needs salt or if you want to add fresh herbs.  Chives, rosemary, oregano, thyme...your call!   Transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.  The cheese will keep for several weeks, aging and getting even more tasty over time.

You can use immediately on crackers or with veggies as a dip, or, even better, spread generously on thin slices of toasted french bread and broil for 3-4 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.

I topped mine with roasted baby tomatoes for the Super Bowl party, and did the very same thing again tonight for dinner. Highly recommended.

Click to print this recipe!

* If you have been paying any attention at all, you know that I whip out a cheese platter at the drop of a hat.  My fridge was groaning with leftover cheese bits.  But no more!


  1. There was a time when my parents were afraid to leave my sister and I alone in the house as we fought so much that they worried that we'd either a) kill each other, or b) burn the house down. Now I'd happily live in a cheese fort with her... YUM.

    1. Maturity is a beautiful thing, in sisters and in cheese!