2/21/12

Croque Monsieur and It's Complicated

Have you seen the movie It's Complicated?  Recently, a friend pointed out the sandwich Jane (Meryl Streep) makes for Adam (Steve Martin).  The sandwich combines Black Forest ham and Gruyere cheese (pronounced groo-year) on toasty bread.   I know what you're thinking...it sounds like grilled cheese.  Well, it is, but it is so incredibly delicious.  It's called Croque-Monsieur, which loosely translates to "crunchy mister."  If you add a fried egg to the sandwich, it would be called Croque-Madame.

This is a great weeknight meal, and it sounds kind of impressive.  If you don't use all of the sauce, it's easy to store and use again later.  If you google it, you can find lots of variations.  I've tried a couple different versions, and my favorite is found here.  I also like it with a little mustard on the side.

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Croque-Monsieur   
Ingredients: 
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
pinch of nutmeg
1 bay leaf (The spices are important, so don't leave them out.)

4 slices firm white sandwich bread (I used Chicago Italian from the Publix bakery.)
4 ounces thinly sliced Black Forest ham (This was about 6 slices for me, but I only used 2 slices for each sandwich.)
6 ounces Gruyere cheese (I bought a 6 ounce block at the deli. I sliced part of it for the inside of the sandwich and grated the rest for the topping.  See below for additional instructions.)
1 tablespoon melted butter (This is just to spread on the bread.  I used Smart Balance tub butter.)

Directions:
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and stir 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk. Add nutmeg and bay leaf. Increase heat to medium-high and boil until sauce thickens, whisking constantly, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 

Preheat broiler. Place 2 bread slices on work surface. Top each with ham and sliced Gruyère. Top with remaining bread. Heat heavy large skillet over low heat. Brush sandwiches with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Add to skillet and cook until deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to small baking sheet. Spoon sauce, then grated cheese over sandwiches. Broil until cheese begins to brown, about 2 minutes.
 
Source:  Epicurious

2/8/12

Nutella Cheesecakes


Have you missed me?  I've been busy with this...

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and this...
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and this...

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Excuses, Excuses!

I keep waiting for life to slow down, but I realized that doesn't happen.  We make time for the things that are important, don't we?  So, you should know, that I've been cooking lots of wonderful things.  I just haven't taken the time to share them with you.  So, I'm resolving to do better.

There is a new craze sweeping the home baking world...it's Nutella.  Of course, I was curious about the hazelnut cocoa spread, so I bought a jar.  The chocolatey, peanuty spread is delicious.  I've tried it on toast, bagels, apples, and almonds.  But I was eager to try it in a recipe.  There are plenty of interesting ways to bake with Nutella.  I've seen everything from cookies to frosting to French toast to ravioli.  Maybe Nutella ravioli is taking it too far.  When I found these No Bake Nutella Cheesecakes featured on My Baking Addiction, I knew I had to try them.

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I doubled this recipe for our Super Bowl get-together.  They were light, delicious, and just the right amount of chocolate after the smorgasbord of food we had that night.  If you like Nutella or are interested in giving it a try, this is a wonderful option.

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No Bake Nutella Cheesecakes
Ingredients: 
Crust -
12 Oreo cookies, crushed into crumbs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling -
1-8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup Nutella
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-8 ounce tub whipped topping, thawed

Directions:
In a medium bowl, stir together the Oreo cookie crumbs and melted butter.  Evenly divide the crumbs between your individual serving dishes and press into the bottoms of the of the dishes to form a crust layer.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and Nutella until smooth.  Add vanilla and mix to combine.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped topping until well-blended.

Evenly pipe or spoon the filling into individual serving dishes.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

If desired, garnish with additional whipped topping, chocolate shavings, or crushed Oreos.

Yields: 6 servings

Source:  My Baking Addiction
 
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