Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Croque Monsieur?

(Picture Courtesy of One Hungry Chef: January 2009)

Last week, I was flipping through my grandmother's copy of Martha Stewart Living and fell in love with half of the magazine.  I love Martha Stewart and her publications--I have subscriptions to Body & Soul and Everyday Food and still mourn for Blueprint, her short-lived decor magazine.  Martha Stewart Living has always been a bit stale for me though.  In the past, it's had a fuddy-duddy feel.  There are always lots of flower arrangements and fancy recipes for things that do not interest me in the least.  The pages are always beautiful, of course.  The glossy pictures jump right off the page and make you feel like you are actually standing in that garden in France and not really sitting at a wobbly table in Starbucks.  Anyway, this issue was not only beautiful to look at but also filled with interesting, different content that a range of Martha Stewart readers would enjoy.
  In particular, I loved the easy but oh-so-cute (and difficult-looking!) decorations for Valentine cupcakes and cakes.  There were small meringue hearts that you can pipe onto a dessert or the small, chocolate lace hearts that you can make with a few melted chocolate chips, a sandwich bag and ten minutes in your freezer.  There were bread recipes and variations on that recipe for raisin-cinnamon loaves or rye bread.  Near the middle of the magazine, there was a beautiful layout of cake stands, crystal-colored plates in gorgeous cut-glass and milk glass platters that would look even more wonderful with a huge chocolate or coconut-covered cake on it.  But the thing that stood out to me was on a tear-out card near the back along with a recipe for orange-dark chocolate truffles: a recipe for croque monsieur!
  Until I saw this, I had no idea what croque monsiuer was, which is a bit surprising since I love cheese, bread and all things French.  I used to eat grilled cheese for dinner two or three times a week when I was in college.  And this delicacy is not only a grilled cheese with ham on great bread but also goes a step further with a cheese sauce poured over it while on the griddle.  In my excitement, I shared with my mother, a trained chef, who looked at me and said, "It's just grilled cheese," but I could tell from the picture that the broiled cheese sauce on top of fresh-cut french or italian bread would be just heaven in my mouth.  I have to try it.
  You could imagine my surprise when yesterday at the deli/bakery near my office, the daily special was "Croque Monsieur."  I put this in quotes because once I shelled out my $10 and took my first bite, this was not the lunch I had in mind.  It was barely grilled, the cheese had a horrible, horrible waxy stringy outside that I had to keep pulling off (and which should have obviously been taken off before it was made) and the cheese wasn't melted at all.  This disappointment has not deterred me though--I am now looking forward to making this myself, perhaps for dinner tonight and you can be sure that I will take a picture to share.
  I hope you all have a wonderful afternoon--I, for one, am looking forward to my salad with grilled chicken for lunch (I always bring my own lunch to work so you can see how yesterday's bad sandwich was even more of a disappointment!) and my trip to the grocery store after work to get the ingredients for my very french dinner! Oeuvre!

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