Croque Monsieur, Fun Food for the Kids

In some of the tourist places we visited in France I came across croque monsieur.  An inside out grilled cheese sandwich!  The kids tried it and thought it was fun.

I loved the inspiration I got while over there.  So much good food and ingredients.  I got a kick out of this vending machine we found:

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I mean how cool is this idea?  Fresh veg, fruit, and homemade soups.  Don’t get me wrong I loved the Cadbury vending machines when I lived in London but still, this was refreshing to see.  Much better than these fish sticks I found:

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How sad.

There are several recipes for croque monsieur, all pretty similar.  I used Ina Garten’s from Barefoot in Paris as a guide.  I used our sourdough bread for this.  I really didn’t want to use the soft storebought white bread she recommends.  I just don’t like that stuff!  I needed to make 4 sandwiches so I toasted the bread ahead of time.  Also, prep 1/2 cup of parmesan and 1/2 cup of jarlsberg and set aside.

In a small saucepan melt 2 tablespoons of butter then add 3 tablespoons of flour to the butter.

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Keep it on the heat and continue whisking to cook the flour.  You don’t want the mixture to burn.

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Her recipe called for 2 cups of milk but I felt that was way too much.  I decided to go with 1 1/2 cups of milk.  We still had too much sauce leftover.  Gradually add the milk to the flour mixture, again whisking the whole time to work out the lumps.

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With the heat on medium bring the mixture to a near boil.  You don’t want to have it actually boil but you need it hot enough to thicken.  Keep stirring to prevent the milk from scorching on the bottom.  Once the sauce thickens remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.  Dust the top with nutmeg and season with sea salt and pepper.

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Spread stone ground mustard of your choice onto half the slices of the toast.  Add slices of ham and top with the other slices of bread.  Then spoon on the sauce.  Top with more jarlsberg cheese.

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Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.  Serve with a side salad.

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I have to say as crazy as this dish sounded to me it was a lot of fun to eat and it was delicious.

Tartiflette – And Can’t We Give Our Kids More Credit?

I enjoy having the chance to pick up my daughter from school.  Now that it is tax season I am limited to once in awhile given the work schedule but I love hearing how her day went and what’s happening in school.  She told me a funny story about math class today.  Apparently they are learning things about angles and the teacher wanted to teach them about SAS or side angle side.  She ended up with going with angle side side and didn’t realise her error until she wrote on the board ASS.  She twigged to it quickly but that just set off a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds into giggles and snickers.  Made me giggle as well.  🙂

She started the health course and her teacher in that class for some reason assumed none of the kids would have heard the word wellness before.  I found this weird.  The whole class had.  But it made me wonder.  Did she assume that the kids aren’t aware of the important things, or did another class space on this concept, or is it painfully obvious that a lot of adults around us aren’t taking the time with the kids on wellness.  Part of the problem in general kids aren’t given enough credit.  I think given half the chance most kids want to make the right choices and be well.   We’re very lucky with our kids because they are aware of the importance of good food, exercise, positive choices equaling wellness.  I doubt they are in a tiny minority though.  I also think most kids are more than capable of grasping these concepts and to start a class saying this is a new word kind of dumbs it down.

In continuing my pinterest theme of actually using the recipes I have found I decided to try a tartiflette which is a French potato dish.  Kind of like mac n cheese but with potato only in a gourmet way.  But meets the criteria of being a comfort food.  Though I have to say I took a break from comfort food last night and made my husband and I a salad for dinner.  Just was in the mood for fresh ingredients and keeping it simple.

This dish has a few steps but isn’t overly complicated and lends itself easily to making it your own if you wish.  I changed it a bit, no surprise.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F/180C.

Cube 4-5 medium to large potatoes and half an onion.

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Take 4-5 slices of bacon and slice into strips and render them in a skillet with a bit of olive oil.

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When the bacon is half way cooked add the onions to soften.  Then add a cup of turkey or chicken stock and 1/2 a cup or so of marsala wine.  Add some fresh thyme.  The recipe I found said to just use it for decoration.  I wanted the flavour.

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Add the potatoes, cover and simmer until the potatoes soften a bit.  In a baking dish add half the mixture and cover with cheese.  Then add the rest of the potatoes and cover with cheese. I used Jarlsberg for this.  The recipe called for 250g of cheese.  Which my husband was kind enough to grate and measure out.  Turned out to be a huge amount.  In total I probably only used about 150g and it was a lot of cheese.  Cover and bake until the potatoes are soft and tender.  Uncover to brown.

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I found some Brussels Sprouts for my husband and daughter and sauteed in olive oil until browned a bit.  For my daughter and me, I found a fabulous piece of Scottish salmon.  I kept that simple and just used salt and pepper with some lemon and thyme.  Oh it was lovely.

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It all went down a treat and the potatoes were really good as leftovers.  Made for some great lunches this week.