Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's Complicated...But Not Really...

Sometimes, food blogging can get really, really old.  You cook and cook and take photos and wonder why you're doing all this.  I started this blog because it was the easiest way to share recipes with those I knew.  It's still a great vessel for that cause, and many of you have inspired me with your own recipes.  Thanks!  Lately, I've been looking for motivation to cook.  Not just new and interesting foodstuffs, but cooking in general.  It was becoming rather dull, day in-day out, until I watched one of my favorite films.

It's Complicated.

If you haven't seen this film, make sure you do so - immediately!  Jane's kitchen alone will motivate you to get cooking, and if that doesn't thrill you, her bakery sure will!

Not only do I want Jane's (Meryl Streep) house but her bakery AND wardrobe!  This movie had me feeling good in no time flat and as a bonus, I knew what to make for dinner. Croque Monsieur.  Jane makes it for Adam (Steve Martin) in her lovely kitchen.  I like to think of Croque Monsieur as a cross between French Toast and Grilled Ham & Cheese. Aka the Ham & Cheese Toastie.  Simple and comforting.  

Let's chat about cheese:

I'd like to say that this is an affordable recipe, but for me, it was a tad pricey.  A good friend of mine suggested I use Emmental-Swiss, but my grocery store didn't have that.  I used Ina Garten's recipe for Croque Monsieur and bought Gruyere ($11) and a French cheese called Fol Epi ($10), as it is supposed to be similar to Emmental. I knew we would use up the remaining cheeses, but it's still not budget-friendly stuff.  Supply and demand, folks.

The only changes I made other than the cheeses were 1% milk and I bought a nice whole grain bread from my grocer.  It was sliced for me and I like the texture and weight of this bread.  It tastes perfect with cheese! Feel free to either stick to Ina's recipe or toy with it like I did.  The one thing I made sure I used was real BUTTER.  Don't skimp on this part, my friends.

When it comes to French cooking, use the real thing, s’il vous plaĆ®t.  

I won't be posting Ina's recipe since the link is listed above, but I will photograph the steps.  I also made a salad to go with this buttery, cheesy dish.  It is a simple tossed green salad with matchsticks of Granny Smith Apple, as well as Martha Stewart's recipe for Champagne Vinaigrette. Feel free to make the salad more elaborate.  Walnuts, grapes, cucumber - whatever you like.  I wanted the salad to be bright but not reduce the star of the show - the Croque Monsieur.  I served this with an icy cold Angry Orchard Cider.  Mmm...C'est si bon.

Green Granny Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Ina Garten's Croque Monsieur

Rinse apple slices before making them matchsticks, then when done cutting, squeeze with fresh lemon juice.
Now onto the good stuff...



I'm going to eat one of these beauties in the morning, with an egg on top...ah...the decadence....