Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's a matter of age...

Doesn't that say it all?  I could just post that photo and say nothing at all, but I rarely pass up a chance to express my opinion or thoughts.  One of my 8th grade girlies, Mlle Arles, found it and emailed it to me.  She knows me pretty well, n'est-ce pas?  After spending two years in my French class (well, only 1 1/2 due to the sabbatical) and 12 days traveling together last month, I suppose she should.  I had a conversation with some of the girlies this past week about how they have so much to look forward to in life.  Never believe anyone who says high school will be the best years of your life.  You just do not want to peak in 8th grade or 12th grade or even as a senior in college, for goodness sake.  I am 51 years old, quickly approaching 52 and I do not think I have peaked yet.  I hope not-- I still have so much to do and see.  Lots of music to listen to, books to read, blogs to write (and maybe a book one of these days?), places to visit (I still want to visit every département of France and every little village in Provence), yummy food to eat, new wines to try, new friends to find...  The list goes on and on. 
Revenons à nos fromages...
Let's get back to our cheeses since that's the way we started.  Bring on the photos--
The un-ex had a cheese danish at the Durham Farmers' Market from Angels Nest Bakery.  (I had a to-die-for cinnamon bun...)
This is the BFF's favorite cheese.  She is addicted and will not be seeking treatment.  It is Bloomin Lunitas from Hillsborough Cheese Co.  She gets her fix at the Wine Authorities.  She shares once in a while.
I bought some pimiento cheese at Foster's Market last week.  Très bon!
This is my favorite cheese at Wine Authorities, Bûcheron.  The bread is from Guglhupf Bakery in Durham.
This is the cheese plate we served at The Sabbatical Chef dinner for the Durham Academy Auction.
Now, off to France we go...
I took this photo in the Paris métro-- cheese from Casino supermarket.
These lovely cheeses were for sale at the Boulevard Raspail Sunday morning organic market.  Perfect for a pique-nique...
 That is quite a knife, monsieurFaites attention, s'il vous plaît.  But I guess it takes a big knife to cut through that block of cheese...
 (photo by Catherine Yang)
I've stressed the importance of photographing one's food to my students.  One of them got this lovely picture of her salade de chèvre chaud before diving into it!  Bravo, ma petite!
Another one got this photo of une pizza au fromage at some point during our March trip.  Miam, miam.
A croque monsieur would not be a croque monsieur without the melted gruyère or emmental on top, now would it? (It becomes a croque madame if you add a fried egg to the top!)
More fromage for sale at the market-- comté this time.
Here we have brébis, sheep's milk cheese.
The whole tome would be too hard to fit into my suitcase, I guess...
One of my all-time favorites... brie de Meaux.  I eat beaucoup of this cheese whenever I go to France.  There's a little cheese shop on Rue Cler in Paris with the absolute best.
I ate this soupe à l'oignon at a café in Montmartre while watching my students get their portraits drawn at Place du Tertre.  It was a very chilly, windy day and this soup hit the spot.
Oui, another salad with fromage on top.  This was at at La Mule Blanche in Arles.  I love this restaurant.
Back home again with my caramelized onion and goat cheese tart.  Perfect for a warm spring/summer evening paired with a rosé from Provence. 
I have many more photos of cheese, but I'll stop here for now!

My recipe for today comes from the Spring 2010 edition of  Fifteen501 magazine and Chef Tara Davis.

Croque Monsieur
(4 sandwiches)

For the Béchamel:
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 c. milk
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the Croque Monsieur:
8 slices rustic French boule or Italian bread
1/2 lb. Black Forest ham
1 lb. gruyère, grated (Swiss, emmental or a favorite cheese can be used as well)
4 tsp. Dijon mustard

To make the béchamel, melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat.  Once butter is melted, whisk in flour.  Cook for about 2 minutes until mixture smells slightly nutty and color is a pale blond.  Add nutmeg.  Gradually and constantly whisk in milk, making sure that no lumps form.  Season with salt and pepper.  Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, approximately 10 minutes.

On a clean surface, place four slices of bread in a row.  Spread each slice with about a teaspoon of mustard.  Place a few slices of ham on each and top with half of shredded gruyère.  Top with remaining slices of bread.  Spread the top of each sandwich with béchamel, then sprinkle each with remaining cheese.  On a lightly greased cookie sheet, broil sandwiches for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbling.

Bon appétit, le fromage!


14cyang (AKA ncacswimmer or "Cath") said...

Madame E, you used my picture of my salad! :) Too bad I didn't really like it...

The Sabbatical Chef said...

At least you tried it! Try it again when you are older and see if you like it.