Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Complicated

How many times have we heard that in our lives? How many times have we said that in our lives?

There are days that "it" is complicated. "It" should be, if "it" wasn't, where is the challenge? Where is the hope? Where is the freedom? I think sometimes we tend to use "it's complicated" as a way to not have to talk about a situation. There is nothing wrong with saying I just do not want to discuss it. But people feel the need to explain. There are truly things that ARE complicated. And you just can not explain "it". If we are honest, mostly it is because we simply do not know. One of my favorite movies (for many reasons), is "It's Complicated". I love Meryl Streep. I have always loved her! From "perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the earth was made round so that we could not see too far down the road" (from Out of Africa) to "we are the choices we have made" (from Bridges of Madison County) . She is one actress that can play just about any role, she has made me laugh, cry, love and hate. She especially made me do some research after watching "It's Complicated". As most of my friends know, I love to cook. It is a gift from God. There is no doubt. It is something I am especially good at, it is something I enjoy. It is almost therapy for me. Something I enjoy so much, all of the problems of the world melt away. Well, at least for a little while. Sometimes cooking, baking and entertaining is complicated but it is so joyful to me that I forget that. I know many ladies who hate (yes hate) to cook, they want nothing to do with the kitchen. From what I understand that describes is the previous owner's wife (they had our home built). While most things in the house are HUGE (bedrooms, living room, patio (we southerners call it a porch), even the bathrooms are BIG. But the kitchen, the place I spend the most of my time, is not so big because cooking was not a priority to her. Was she not thinking about the next owner, hello here I am, I want my big kitchen. Don't get me wrong, it is larger than most. But I do not have enough room for supplies or even when I am making hundreds of scones or dream drops, I find every available corner. Our next house, will have a HUGE kitchen. I want (as I stomp my feet) double wall ovens, a walk in pantry, a huge island and cabinets that go to the ceiling. I am not asking too much, right? 
Ok back to the movie, there is a scene where Jane (Meryl Streep) is in her kitchen cooking for Steve Martin's character, Adam. She brings this pan out of the oven, and says something to the effect that it was a dish that she made when studying in Europe. I had no idea what it was, it looked yummy. So off to the internet. After not too long, I found it!! Yes I did. Not only did I find it, I made it. And it was so very good. Croque Monsieur!!! Meaning, "to crunch", "mister". It started almost as a poor man's sandwich. I am not sure how poor people are in France, but gruyere cheese in America is a bit pricey. After some tweaking, I think I came up with a pretty darn good rendition. Beware, let it sit just a little after coming out of the oven, as we loved the first batch I ever made so much that everyone wanted more,  as soon as the second batch came out, we bit into them and all of us burned the roof of our mouths. It was worth it!!! This is a oh so yummy recipe.
Blessings for a wonderful 4th of July, hug the love of your lives every chance you get, and live every day like "It's Complicated"!!!!
Croque Monsieur
Meaning "to crunch, mister"
This is to be eaten held by the sides. Be careful not to burn the roof of your mouth after coming out of the broiler!

8 slices of good quality bread (sour dough, italian) I like long slices
enough ham to be generous
1/2 pound Gruyere Cheese (Sams has a great price!)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard plus extra for spreading
1 tablespoon real butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup room temp milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt
Shred Gruyere Cheese.
Shred Cheese
On low heat melt butter, add flour and mix thoroughly and allow to cook for about a minute. Wisk in milk, 1 tsp dijon mustard, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook until thickened. Add 1/2 of the gruyere cheese and all of the parmesan cheese.
mix "sauce"

Turn burner to lowest setting, stirring occasionally while preparing the sandwiches.
Toast bread slightly, if the bread is long, put one end in toaster and turn to toast fully. Spread dijon mustard on 4 of the slices, arrange ham and some of the gruyere cheese on top (evenly divide cheese for 4 sandwiches).
getting ready for melting
put in oven of appx 350* until melted (should only take a couple of minutes. Take out of oven and put the setting on broil. Place reserved slices on top of melted cheese, spread cheese mixture on top of sandwich (kind of pile it on so that it can get bubbly). Place back in oven to broil, watch closely as not to burn.
keep an eye on them not to burn
When it starts to bubble, take it out, cut in have and ENJOY!!
Diane's Croque Monsieur Recipe Printable: Diane's Croque Monsieur

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