So yummy and easy to prepare and perfect for a quick lunch or to take on a picnic, croque-monsieur is an old-time French classic. Difficult to say how they came up with the name—which literally means: 'a bite, sir!'—we do know that it was first served in Paris, on the prestigious Boulevard des Capucines—the same Boulevard that was honoured with the Lumière brothers' first cinematographic presentation to an audience.
The traditional Parisian croque-monsieur is made with two slices of white bread, filled with a generous portion of ham and béchamel sauce, and topped with a whole lot of Gruyère cheese gratins.
Our yummy idea today is to refresh the concept with a modern and healthy twist, by replacing the béchamel with a generous spread of asparagus sauce, then upgrade the ham with prosciutto, add a few slices of tomatoes, and for the gratin, let's go for a nice Canadian cheddar cheese to crown our bread, which, of course, will be whole wheat or multigrain. What do you think of that? Spectacular, healthy, and delicious!
Have fun and be creative with your croque-monsieur. For example, you can use pesto sauce with some turkey and sliced tomatoes, topped with a good Parmesan cheese! Or sauce rosee, sliced sausage, arugula, and asiago for the gratin. The possibilities are endless.
Ingredients for the asparagus pesto & prosciutto croque-monsieur (4 people):
8 slices of whole wheat or multigrain bread
1 bunch of asparagus
2 tablespoons of olive oil
The zest of ½ a lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper
8 slices of prosciutto
1 sliced tomato
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
Cook the asparagus in boiling water for about 2 minutes, then soak in cold water to prevent them from losing their beautiful green colour.
Cut them in pieces and put them in a food processor with the olive oil, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Process until it turns into a pesto-like paste.
Generously spread your asparagus pesto on a piece of toasted bread, add the prosciutto and tomato slices, and another piece of toasted bread.
Cover with the cheddar cheese and put it to broil until nice and gloden, about 5 minutes.
I was in Orlando last weekend with my family, enjoying the fabulous legacy of Walt Disney and the amazing rides at Universal. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey in itself was really worth the trip! The ride is exciting and extremely sophisticated in terms of technology! Wow. Even better than The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man which is way up there.
Unfortunately, my level of excitement came down when it came time to eat. Let’s be honest, the rides and entertainment are great but the food is really terrible! Oh, they did introduce bleached carrots as a substitute for French fries in some fast food counters. And yes, the stands offer apples, bananas, and fruit salads now. But when comes time for a real meal—besides Emeril’s which is quite expensive—there are not many choices. But I was not going to let that spoil my fun and the foodie and health conscious mummy that I am did find a few great places to eat! Note that there are great, expensive restaurants and steak houses in Orlando but I was looking for family-friendly and good prices for quality value and this is what I found in three days:
Joe’s Crab Shack turned out to be my favourite—lively, casual and friendly, as a shack should be, they serve three different types of fresh crab, prepared in six different ways, with clams, shrimps and sausage. All the bucket dinners are served with new potatoes and corn on the cob, and their clam chowder is also excellent. I had snow crab, my favourite.
I found Italian food at its best at Bravo! The setting is upscale and cozy and the marinara sauce is perfectly fresh and home style—the meatballs are almost as good as mine :) The pizza is also a good indication of the quality of a place, if they are perfectly thin and crispy, you know it's the real thing! Lots of families and great prices for the quality value.
Ohana in Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a nice exotic family restaurant where they serve an all-you-can-eat dinner including stir-fried vegetables, fried dumplings, lo mein noodles and a salad starter, plus they come to your table with long skewers of meat grilled on an large oak wood fire pit. The monorail stops at the door on the way from Magic Kingdom. You do have to make a reservation, seems like the place is always packed!
Have you been to Orlando? I would love to know YOUR favourite places to eat with the family!
This is one of my all-time favourites. If you translate tiramisu into English, it literally means 'pull me up.' Yes! Even the name turns me on—let alone the ingredients. Here is the recipe in 7 easy steps.
Mix together 5 egg yolks with ½ cup of icing sugar.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg white and beat for about 7 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
Add 500g (2 cups) of mascarpone cheese to the egg yolk and sugar mixture, and blend until smooth.
Then, gently incorporate the mixture into your egg whites.
Cover the bottom of your favourite oven dish with lady finger cookies.
Make an espresso and mix with 1 oz of rum (optional), then pour half of the cup onto the cookies and cover with half of your mascarpone mixture.
Add another layer of cookies, wet with the remaining espresso, and cover with the other half of the mascarpone mixture.
Sprinkle with some cocoa powder and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
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