About three weeks ago, on a Thursday night, I enjoyed a home-cooked meal with two of my lovely lady friends.
Kim, Elizabeth and I made another delicious meal to share together — our monthly dinners are back!
Kim volunteered to make the main dish, a croque montagnarde sandwich.
It’s an open face sandwich made with hearty bread, bechamel sauce, sliced ham, roasted potatoes and Gruyère cheese. It’s baked in the oven at a high temperature until the bread is crisped and the cheese bubbles.
Recipe with my own spin adapted from Martha Stewart Living, January 2011
Makes 6 sandwiches (with leftover bread)
2 T unsalted butter
2 T flour
1 1/4 c whole milk, or 2%
Trader Joe’s demi mache bread (sold as 1/2 loaf), sliced
6 slices ham (one slice on each or use more if prefer)
Trader Joe’s Gruyère cheddar cheese, sliced
1 russet potato
salt and pepper
To make bechamel sauce, melt butter in saucepan and wish in flour until mixed. Heat milk in another saucepan until warm. Add to butter mixture, as continue to whisk. Bring to a boil, making sure you continue to whisk, and cook about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.
Scrub potato, cut in half and bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until soft. Let cool. Slice potato and toss lightly in olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place slices of bread on baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Layer with a spread of bechamel sauce, ham, potatoes and cheese. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and browned.
Kim found the recipe for this dish and just knew she had to try it. They were incredibly delicious. In fact they were so good, that I prepared them for lunch just a week later at our 317 Ministries Making Space Retreat. They were a hit once again!
She’d first tried garlic soup while traveling abroad in Austria some years ago, and had been wanting to recreate it herself ever since. We all thought it’d be a perfect addition to the meal, so we encouraged her to try it.
It was incredibly delicious, very flavorful and creamy. It complimented the sandwiches quite nicely.
I should warn you though, you must be a garlic lover to enjoy this soup. She used at least ten cloves of garlic to create it. The taste of garlic lingered in my mouth for several hours after.
I was in charge of dessert.
I decided to make a homemade hot fudge sauce to enjoy on a sundae.
I too had seen a recipe that inspired me, and I knew that Kim is a big, big fan of hot fudge sundaes, so it seemed like the perfect treat to end our evening.
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
Combine heavy cream and corn syrup in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cook until bubbles barely break the surface. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted.
I purchased a pint of Haggen Dazs vanilla bean ice cream and salted Spanish peanuts for the sundaes. When it comes to ice cream, Haggen Dazs is my brand of choice. It’s worth every penny!
I wish we’d had homemade whipped cream and a cherry on top, but it’d been a long day. I wasn’t in the mood to whip anything more and I’d forgotten to get a jar of cherries at the store. I had to show myself some grace, “Next time Lindsay, next time.”
Each of us created our own sundae. The hot fudge was delicious. It’s super rich, a little goes a long way. I’d definitely make it again.
I just enjoy these dinners so much. They’re a place where I’m challenged to branch out and try new things, I get to be creative, we delight in delicious food and I’m blessed by extended time with good friends.
Thank you friends, so grateful!