Sunday, January 31, 2010

A French Feast!


I went to the movies last week with my roommates and we saw the movie It's Complicated. Not only was it funny, but Meryl Streep's character made AMAZING looking food (in particular, Croque Monsieur) and it inspired me to make French food. Croque Monsieur is a crunchy, french, sort of grilled cheese style sandwich. But in the movie it looked so much more interesting than just a plain old sandwich, so I searched until I found exactly what I was looking for. It took one glance at the cheese covered delight for me to decide that it was imperative that I make it, and make it as soon as
possible. However, after looking at the traditional recipes online I decided to tweek it and make it my own, especially because the recipe called for ham and I strongly dislike ham. Rather than using ham I used prosciutto, and rather than the traditional Gruyere, I decided to substitute mozzarella and fontina cheese instead. It was a hit...well, you can't really go wrong with bread that's covered in cheese. I served it atop a bed of arugula, drizzled in olive oil. YUM. As an appetizer I made zucchini fritters, or beignets de courgette, but I didn't use zucchini blossoms. And for dessert we had chocolate brownie pudding with vanilla ice cream on top; I didn't go "french" but it was amazing nonetheless. So
here are the three recipes!

Beignets de Courgette

2 Zucchini
2 eggs
3 cloves chopped garlic
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
oil for frying

Shred/grate the zucchini and put in a mixing bowl. Mix in the eggs, garlic, flour, salt, pepper (it will be a bit runny). Heat about a 1/2 inch of oil in a skillet and drop the mixture in by spoonfuls. Cook until browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Remove and set onto a paper towel, then sprinkle with a bit more salt!

Croque Monsieur


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 2 cups grated Fontina
  • 2 cups mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 large french bread loaf, sliced in pieces about 1/2 in. thick
  • Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1 package of prosciutto


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a
wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the
sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1 cup fontina, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and the 1/4 cup Parmesan and set aside.
To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.

Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of prosciutto to each, and
sprinkle with half the remainin
g cheeses. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining cheeses, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned.
Serve hot.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten's recipe.

Chocolate Brownie Pudding, Ina Garten


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (I used vanilla extract instead)
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.
Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream

We finished off the night with delicious wine. Success!

1 comment:

  1. Breanna! I love your blog!!! I recently saw It's Complicated also and HAD to make the lavender ice cream; SO good! I can't wait to try out some of your recipes. I love that you're using your photography skills to highlight your cooking presentation skills :)


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