All things French!


It comes as no secret to those who know me that I love all things French! So, today I am going to share three “French treats” that give me beaucoup de soul-joy!

This summer while visiting friends in France, I had a ham and cheese sandwich that I am still dreaming about! My friend Guinevere, the creator of Little Gourmand here in Nashville, helped me recreate this Parisian classic, le Croque Monsieur! I serve these up at my house for Sunday lunch with either a simple green salad or my creamy tomato soup! If you are feeling especially bold, top your sandwich with a fried egg and you’ve got the glory of a Croque Madame! With or without the béchamel, these refined ham and cheese sandwiches are quick and delicious!

Croque Monsieur

Ingredients:
 
For three sandwiches:
 
6 slices of thick country bread or sourdough. I highly recommend the sourdough from Dozen Bakery or the Pugliese from Village Bakery (fresh bread delivered every day at Le Sel) here in Nashville
12 slices ham (I buy at cheese counter at Whole Foods)
 
3.5 oz Gruyere or comté cheese (grated)
 
 
For the béchamel sauce:
 
3/4 cup or 7 oz. grass-fed butter 
4 tsp. flour
1 cup milk
salt and ground nutmeg

 
 
Directions:

Melt butter in a small sauce pan on low heat. Add your flour, pinch of salt and nutmeg and remove from heat and whisk. Return to heat and gradually pour in your milk, whisking until it thickens. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool. To assemble sandwiches, spread some of the béchamel on the bread slices, top with ham and shredded cheese. Spread the rest of the béchamel on the top of sandwiches and then sprinkle remaining cheese. Place the Croque Monsieurs on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Top with a fried egg and savor a Croque Madame. Bon Appetit!

 
Two weeks ago, I invited twenty adults and kids to the opening night of my French friend, Eric Summer’s, new blockbuster hit, Leap! Not only did he write, direct and produce this beautiful family movie, but I see gold statuettes twinkling in his future because the movie has a big “heart” message! The animated feature opens with two orphans who set off for Paris to realize their dreams. Felicie dreams of becoming a ballerina and dancing on the stage at the Palais Garnier (the home of Chagall’s masterpiece on the ceiling!). Victor dreams of becoming a famous inventor. He ends up apprenticing under Monsieur Eiffel during the construction of the Eiffel Tower. The movie is funny, clever, and the message is spot on for every age. I was reminded again that we are never to old to dream! Chasing a dream imbues our lives with a sense of adventure, purpose and joy. I believe God especially loves the dreamers, a chip off the old block you might say! As important as the dream is the courage to take the leap and then keep taking the leap despite the naysayers, the inevitable setbacks and apparent dead ends. That’s what makes for a great story! Go enjoy this movie with your family!

When I lived in Paris a highlight was walking around the corner to my local boulangerie for the perfect buttery croissant and cafe au lait! Fast forward fifteen years later and I’m re-living my French dreams on Saturday mornings at Little Gourmand, “Paris in the center of Green Hills!” Not only do I adore Guinevere, the owner, but her homemade croissants and pain au chocolate’s will have you saying many ooh la la la’s! The croissants are made from French dough and are available every Saturday morning at 9am! As only the French know how to do, she stacks them perfectly in a rattan basket at the front door for you to grab one, two… or eight if you are a Mason! Take her up on the offer for an expresso, cafe au lait or Kusmi Detox tea and your day is set!

 

I’m a huge believer that beautiful life is found in the small joys! Happy week to you! Maybe we’ll bump into each other next Saturday morning over a croissant and a cup of tea!
 
Live in Hope,
Farrell
2 Comments
  • Ramsey Corn

    October 2, 2017 at 1:44 pm Reply

    Truly the best ham & cheese sandwich in the world!!!

  • Diane Tucker

    October 2, 2017 at 5:11 pm Reply

    Have always loved a simple, good bechamel sauce.
    hugs,
    di

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