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A New Vegan Twist to the French Sandwich Croque Monsieur

Bonjour everyone! Guess “where” we are this week…no it’s not Montreal, it’s France. We decided to cook meals from this country while strolling by our cute little French cafe, Nicole’s, just around the corner from our place. Every time you’re there, you’re surrounded by French music, French food, and the French-speaking owners. I love feeling like I’m in another country.

Tonight dinner was vegan Croque Monsieur with Dijon potatoes (recipe) as a side dish. The Croque Monsieur was a little more complex than I would have liked – basically, it’s a French ham sandwich that takes two and a half hours to make. Of course, in the end it turned out pretty good. This dish is typically made with ham and lots of cheese, such as Gruyere cheese made from goat’s milk, so I found a vegan version of it.

(I also had a hard time pronouncing Gruyere, so I looked it up to see how the French pronounce it. Check it out!)

Here is what we used for the sandwiches (from Barefoot Contessa’s recipe):

-Yves veggie Bologna (I couldn’t find the veggie ham, but when it’s fake cold cuts it all taste the same)
-2 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter
-2 cups of hot rice milk
-1 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/2 teaspoon of freshly black pepper
-One pinch cinnamon (I used a little bit more, on accident)
-Homemade Gruyere cheese (see cheese recipe below)
-1/2 cup of vegan Parmesan
-Dijon mustard
-Harvest wheat bread

The recipe calls for a pinch of nutmeg but we used cinnamon instead. I’m not sure if there really is a difference. I’m still learning spices and their different tastes in recipes.

Gruyere cheese recipe came from this website.

Here is what we used:

-1 cup water
-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons tahini
-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
-2 tablespoons quick oats
-4 teaspoons flour
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt

The recipe calls for onion powder, which I left out because I didn’t have any, and I replaced the cornstarch for flour for the same reason.

The sandwich recipe was straight forward but the whisking/thickening of the hot milk, butter, and flour took a while. When it finally got thicker I took it off the heat and added the salt, pepper, and Parmesan. While it was cooling down on the stove, I made the Guyere cheese (quick and easy, put the ingredients in a food processor) and then added to the pot on the stove.

I put the bread in the oven for five minutes. When that got toasted, I added the some Dijon mustard on one side of the bread, layered it with three slices of veggie ham, poured some sauce over the meat. After the sandwich was closed, I put some more sauce on top and covered the entire sandwich. Stuck in the broiler for three minutes until it was getting a little brown and bubbly. It really looked like the real thing!

The side dish, Dijon Potatoes, were fast to make. I didn’t really know what to expect but the when the mustard starting cooking on the potatoes in the oven it looked like the skin of the red potatoes had begun to blister.

We used exactly what the recipe called for:

-1/3 cup Dijon mustard
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 clove garlic (it didn’t say mince, but I assume that’s what I was supposed to do)
-1 teaspoon lemon pepper (we love lemon pepper)
– 6 medium red potatoes, chunked

Combine all ingredients except for potatoes.

Place the potatoes in a greased pan and toss with the mixture.

Bake at 425 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

I  forgot to cut the red potatoes in half, so they were plain inside when you bit into them. We realized that when Mike sensed something was missing while we were eating.

The Croque Monsieur was sliced in half diagonally and served with the Dijon potatoes and a side of arugula. As the French say, Bon Appetit!

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