And I Can Cook, Too

Thursday, April 06, 2006

March 27, 2006

What Happens in Washington, Stays in Washington

Once getting settled in at our hotel, my husband and I went on a date to a fabulous little French restaurant called Bistrot du Coin. After a brief conversation about how it was almost April anyway, we surrendered to a bottle of the house Cote du Rhone. Despite our jet lag we managed to thoroughly enjoy Roquefort Salad, Gruyere and Ham with Béchamel on Toast, Tournedos de Boeuf with Peppercorn Sauce, and melt-in-your-mouth Steak Tartar. I could say that we talked about the virtues of city vs. rural living, the excitement of being someplace vibrant and cutting edge, and the anticipation of finding the perfect new house. But we didn’t because our mouths were too full.

Gruyere with Ham and Béchamel on Toast, Kristin’s Way

For the Béchamel
2 tbsp. Butter, unsalted
2 tbsp. Flour
1 c. Milk
1 Onion, very small, studded with 2 Cloves
1 Bay Leaf
dash Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it is just below a boil. Do not allow to come to a boil. Remove from heat. In a second saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk, 3 or 4 minutes, until the flour is incorporated. Add the heated milk to the flour/butter mixture, whisking to avoid lumps. Add the onion and bay leaf. Simmer, careful not to bring to a boil, for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened. Pour through a strainer. Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste.

For the sandwich:
(Amounts here vary depending on how many sandwich you want)

Sandwich Bread, sliced ¾” thick, Toasted
Ham, high quality, preferably French, thinly sliced
Gruyere Cheese, grated

Pre-heat the broiler
Spread 1 – 2 tbsp. of the béchamel onto each slice of the toasted bread. Top with 2 slices of the ham. Top with the grated Gruyere until the ham is covered. Place under the broiler and heat until the cheese is bubbly and just turning brown. Serve hot.

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