ENTERTAINING: ‘Tis the Season, Part 2

EntertainingsliderTime Out

Monte Cristo Sandwich ♦ Cream Filled Strawberries

“´Tis the Season” for seeing old friends, embracing family, remembering loved ones of days gone by,
sharing family traditions and stories;  the season of giving – not only to our loved ones
but also to those who are not as fortunate or are alone and need
a friendly phone call or invitation. . .

 

By Mary Canovas

 

Monte Cristo Sandwich – Sweet or Savory

The Monte Cristo sandwich is a famous American sandwich based on the great French favorite – the Croque Monsieur. However, unlike the Croque Monsieur, you can make it in 5 minutes and it doesn´t require béchamel sauce.  It is a great favorite for the entire family perhaps because it can be served either savory or sweet. Basically it’s a fried sandwich with cheese and ham, or turkey. The trick for its dual personality comes when it´s served.  

Ingredients for 2:
• 6 slices of white bread
• 4 slices of turkey or ham or both
• 4 slices of Gouda, Swiss or Havarti cheese etc. – if you use Havarti or a similar soft cheese, also use a slice of harder cheese in combinat
• 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 2 teaspoons soft mustard
• 3 eggs
• 1/4 cup – 50 ml milk
• Salt, pepper
• For frying: 2 – parts butter for 1 part oil without flavor no oliv
• Optional:
* For sweet: Confectioner´s Sugar and Favorite Marmalade: raspberry, strawberry etc.
* For Savory: Gherkins, potato chips

Directions:
• Use 3 slices of bread for each sandwich.
• Mix mayonnaise and mustard until smooth.
• Spread a thin layer of the mayonnaise mix on a slice. Cover this first with a slice of cheese followed by a slice of ham taking care your cold cuts don´t overlap the slice.
• On the second slice of bread, spread a little more of the mayonnaise mixture and cover the first layer with mayonnaise up. Lay the ham or turkey slices first and then the cheese. The order of layers is very important because we then make cure the cheese to melt properly and seal the sandwich together.
• Top the sandwich the last slice. Press down on the entire sandwich and wrap it with plastic wrap.
• Place in the fridge 15 minutes.
• In a deep bow, beat eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper to taste.
• In a frying pan heat butter and oil over medium heat.
• Quickly submerge each sandwich gently in the beaten egg mixture making sure it is fully coated.
• Place the sandwiches in the pan on medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until each side is  golden and the cheese inside has melted.
• Place sandwiches on a paper towel a couple of minutes to remove excess oil.
Serve immediately.

  • Monte Cristo Sweet: This is the classic. Serve sprinkled with icing sugar and with a little jam – this is what makes it so different with a mix of sweet and savory flavors.
  • Monte Cristo Savory: Serve it as it is for an equally classic sandwich without sweets. Accompany with potato chips and a pickle.

 

Cream Filled Strawberries

Ingredients:
• 8 large strawberries
• Choose strawberries that can stand up on a plate. If you don´t have any, cut off the bottom leaves and cut the bottom straight.
• From the top, cut an X in each strawberry. Start at the top and cut almost all the way down (be careful not to get all the way down because it would open too much and the “petals” could fall.)
• With your fingertips gently open each strawberry to make “petals.”
• Put them open gently.

Cream Filling
• 1/3 cup (80 ml) cold cream cheese (Philadelphia cheese-type)
• 1/3 cup (80 ml) cold heavy cream
• 2 -3 tablespoons sugar or to taste• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
• Beat the cream cheese, cream or milk cream, sugar and extract of vanilla until peaks form.
• Pour the cream in a pastry bag with a large star tip.
• Starting at the bottom, insert the cream into the strawberry until you reach the top.
• If you don´t have the pastry bag, you can put the cream in a plastic Zip-Lock bag and cut the tip off. You can also use a spoon to fill the strawberries. They won´t look the same but the taste will still be great. .
• Prepare shortly before serving and keep in fridge covered until serving time.