Croques Monsieurs

by Jenn on July 24, 2010

in Gluten Free,Meats,Photography

Bonjour de Paris!

PAG_0665paris PAG_0595paris

So, in case you haven’t talked to me in a while, I recently found a new love in life.  It’s called Paris, and is this city in France.   And what perfect timing, for this month’s GAHIGF theme is all about French cuisine!  We decided to go to Paris one weekend because one of my blogging friends, Lauren of Celiac Teen, was on holiday with her family, and so our little trip was also a great way to finally meet in person!  My husband and I had so much fun hanging out for the day, and we got to see a lot of the beautiful sights around the city.  Ha maybe too much for a day, but it was perfect.


I can’t possibly just cut this down to a couple pictures, so you are going to have to come along for the ride that was our amazing day in Paris!  Here are some adventures to maybe the three most iconic features of the city – to see the rest of the trip I’ve got a set in my flickr devoted to France.

1. The Louvre.  We stayed by the Louvre, and visited at night, early morning, during the day, and then breakfast the next day.  I just love the beauty and grandeur of this palace, I think more than the museum exhibits!  As we walked around the grounds and inside, I just imagined what it would have been like to actually live here when it was a functioning home…and then realized that I cannot even fathom that type of wealth.  I wonder if you could talk to these walls what they would say…

Louvre, Paris Louvre, Paris

And in case you do go to see such exhibits as the Mona Lisa or Venus de Milo, I challenge you to find the other exciting exhibit – the insane crowd of people doing everything they can to get a picture of the famous art!  Below is a great reason why we should come back in say, January instead of July:


But on a Sunday morning, it’s quite pleasant to sit outside, park yourself on a bench, and enjoy a crèpe filled with 4 different kinds of cheese and get to call it breakfast :)

2. Notre Dame.  I would never have fully appreciated the absolute architectural masterpiece that this is without reading Ken Follet’s novels, Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.  Because of those two books, besides just being great novels, I know more about the technology, skills, and challenges of medieval cathedral building that I ever thought possible.  I walked in, and just stood in awe, staring around me like a wide-eyed child who looked up and noticed the stars for the first time.

Notre Dame, Paris PAG_0542_0_1_tonemapped2

Just after the morning mass, the cathedral still feels like a church rather than a historic monument.  Very few people, all is silent, and there are just no words to describe the glowing light pouring through the stained glass.  For being such a large stone building, there is so much light, bouncing around all the walls and the bricks, especially on the ceiling.


3. Tour Eiffel.  No trip to Paris is complete without a trip to the Tour Eiffel.  It’s quite impressive standing right underneath it, as it literally does tower over the rest of the city and is just about visible from anywhere.  I did not get a chance to climb up yet, but next time!

PAG_0386_5_4_3_2_tonemapped2 PAG_0346_47_45_48_51_50_49_tonemapped2

Ok, so I know you didn’t really come to this post to see pictures of Paris, you came for some food!  We all had lunch together at this bistro not far from the Tour Eiffel, and some of us glutenicious folk ordered a very traditional French plat, the croque monsieur (i.e. fried ham & cheese sandwich).  I thought it’d be quite fitting for this month’s gluten free theme, don’t you? :)

I’ll tell you a secret though.  I cheated.  I used pre-made gluten free baguettes.  And know what? They were perfect.  Parfait!  Ryan couldn’t order one of these last weekend, but he could enjoy one today thanks to this great natural foods store that we found which carries all sorts of great gluten free products and baking ingredients!  The monsieur refers to the traditional sandwich I mentioned above, and an alternative madame includes an egg and some béchemel.  On a side note, I love how people use messieurs-dames to address a group.  It’s really quite efficient.  Rather than saying “Good evening sir, and good evening madam,” you can instead say “Good evening sirs-madams.”  Just as proper, and très French.  Some things about the French language are just genius that way.  Others, less so.  For example, ventilateur seems like an awful lot of syllables to spit out, when in English the one syllable “fan” will suffice.

These croques monsieurs et croques madames are super easy.  Super customizable.  Super French. Ils étaient parfait pour le weekend après notre voyage à Paris!

Also submitted to: Gluten Free Wednesdays

Croque Monsieur


Ingredients (4 open-face sandwiches):
2 mini GF baguettes, sliced in half longways
2 tbs. butter, softened
2 tbs. dijon mustard
4 oz. thinly sliced cured ham
4 oz. gruyère cheese, grated
fresh thyme and tarragon
ground black pepper
For croque madame:
4 fried eggs, sunny-side up
4 tbs. béchemel sauce

1. Turn on broiler in your oven.  Butter each baguette half and broil until toasted to your liking (just a couple minutes max.).  Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Spread mustard on each bread half, then place ham and then grated cheese on top.  Add herbs and pepper, and broil again until cheese is melted and just browning.  Enjoy!
3. For croque madame, top a fried egg onto each croque monsieur sandwich, and garnish with the béchemel.  Indulge!