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Posts tagged ‘French’

Croque Monsieur

 Ah, Croque Monsieur. I cannot make you the way most recipes call for you to be made since the mister doesn’t eat pork. So, I opted to make a version with smoked turkey instead of ham. I also added some sauteed Vidalia onions…and voila…the perfect, quick and easy and filling dinner.  And to make ourselves feel even more French we ate this sandwich with a fork and knife…because the French would never, ever eat with their hands. 😉


Ham-Free Croque Monsieur

(adapted from Ina Garten’s Recipe)



  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 of a Vidalia onion,thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces sliced smoked turkey breast


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small saucepan and add the flour all at once, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Slowly pour the hot milk into the butter–flour mixture and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce is thickened. Off the heat add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup grated Gruyere, and the Parmesan and set aside.
  3. To toast the bread, place the slices on 2 baking sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and bake for another 2 minutes, until toasted.
  4. Saute Vidallia onion in butter or oil until it just starts to brown.
  5. Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice or 2 of turkey to each, and sprinkle with half the remaining Gruyere. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Slather the tops with the cheese sauce, sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere, and bake the sandwiches for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and lightly browned.
  6. Serve hot.

This recipe was selected by Kathy of All Food Considered.


Gaslight Brasserie

Gaslight Brasserie
560 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118


Gaslight Brasserie is located on Harrison Ave in the far reaches of the South End. The restaurant is located in a space that is slightly below street level in the same building that houses an outpost of the Boston Sports Club.  Once inside you’ll find the air abuzz with conversation and a crowd gathered around the long zinc bar. The walls are covered with black and white subway tiles.  All of this helps lend to the cozy yet elegant atmosphere.


Once we ordered our meal, they brought out a freshly baked mini-baguette. The bread was fresh and delicious. We started off our meal with the steak tartar ($9.95), which came topped with a fried egg and aioli.  The steak was perfectly seasoned and we loved the touch of the fried egg on top.


For my entree, I order the sauteed skate ($18.75)  with haricot verts and caper beurre noisette. The skate was lightly crispy on the outside and had a perfectly flakey texture. I know, skate wing is not the most “friend of the planet and animal” thing  to order, but I did just this once and am glad that I did. Now that I have skate-eating out of my system, I can go back to being “green”.


 Mr. Mango opted for the bar steak with caramelized shallots, mustard cream sauce, and frites. ($19.25). This skirt steak was perfectly cooked and served with a pile of golden frites.  barsteak

For the dessert course, we ordered the molten chocolate cake and the citron tart (6.95 each).  The tart had a bright citrus flavor and a buttery shortbread crust.  The molten chocolate cake revealed an inner layer of gooey chocolate as expected, and while it was good it was not the best molten chocolate cake we’ve ever had.



During dinner hours there is free parking in the lot immediately adjacent to Gaslight, which is a rare find for dining out in the city. We will definitely be back! I  want to try their brunch someday soon as well.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 mangoes

Gaslight on Urbanspoon

Coq au Vin

Snowy December Sundays are the perfect days for stews and their ilk, so I was glad that Bethany from this little piggy went to market selected Ina Garten’s coq au vin recipe for one of this month’s Barefoot Bloggers selections.


I’ve made coq au vin one or two times before.  Traditional coq au vin (and Ina’s recipe) contains bacon…since we don’t eat bacon, I simply opted not to include it.  The end result still tasted good.  I wish I had some crusty French bread to sop up the sauce.

Coq Au Vin: the bacon-free edition (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)


  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil

  • 1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
  • 1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy
  • 1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 10 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
  • 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
  2.  Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven.  
  3. Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to a plate and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.
  4. Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.
  5. Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.


Eats: Sel de la Terre- Natick

Sel De La Terre
1245 Worcester St.
Natick, MA 01760



I finally made it out to the new Natick Mall extension, The Natick Collection. The Natick Collection is an upscale shopping mall anchored by Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus. It connects in to the Natick Mall across from Lord & Taylor. The Natick Collection has several dining options one of which is a branch of the Boston restaurant Sel de la Terre.

We decided to lunch at Sel de la Terre, which is located between Nordstroms and Neimans. There was no wait for a table for lunch so we were seated immediately. The space is beautiful. The bar area is bright and sunny with lots of windows. The main dining room is a little darker but is still lovely. The walls are painted a creamy white and there are leather banquettes and booths and blue-stripe upholstered chairs. This is definitely a more upscale dining option than California Pizza Kitchen or Friendly’s in the main mall. For one, there were no screaming kids. 😉

One thing I’ve always loved about Sel de la Terre in Boston is their bread. They bake several varieties and even sell it in their Boulangerie area.  The new Natick location is no different. Our waiter brought us a basket with 4 varieties of bread in it, including an olive bread, a honey brown bread, and one dotted with dried fruit. All were delicious, but the olive bread is still my favorite.

Sel de la Terr bills themselves as serving rustic country food of Provence and southern France.  Their lunch menuconsisted of several types of sandwiches, salads, hot entrees, and starters. They also have a 3 course prix fixe lunch for $21. The 3-courses for the prix fixe change daily.

I ordered the Duck confit on multigrain with sautéed cabbage, carrots, black currant chutney and curry aïoli ($8.95). The sandwich was very flavorful and different than any sandwich I have had recently. The sandwich was served with a mound of homemade potato chips. The chips were really good and I got asked by the mister if I know how to make them.

He ordered the Grilled Angus burger with caramelized onions, Cabot cheddar, pepper remoulade and pommes frites ($11.95). He got it done medium well, which I think is where he made his mistake…because he later noted that his burger was a little too dry for his liking. The burger was served with a generous stack of pomme frites.

I give our lunch experience at Sel de La Terre Natick 3.5-4 out of 5 mangoes.

Sel de la Terre just opened a new location on Boylston St. in Boston by the Prudential Center.
Sel de la Terre on Urbanspoon

Eats: BanQ


1375 Washington Street Boston, MA 02118



We decided to go out for a celebratory dinner to celebrate my recent raise and his new car. (errrrm toy, its really HIS new toy… he says that I can drive it sometimes, but we’ll see how often that happens!). I selected BanQ.  Its currenlty on the Hot Spots list at BanQ in a former Penny Savings Bank space in the South End.  It has a vibe quite unlike other places in Boston…a casual, exotic, modern elegance.  The front portion of the restaurant is the bar area with several pub eight tables and cafe doors that open onto Washington Street. The dining room is in the back and has high-walled booths lining 2 of the walls and bamboo tables and low-backed chairs throughout the rest of the space. There is a floor to ceiling curtain at the back of the room creating a more private dining space for special events. The ceiling of the entire restaurant is covered in layers of curved birch panels that are oddly remniscent of those wooden dinosaur skeletons that they sell in fancy toy stores.

BanQ serves French food with an Asian twist. The menu features appitizers, and entrees divided into two areas: Cosmopolitan Taste and Spice Menu.  We ordered our meal and then were were brought some complimentary mini naans with a sun-dried tomato raita. These just might be enough to get me to come back and eat a meal or 2 at the bar.

Mini naans with dipping raita