Lesser News, and Croque Monsieur

Week in review: interviews, 1; rejections, 1.

Just found out today I've been rejected by Ivy #2, which is not entirely surprising. The first reason is that I hadn't heard from them yet (apparently, they had made decisions and someone was supposed to tell me a while ago but didn't), and the second is that they don't actually have the program I'm most interested in. I'm not entirely heartbroken but nonetheless, it kind of stinks being denied. One of the not-so-great things of studying psych is you can instantly recognize all your defense mechanisms, such as: I didn't want to go there because I hate the city anyway, and they're not as good as the other program, and besides everybody gets rejections from someplace. These things may be true, but they're not as comforting when you can categorize the thoughts. Darn you, Freud.
On the other hand . . .

Monday was super-exhausting: all-day on-campus interview with another school. A better fit than I’d previously anticipated, and a better program than I’d been giving them credit for. Not the greatest still perhaps, but not bad at all, local to boot which is a huge factor and I’d like to think I was mildly impressive to them. It was also reassuring to know the other applicants hadn’t heard back from some of their places yet either, and so it’s entirely possible my first choice has either not yet started or has sort of wait-listed me. I wrote to them this morning inquiring how that's going and am waiting nervously to hear back . . . and I should hear back from this one next week-ish.
As much as I really wanted to come back and crash Monday with take-out - I have had this undefeatable urge for French fries - I swung by for groceries on the way home and settled on making a really killer sandwich instead.

Croque monsieur, as far as I can understand, is just a really fancy way of saying ham and cheese. Granted, you can be all traditional, and batter the sandwich, or spread it with butter and then grill it, but when you get down to it you can slap the croque monsieur label on variations that have nothing of the sort. And let’s face it, it sounds a lot cooler. But simply ham and cheese wasn’t quite fascinating enough. A layer of garlic mayo (super-good) and roasted asparagus, however, do wonders for the sandwich. Kick your shoes off, relax, and dig in kind of food – just what you need after ten half-hour interviews in heels.

Makes one sandwich.

2 slices suitable panini bread: tuscan pane bread, foccacia, anything with a decent crust and crumb
3 Tbsp shredded gruyere cheese
3-4 oz Black Forest ham, thinly sliced (also great with roast beef)
about 7 or so thin spears oven-roasted asparagus (drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook at 425-450 F for about 7-8 minutes)
quick garlic mayonnaise

Preheat a panini press on high heat. Spread one side of each bread slice with garlic mayonnaise; season with pepper. On one slice of bread sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the gruyere. Lay the asparagus spears, alternating tips and ends, on top of the cheese. Fold and pile thin slices of the ham on top of the asparagus. Sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp cheese. Lay the second slice of bread, mayonnaise side down, on top of the sandwich.
Carefully transfer to heated panini press. Press and hold down on sandwich for about 45 seconds. Release. Keep lid closed to grill both sides for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until sandwich is toasted to your liking. Serve hot or warm.

I read in Joy of Cooking that to simulate the texture of fresh homemade mayonnaise, you can cheat and stir in crème fraiche or sour cream to lighten it. That tip led me to this.

½ c light mayonnaise
½ c light sour cream
6 cloves roasted garlic or to taste

Mix together the mayonnaise and sour cream. Using a blender or immersion/hand-held blender (works great!), blend in the roasted garlic until smooth or nearly smooth and well dispersed. Stir, taste, and repeat with more garlic as desired. Season with salt and pepper if you like. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. I wouldn't keep this for more than a few days.


Blogger Peabody said...

Croque Monsieur is something I try not to make at home...because I would eat them all the time.

7:14 AM  

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