Monthly Archives

February 2014

Croque Monsieur

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 Last night, my valentine and I enjoyed some gourmet grilled cheeses– croque monsieurs, to be specific.  While I originally made the mistake of calling them “croquet” monsieurs, a friend kindly corrected me (thank you, Katie, for sparing me from a lifetime of embarrassment and mockery).  This was a fun twist on a simple sandwich, and oh-so crunchy, gooey, and melt-in-your-mouthy.  We enjoyed our croques sliced diagonally (and positioned into hearts), with tomato soup, balsmic asparagus, and merlot.

I followed this recipe, but cut it in half used sourdough bread, and still had enough for two lunches today.  Dessert was fresh-sliced strawberries, some rawlos, and perhaps a swig of champagne.

Some fun facts about this dish from Wikipedia:

  • A croque-monsieur is a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. It originated in French cafés and bars as a quick snack. 
  • The name is based on the verb croquer (“to crunch”) and the word monsieur (“mister”). 
  • A croque-monsieur served with a fried egg or poached egg on top is known as a croque-madame. Many dictionaries attribute the name to the egg resembling an old fashioned woman’s hat.
p.s. For the rawlos, I used little soap molds (my mom used to make soap).  Yum.

Roast Kumara

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During my travels in New Zealand, I would frequently visit an indoor swimming facility.  A unique and extra cool thing about this adult playground was that it also had a cute little cafe attached to the pool area.  The cafe sold a beautiful salad that I soon fell in love with.  I began using this salad as a motivation to get my booty to the pool for a swim.

In New Zealand, sweet potatoes are called “kumara”.  Hence, this salad is known as “roast kumara”. When I returned to the states, I began to get roast kumara withdrawals, and have been occasionally re-creating this feast ever since.  I like to eat this warm, with a slice or two of bread, and maybe some avocado.

Because of the complex and simple carbohydrate mixture in the kumara, bell peppers, honey, chickpeas and bread (optional), this make a great pre- or post-workout meal.  Those chickpeas also provide some quality protein for muscle rebuilding post-workout. If you think that chickpeas are only for chicks, please see this Men’s Health article on the muscle-building powers of chickpeas!  Also, this salad is packed with micronutrients: vitamin C (bell peppers), vitamin A/beta carotene (sweet potatoes), and vitamin E (pine nuts, optional avocado, and olive oil), to name a few. This makes for good immune and energy boosting fuel.

Roast Kumara Salad

(print this recipe)

serves 2-3

2 medium sweet potatoes (kumara), chopped
1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)
1 whole bell pepper (any color…I like red or yellow)
2-3 T. chopped sun dried tomatoes
2-3 T. pine nuts
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
3 T chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 t cinnamon
1-2 t cumin
2 T honey
3 T olive oil
*optional additions: feta cheese, avocado, lemon juice, roasted carrots, roasted red onion, substitute basil for cilantro

Preheat oven to 350*F.  Coat chopped sweet potatoes in 1 T oil and 2 T honey.  Place sweet potato mixture, and whole bell pepper, on baking sheet in oven for 20 minutes.

Heat 2 T oil in medium pan on low heat.  Add diced garlic and heat to brown.  Stir in cinnamon, cumin, sun dried tomatoes, and chick peas to coat.

Remove sweet potato mix and bell pepper from oven.  Once slightly cooled, slice bell pepper.  Toss sweet potato mix, bell pepper slices, and chick pea mix in medium bowl.  Add pine nuts and chopped cilantro and stir.