Croque Madame, S’il vous plait

Such a fancy name for a such a simple sandwich.  In short, this is a dressed up grilled cheese.  How dressed up, you ask?  Well, more dressed up than church on Sunday.  More dressed up than the night you anticipate being proposed to over a candle-lit dinner.  We’re talking dressed up for Senior prom where you have been nominated for Prom Queen, and your boyfriend (the quarterback) is up for King.  This is a special sandwich.


When I went to France in high school I was less inclined to embark on culinary adventures.  We dined at The Hark Rock Cafe, and I even ate lunch at McDonalds…more than once.  In Paris!  Crazy.  I know.  Let’s blame it on me being a naive teenager.  Let’s also blame that purchase of raspberry cigarettes on naivety.  Moving on…

One day for lunch, famished from a morning visit to the Louvre, some friends and I stopped at the first cafe we saw.  Using some of my French food vocabulary I saw “croque-monsieur” on the menu and knew that a French grilled cheese with ham was something I could definitely enjoy.  A French version of fast food.  Warm, grilled bread, melted cheese and sweet & salty ham.  You cannot go wrong with this choice.


Pumpkin Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Some ingredients are available all year long, but only truly acceptable at certain times.  Canned pumpkin puree is one of those ingredients.  You can buy it in July, but a pumpkin dessert just doesn’t seem like something I’d bring to a 4th of July picnic.  Since it is now November I am going to take advantage of my freedom to use this glorious non-perishable good and make something delicious.


The cake recipe is courtesy of Martha, and the brown butter frosting is a variation on a cookie frosting I used on a pumpkin cookie last year.

I love brown butter.  It is nutty, warm, comforting and so much tastier than regular butter frosting.  The little specks of burnt butter in the frosting make me happy.  I said it.  Butter makes me happy.