2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk (I just warmed mine up in the, about 1 minute)
1 teaspoon salt and a pinch of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
12 ounces Gruyere, grated (5 cups- this might be a little too much, so use as much as you think you want).
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
16 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
8 oz baked Virginia ham, sliced but not paper thin (Just ask for it at the deli, they're happy to cut it just the way you like it!)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
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. The key to making this roux (a thickening agent, and a key component in any good creamy sauce) is go slow! 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.
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.
Lightly brush half the toasted breads with mustard, add a slice of ham 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. Serve hot.
3 pounds, medium plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange tomatoes, flesh side up, on 2 wire racks set on sheet trays. Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, making sure they are well covered. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
Roast in the middle rack of the oven until tomatoes are brown and tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.
Melt butter in 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Saute the shallots for 2 minutes, and then mix in tomato paste for a few more minutes. Add chicken stock and cayenne. Add heavy cream and heat over low heat. Bring up to a boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes to the pan.
Puree with an immersion blender (or food processor). Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into serving bowls and garnish generously with fresh basil
Now I didn't make a dessert for this meal (mainly because I felt so guilty with the cheese overload), but dang you know I had some wine! Here are some happy customers: