It took me awhile on Valentine's Day to come up with something to make Jeff. I make him a lot of things, and last year I recall making him a nice surf n' turf dinner, with a big huge heart shaped steak and some shrimp. Last year he was working at South Park for Valentine's Day, but this year (Saturday!!) I got him all to myself.
It took me awhile. But we'd been going out to brunch with my friend's Tim and Katie for awhile, and a lot of times Katie gets Monte Cristo's from Good Stuff. They're always tasty, and the more I thought about it, the more they seemed right up Jeff's alley. I recall once he was commenting on the Monte Cristos from Bennigan's, which are deep fried and crazy, and how he couldn't do another one for another 10 years or something... but I wouldn't let that stop me.
Now a Monte Cristo is just a rip off of the croque monsieur and is basically a ham(or turkey) sandwich that's been deep fried. Which I didn't want to do. I don't want to deep fry a ham sandwich, that seems... wrong.
So I decided to make French Toast and make it with both ham and turkey, as well as a soft creamy mexican cheese. That I still had from my carne asada quiche. Yes, it was still good, it was amazing!!
I cut the sandiches into heart shapes with a cookie cutter because, let's face it, it was Valentine's Day and it was adorable. :) I added sweet by having syrup on the side, as well as spreading each sandwich with a slight amount of strawberry fruit spread.
And it was really, really tasty.
I'd been watching a lot of Alton Brown with my night's off, and I definitely got my plan for challah french toast from him. But I forgot to let the challah sit out. And I also forgot to make the custard the night before. But it was still very, very good. The challah was, after all, already a little bit stale when I bought it (sigh).
Monte Cristo Sandwich
4 thick cut slices Challah bread
1/8 cup half-n-half
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/8 lb of thick sliced deli ham
1/8 lb of thick sliced smoked turkey breast
a few thin layers of asadero cheese
strawberry fruit preserves or jam
a stick of butter for frying the french toast in
powdered sugar for sprinkling
syrup on the side for dunking (or mustard or more jam, depending on your tastes)
Oven at 450 Degrees
Beat together the half-n-half, vanilla extract, salt, and egg and pour into a shallow dish. Let sit for a few moments, and then prepare your skillet for french toast. Set two pieces of challah bread in the custard at a time, let sit for at least a minute, possibly two, then flip and allow to sit for the same amount of time. Meanwhile, butter up your skillet and once the challah bread has soaked up about half the mixture, begin to fry. Cook until golden brown on both sides, and transport to some aluminum foil to keep warm. Repeat with the last two pieces of bread.
Spread a thin layer of strawberry preserves on one piece of bread for each sandwich, then layer with the ham, turkey, and cheese, dividing evenly between both sandwiches. Top with the other slice of french toast and transfer to the oven to allow the cheese to melt, the ham to warm, and the french toast to crisp.
When the cheese has melted, remove from the oven, dust with powder sugar, and serve with syrup or jam or mustard.