Our second French Cafe-themed recipe from Raddish Kids was the iconic French sandwich, Le Croque Monsieur. It features bechamel sauce, one of the five French “mother sauces,” and the recipe card included neat information on the other four sauces as well. We veganized this one easily with a block of Daiya’s Monterey Jack cheese in place of gruyere, and Yves Veggie Canadian bacon in place of ham (or use any meatless ham of your choice).
But first up was the bechamel! Travis loved watching 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter melt in our saucepan over medium heat.
We whisked in 3 tablespoons flour to make a roux, but Travis was a bit fearful of touching the whisk. Mommy step!
Next we gradually poured in 1 and 1/4 cups non-dairy milk (we used unsweetened almond milk). Once the mixture began to bubble and thickened slightly, we removed from the heat and stirred in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
Next up was grating the block of cheese! Using a grater was the recipe’s featured culinary skill. I showed Travis how to hold the cheese so no fingers or knuckles would get caught in the grater’s holes, and he was so proud.
I asked Travis to arrange 4 slices of country white bread on our baking sheet, which he proudly did, rearranging until they were in a single layer just so.
Spoon 2 tablespoons bechamel sauce onto each slice. Add 1 slice of vegan ham, then sprinkle each slice with 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese.
Top each sandwich with a second slice of bread, followed by an additional 2 tablespoons bechamel, and the remaining cheese.
Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Travis was so proud, and cleared his plate!
We thought the sandwiches were delicious with a bowl of tomato soup.
While we dined, I quizzed Travis on French culinary terms like “bisque” and “ganache,” to round out the lesson. His favorite was learning that “a la mode” means served with ice cream.