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Croque Madame

The Story of my Croque Madame

 

Flashback more than 10 years.  I’m sitting in my high school French class getting my first taste of a culture and cuisine that was not my own.  This class initiated my obsession with both travel and food, including my first taste of  French food; a Croque Madame.

Jump forward to July, 2014.  My wife and I land in Paris for our first European exploration. We get to our AirBNB, drop our bags and start walking to the Eiffel Tower. The entire time I was searching for cafes, brasseries, or any other eateries that might serve my favorite breakfast treat at 9:00pm. Ultimately, none of the places we stopped offered breakfast items for dinner, so we grabbed bread, cheese, and wine and enjoyed a picnic under the stars and Eiffel Tower bathed in Parisian light.

The next morning, my mission was clear (and much easier). We simply walked walked across the street from our AirBNB to a quaint brasserie. I order a Croque Madame (with egg), my wife orders a Croque Monsier (without egg).

When our sandwiches come out, they are bulging with salty French ham in between slices of fresh French bread, likely fried in an entire stick of butter, and dripping creamy French cheeses. The egg on my sandwich was cooked perfectly. What makes the Croque Madame so delicious is the way a runny yolk pulls all of flavors together and intensifies the creamy texture of the sandwich. From that day, I had to have a Croque Madame every single morning while in France.

My obsession with the Croque Madame has driven me to master them at home. It’s not something I make often, but when I do it’s a delicious flavor explosion. Since mastering (IMO) the traditional version, I have tried many variations, in search of the perfect balance between flavor and healthfulness.  It may never be a “healthy” dish, but if you want to make a traditional Croque Madame, you can cut out all of the “bad fat” from the butter and use our Mission “Buttery & Sweet” EVOO to both grill the bread and fry the egg.   I also like to use a very flavorful cheese (like Fiscalini Bandage Wrapped Cheddar) which allows me to use much less.

My personal favorite is using our Jalapeño olive oil. The subtle spice and heat it adds to the flavor makes it seem like there was a missing vital ingredient all along.  If you want a more Mediterranean flavor, use our Mediterranean Medley, or if you want even more heat, try using our Habanero olive oil.

It’s incredible how much flavor you can add to your favorite dishes so simply. Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re bound to make something amazing!

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4th of July Firecracker Grill Fest!

When I think about 4th of July celebrations, I instantly imagine swimming, sun, and delicious grilled food! Since my goal is to spend more time with friends and family and less time cooking, I tend to prepare meals that require minimal involvement while they cook.

PREP: Since grilling is synonymous with the 4th of July, I decided to cook everything on the grill with our firecracker olive oils. That means you will need to have tongs, silicone brush, and heavy duty tin foil ready.

TRI-TIP 2 WAYS

EXTRA-HEAT & SWEET TRI-TIP

For this tri-tip, season generously with sea salt and black pepper. Once seasoned, place in a gallon size freezer bag and let the salt and pepper get into the meat while the tri-tip comes up to room temperature. While the meat is warming, mix 2 Tbsp of Sweet Peach Balsamic into ¼ cup of Habanero Olive Oil. Cut ½ of a red onion into rings and coarsely chop ½ of a bunch of cilantro. Once the tri-tip is at room temperature, and the grill is ready, place the tri-tip over direct heat and coat the top side with the olive oil and balsamic mixture. I used the exact same cook times for both tri-tips.

BBQ TRI-TIP

This one is so simple! I purchased a tri-tip that was pre-seasoned with Pappy’s Steak Seasoning (the blue label). Then I mixed ¼ cup Jalapeno Olive Oil with ¾ cup Sweet Baby Rays Honey BBQ sauce. The Jalapeno olive oil not only adds a bit of heat, it also increases the overall intensity of the flavor. Let the tri-tip come up to room temperature before grilling.

 

GARLIC POTATOES ON THE GRILL

This is a delightful side. Simply get a small bag of mixed color, Yukon Gold, or red potatoes. After washing, place the potatoes on a large sheet of heavy-duty tin foil. Drizzle generously with Garlic Olive Oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Wrap everything up like a gift and it’s ready to go on the grill.

 

ZESTY LEMON ASPARAGUS

The first thing to do is bend all of the asparagus spears until they break naturally. By doing this, you avoid the stringy asparagus that is hard to chew through. Once the asparagus is broken, lay the spears down on heavy duty tin foil, drizzle with Lemon Olive Oil and sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning. This flavor combination will make you want to have an all you can eat asparagus fest!

COOKING: When ready, place the tri-tips over direct, medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes. This will allow the grill marks to color the meat and help sear in all the great juices. Flip the meat with tongs and coat the top side with your BBQ sauce OR olive oil and balsamic mixtures. After another 3-4 minutes, flip the tri-tips again and move to indirect heat, and coat the remaining dry side of the tri-tip. I personally add a fresh layer of BBQ sauce or marinade every single time I flip the tri-tip.

Now the meat cooks! My formula is 10 minutes per side for medium-rare, 12 minutes per side for medium, and 15 minutes per side for medium well. The cooking times will depend on the thickness of the meat and the temperature of your grill. This particular tri-tip was about 10 minutes per side at 300°F.

Take the veggies that are wrapped in tin foil boats and place them over direct heat. Let everything sit with the lid closed for at least 10 minutes. When you turn the tri-tips over, turn the packet of potatoes over as well. Remove the asparagus from the tin foil and place the spears directly on the grill to get some nice grill marks and a bit of color change. Once the asparagus has the desired color and grill marks, place them back in the foil boat to keep warm. Close the lid and let the meat and potatoes finish cooking to their desired doneness.

AFTER COOKING: Let the tri-tip rest wrapped in tin foil to keep all of the juices contained. If you use the Olive Oil and Balsamic recipe, surround the tri-tip with as much red onion and cilantro as you like. Wrap everything up tight in tin foil and allow it to rest for 7-10 minutes.

Once the meat has rested, slice thin, against the grain and serve with the perfectly cooked veggies. Cheers!

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Cilantro is Back!

I’m proud to announce that Cilantro Olive Oil is back again for another summer release! Get it while it’s available. We target June-August availability but keep in mind, it’s a true “limited release” so we could run out a bit sooner, but in past years we’ve been able to ship well into September.

Why Cilantro? I’m often asked how we choose the flavors we make. It usually starts with a suggestion, but I’m always thinking about recipes, so if someone gives me a recommendation, I always reply, “give me 3 good recipes first”. Cilantro is no exception and as a California native, Hispanic food has always been a solid part of my diet, making recipes with Cilantro easy to come by.  My first thought was guacamole, followed by a meat marinade.

The other question I get is, “why can’t I get it all the time?”.  Some flavors are more popular than others.  Cilantro, while in my opinion delicious, is a somewhat of a polarizing flavor.  Many people love it, but many have the opposite opinion.  That means we have a very loyal, but niche following for our Cilantro Olive Oil.  It’s best as a Limited Release 😉