Tag Archives: vegetarian ham

Cordon Bleu Quesadilla

3 Jan

Why anything that has ham and cheese inside gets called Cordon Blue???  I tried to search for the answer but I couldn’t find anything definitive.  So basically, I have no idea…  And because the name “ham and cheese” quesadilla is not as sexy-sounding, I will borrow the Cordon Blue term for this dish. 

Of course we’re using vegetarian “ham”… another reason why I did not want to use this word in the dish’s name…  I buy mine in NYC’s Chinatown, in a small store that sells vegetarian/soy based goods.  We have come to learn that some brands are better than others, but if you have a Chinese neighborhood in your town, seek out the freezer section with many of these vegetarian/soy based goodies.

Here is a picture of the brand we buy- just in case you’re in the NYC area… it’s kind of big and expensive to buy for just one person.  But it keeps super well in the freezer.  I defrost a bit in the fridge and separate a small batch to keep handy with the rest of the sandwich fixings.  I do not eat this frequently, but it really tastes good when you want to recreate some recipe you made in the past with boiled ham.

This is a great snack or quick lunch…



1 whole wheat tortilla
2 slices of vegetarian “ham”
1 tsp olive oil
¼ cup shredded cheese – I use an Italian cheese blend with Asiago, Mozzarella, Parmesan, etc.
About 1 oz of goat cheese, like 1/2” slice crumbled into pieces
¼ cup of Red Pepper Sauce to dip


  1. First we cook the “ham” a bit… take a medium skillet over medium heat and drizzle the olive oil (remember these are soy based, so not a lot of fat in these slices).  Place the slices of ham and cook a bit so the slices get some nice color.  Turn to cook on both sides and set aside.  After the slices have cooled a bit, slice into ¼ inch pieces.
  2. In the same skillet, heat the tortilla to make it somewhat pliable.  On one half of the tortilla place the pieces of goat cheese, pace the slices of “ham”, top with the shredded cheese and fold the tortilla to create a half circle/half moon.
  3. Flatten the quesadilla with a spatula a bit to make sure the cheeses melt well and the tortilla browns a bit.  Flip to warm up the other side.


Serve alongside Red Pepper Sauce to give it a nice sweet touch…  you can dip it or you can drizzle on top of the quesadilla.  It’s your choice…

Croque Monsieur Sandwich

2 Apr

I am fascinated by France – their language, their cuisine, their joie de vivre…  I wish we can learn more to enjoy the pleasure French people derive from the simple things in life.

Every since I leartned about Croque Monsieur sandwiches, I’ve been wanting to eat one…  but I knew I had to make it at home because they’re typically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich topped with a cheesy béchamel sauce and more melted gruyere cheese. Hmmmm.  Need I say more?

So here is my karma-free version for all of you…



2 slices 100% whole wheat country bread
2 slices aged Swiss cheese
2 slices of soy-protein smoked ham – I buy mine frozen at NYC’s Chinatown, but you substitute with any veggie cold-cut of your preference
Dijon mustard
Bechamel Sauce, recipe follows
About ½ cup Shredded gruyere cheese
  1. Using a slicing mandolin, slice the ham.  In a small skillet, brown the ham slices a bit.  This will warm them up and cook them a little.  Set aside.
  2. Make the béchamel.
  3. Toast bread slices.  Assemble sandwiches by spreading some Dijon mustard on the inside of the bread slices.  Place swiss cheese, ham, a bit of the shredded gruyere cheese on one side and top with the remaining slice.
  4. Place sandwich in a baking sheet.  Pour a ladleful of the béchamel sauce on top of the sandwich and sprinkle additional shredded gruyere cheese.
  5. Broil in oven for about 4-5 minutes until the cheese has melted and turned a bit golden brown.

Béchamel Sauce

I know this is not the traditional way a béchamel is made, but this is easy, it works and it works better for me than the traditional method.  For some reason, I always end up with a flourly taste when I do the traditional version…  OK?

1 cup plain soy milk – make sure it’s not the vanilla kind…
3 tbs cornstarch
Salt and Pepper to taste
A dash of ground nutmeg
About ½ cup gruyere cheese
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat most of the soymilk. Leave a little bit of soymilk aside to mix with the cornstarch.  Add the remaining milk/cornstarch to the warmed soymilk and let it boil slowly to thicken.
  2. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  3. Remove from heat and add gruyere cheese.  Set aside
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