April? April! April? (Cook the Book Fridays: Artichoke Tapenade & Fried Ham Sandwich)

“How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss

The older I get, the faster time seems to fly. I know there are some well-developed theories on why life feels this way, but still.

Runner Girl graduates from college in a few short weeks. I am pretty sure she just started college last fall. The denial level in my brain is pretty high.

I am not old enough to have a college graduate as a child. 


Since I am unable to stop the wheels of time, it is probably best if I focus my wonderment in other areas - such as how simple it was to to make this artichoke tapenade. A handful of ingredients (artichoke hearts, olive oil, olives, capers, salt, pepper) came together in a flash to create this flavorful spread.

The accompanying rosemary oil drizzled over top finished off the spread quite nicely. Instead of infusing the olive oil with the rosemary sprigs, I finely chopped the leaves and added them to the oil with some salt and pepper. I served these with some pepper crisps that I found hiding in the cabinet. The peppery heat of the cracker was just the right touch. 

A half recipe of the spread was more than enough for four people as a pre-dinner appetizer.

Switching gears, lets talk about ham and cheese sandwiches. Fried ham sandwiches (i.e croque monsieur) are one of my favorite comfort foods. There is a restaurant near us that makes my favorite version of this sandwich and I only let myself go there once every couple of months. I never make them at home. Because they are dangerous. 

Cheese, bechamel, bread and ham - what's not to love?

I do not appreciate knowing how easy these can be to make. Can I please unknow this? Comfort food needs to be less accessible. Just saying...

It may not be pretty, but looks aren't everything!
This post participates in Cook the Book Fridays - an online cooking group that is currently making its way through David Lebovitz's My Paris Kitchen. We just started cooking our way through this book, so there is plenty of time to pick up a copy and start cooking along... 


  1. My goodness, exciting goings on. Congrats with the graduations and the weddings and good luck with your class. Sounds like you were especially grateful for the easy ones this month. I know I was.

  2. Good luck with everything going on Cher! I know the feeling - April? What????? also, I totally agree about these needing to be a little harder. WAY too easy (and wait till you see what I did with the leftovers...).

  3. Congrats again, Cher, on all the good stuff for your family! And apologies (sort of) from my brethren for the intensiveness of your class. :) Yeah, I want to unknow how to make the sandwich, too. Seriously. I've made the tapenade a bunch of times in the last 2 weeks and thankfully have only made the sandwiches twice. But, still.

  4. Oh, honey, you're still a young thing and wet behind the ears. You have no idea about this age thing and time blowing by faster and faster. It's not fair. I cannot believe Runner Girl is graduating either. I do remember her last year of high school and your sending her off to college. Good for her. I feel the same way about these two recipes. Easy and delicious and easy and Unknow (in that order.)

  5. Congratulations! You are right... time.is.flying. It is now nearly 8 months since we moved to Florida, which is flabberghasting to me. That is almost 16 BCM recipes ago! And I agree, comfort food should be much harder. This is too easy and too delicious. At least the tapenade is mostly vegetables. :-)

  6. Congratulations for all the wonderful life happenings in your life. Easy comfortable foods would work great in this busy periods. Enjoy!

  7. Congratulations! Both the tapenade and the sandwich are a winner!
    Good luck with your intensive writing class!

  8. Congratulations- college and a wedding can really keep you busy!! Glad to see someone else did a two-fer ;) Yes, the sandwich is a great comfort food- I was happy it was so filling as my mouth could easily have eaten 2!
    The tapenade with the pepper crisps sounds great!

  9. Wait... what? She's graduating?! Didn't she just start like yesterday???
    I can't believe that the time has passed so quick!
    Both recipes were great!

  10. Congratulations! It's hard to believe that she's graduating already. It doesn't seem like that long ago that you were writing about her going off for the first time. Have fun at the wedding! And good luck with your course. Writing courses can be rewarding and mind-frizzling in equal measure.

  11. I don't want to undo the learning how to make the sandwich. For some reason it took me almost an hour to make the bechamel, the vinaigrette, assemble the sandwiches, fry up the eggs... I have to admit the bread I used was special, so if I have another loaf from that bakery I might skip the Madame and the salad.

    Have fun and get your dance on, lady!

  12. Wow! Time really does fly! Seems like Runner Girl just left for college. Congrats to her and her mom. I'm laughing about unknowing how to make this one. I never made it before, but I made it three days in a row (just using up ingredients...) Now I'll have to wait again until next year. And the tapenade? Loved it too! That one I can justify making again sooner.

  13. Your tapenade and those pepper crisps are amazing. Sorry, now that you have the know-how on the decadent sandwich, there's no going back!

  14. All good things going on in your neck of the woods. Enjoy each and every moment. It seems like yesterday she was just starting college…time certainly does fly!
    This was a fantastic sandwich! We totally enjoyed it!

  15. Even to me it seems like Runner Girl just started college! And my daughter just started elementary school (except now she's a middle-schooler). I agree with you about it not necessarily being a good thing knowing how easy the croque monsieurs are to make.

  16. Oh, funny, Cher. You know, fats are coming into their own now. Just saying...

  17. Congratulations to Runner Girl! That's a terrific achievement. I really want that cheesy crusted sandwich right now - the cheesy, crusty bits on the outside aren't pretty but they are the best.


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