In January I ran my third half-marathon. I never thought I’d be able to say that! I didn’t wake up one day thinking, “I want to run a half-marathon.” I simply wanted to become more fit and I didn’t want to pay for a gym membership. Running was very challenging for me at first- ending in tears from time to time- but slowly and surely, I was able to run farther and farther. I ran a 5k, and then another. I signed up for a 10k that I ultimately couldn’t run due to a conflict, but by then I was running about 6 miles on a regular basis. Then one day I sort of accidentally ran 10 miles. It was just one of those days that I think all runners have, in which you just feel like you can and should keep going. So I did. When I got home I mapped my route and I had run 10 miles. Suddenly a half-marathon was a realistic goal! I felt as if I had reached a new level- I was no longer jogging for fitness- I had become a Runner. I began to see what an achievement a half-marathon would be, and how proud I would feel. So, why not? My spouse and I continued training and here we are with three races under our belts.
It feels good to run in a race. I don’t need to win or even beat my time from the last race. I just love the collective experience. And I like being fit and I want to stay fit, so I keep running. But let’s be honest: One of my favorite things about running – especially running a long run – is eating afterward. I don’t know that there is a tastier, more satisfying meal than one you feel like you earned from exercise. After a long run, I feel entitled to eat whatever and however much I want. I burned all those calories, right? Many, many a delicious, decadent breakfast has been ingested after a long run.
And so it was with the Croque Madame. We finished a challenging trail run on a Saturday morning and returned home with voracious appetites for something rich and sinful. Something I’d never eat on an average day, but would devour in a heartbeat after a hard workout. The Croque Madame fit the bill: crunchy toasted bread topped with a rich buttery sauce, vegetarian Canadian bacon, and fontina cheese, piping hot from the oven and topped with a fried egg. That’s decadent.
I’ll keep running. As long as breakfasts like this keep existing and my knees keep working, I’ll keep running. I’m a Runner, after all.
4 one inch slices of good-quality white bread
2 tablespoons butter
1 rounded tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
Salt and Pepper
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
8 slices Vegetarian Canadian Bacon (I used Yves brand)
8 ounces grated fontina cheese
4 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 375˚. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet. In a skillet, melt the butter. Add the flour and whisk for about a minute. Whisk in the milk a little at a time adding more milk each time the sauce begins to thicken. When all the milk has been added, remove skillet from heat, stir in the mustard and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the sauce among the bread slices. Top each slice with 2 pieces of Canadian bacon and 2 ounces of fontina cheese. Bake until golden. When sandwiches are done, cook the eggs and place on top of sandwiches. Serve immediately.