Friday, December 3, 2010

Foodie Friday- Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

There are few things I love in the wintertime more than a gooey grilled cheese and a steamy bowl of tomato soup. It's a classic comfort food combination that I doubt I could ever tire of.

Unlike most soups, I'm not picky about tomato. I love it in almost every form I've ever tasted- canned, jarred, homemade, spicy, mild... does not matter. My favorite is probably La Madeliene which I'm assuming has something to do with the fact that one cup has literally 100% of your saturated fat allowance for the day.

It's been fairly cold in Dallas this week and I came home a few days ago craving tomato soup.... only to find that we were out. So I started searching for a recipe that wouldn't require me to leave my house since I was already out of my work clothes and into my yoga pants (In case you were wondering, it was definitely a yoga pants + couch kind of night, not a yoga pants + yoga mat kind of night). Naturally there wasn't a recipe in which I had every single ingredient, so I improvised.  And it turned out quite delicious!

So here is my take on the homemade classic, tomato soup & grilled cheese:

Grilled Cheese
  • 2 slices of bread (Sourdough is my favorite)
  • Herb butter (easy to make, but they also sell it premade if you care to purchase instead)
  • Tillamook Cheddar
  • Tomato Slices
  1. Y'all know the drill- butter the outsides, cheese and tomato on the inside, grill. 
It's no secret how much I love my panini press, but this is one of the few sandwiches that I like better un-panini-ed. Yes, I just turned "panini" into a verb:

pa·ni·ni·ed\pə-ˈnē-nē-ed\: the act of smushing a sandwich into a panini maker for the purpose achieving crunchy, pressed goodness.

My vote is to grill it in a grill pan. It's just not substantial enough to put in a press. And for heaven's sake, use good ingredients. This is one of those foods that is so simple that you can really taste each ingredient separately, so they better taste good. I know, I know- it's hard to go wrong with carbs and cheese, but trust me, if you just give your carbs and cheese a little upgrade you won't be sorry. And the herb butter "kicks it up a notch" to use the words of our boy Emeril.

Spicy Tomato Soup (based very loosely on this)
  • 2 T butter (I used herb butter since I already had it out)
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 gloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 28 oz. can of tomatoes (I used whole and smushed them up a little because that's what I had on hand. Most recipes suggested crushed- your call, but I don't think it matters.)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 t fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 t red pepper flakes (if you don't like spicy, just add a teeny pinch)
  • 3/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t black pepper
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  1. Melt butter in large pot.
  2. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender- 4 minutes or so.
  3. Add tomatoes (smush a little if they are whole), broth, bay leaf, rosemary, and red pepper. 
  4. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes (covered).
  5. Remove bay leaf.
  6. Add cream cheese and allow to melt a little bit.
  7. Immersion blend, if you are cool.
  8. If you are uncool, pour that boiling hot liquid batch-by-batch into a blender and blend*.
  9. Season with salt & pepper. (I garnished with a bit of julienned basil that I had on hand)
  10. Enjoy!
*Just kidding on the uncool thing.  But immersion blenders are fun. You should get one... the new ones even include a fancy mini food processor attachment. Not that I'm bitter about buying mine 6 months before they started including that or anything.... 

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