Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'll see your Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, and raise it.

Rainy weather always makes me crave the classic combo of a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup. When I was a kid, my mom would serve this simple dinner when the days were dark and wet. So growing up in Portland, OR meant we ate this meal a lot.
To this day, it is one of my favorite kid friendly, easy meals. But being the over achiever I am, I can't stay contented with the basic cheese on bread, Campbell's Soup team. Noooo, I have to one up you.

The thing is, it doesn't take much effort to make this even better. For example, I'll bet you have no idea just how simple it is to make homemade tomato soup. And it tastes fantastic.

Basic Tomato Soup
1 can good quality tomatoes (chopped or whole, doesn't matter. I especially like to use Pomi chopped tomatoes in the box.)
1 - 2 cups veggie broth (I use Vegetable Better than Bullion and water, but make it extra strong)
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 medium onion, chopped into smallish pieces (sweet onions are especially nice for this)
one bay leaf
Salt and pepper.
1 cup milk

In a medium sized pan, melt the butter, add your flour and cook briefly.
Stir in the chopped onion and cook until onion is soft and transparent.
Add tomatoes, 1 cup of the broth and bay leaf. Simmer over medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Remove bay leaf, and hit it with your stick blender until it is smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Remove from the heat and stir in one cup of milk. Use a bit more broth if it is too thick for your tastes.
Yep, that's it.

Grilled cheese? That's another one to dress up. My favorite twist is to use extra sharp cheddar and add a bit of Major Grey's chutney. Too tame for you? How about using Gruyere and add thin slices of pears? No? Still not your thing? Ok, try using fresh mozzarella and basil leaves. How about cheddar and dried cherries or brie and sliced tart apples. Really, the options are endless. I tend to use a good quality whole wheat bread as a default, but switching that up can be another way to add interest. Don't stick to the basics either. Sure, sourdough is nice, but what about using that Raisin and Pecan bread? Try that with Cambozola and you'll never go back.

1 comment:

Mrs. Tantrum said...

Soup and Sandwiches were also a staple of the Portland OR growing up Catholic-no-meat-on Friday or Wednesday families. This soup would have been so awesome then. Although I must give my mom proper credit for all of the awesome chowders she made, and the very few cans of pre made soup she used! This sounds divine!