After a long day of appointments and meetings, a simple dinner is definitely called for. I had a break midday, so I was able to prepare the soup ahead of time. We don’t usually keep fresh bread on hand but I do find loaves of bread freeze and defrost well. This time, I took four slices of wheat bread out of the freezer to defrost in the refrigerator-I make other “fancier” grilled cheese sandwiches, but I knew there would be a time crunch around mealtime and to avoid eating late, I opted for simple grilled cheese sandwiches made from what I had on hand. After the bread defrosted, I placed on two of the slices: one slice each of sharp cheddar cheese, Monterrey Jack cheese, Swiss cheese and a slice of “Virginia” ham. The other two slices were placed on top of the cheese and ham then dotted with butter. I used a panini maker to grill the sandwiches. Once heated, I placed pats of butter on the grill surface and immediately placed the sandwiches on top of the melting butter, closed the lid, pressing firmly and cooked until cheese was melted and bread was browned. Removed to cutting board, sliced in half and placed on plate.
Tomato Soup Recipe – serves 2
2 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, stemmed and quartered – I like to cut off the “stem nubbin” as well
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 cup olive oil
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 t kosher salt (to taste)
1/4 cup heavy cream
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Toss tomatoes, garlic, oil salt and pepper in a bowl. Transfer to aluminum foil lined sheet pan.
Roast for about 40 minutes or until soft.
At this point, I like to remove the skins. Since they are very hot, I pry the skins off with two spoons and discard the skins.
Sauté onion in 1T oil in medium pot over medium high heat 5-7 minutes. Stir in broth, sugar and carefully pour in tomato mixture and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Use an immersion blender to purée the soup. (A blender can also be used to purée the soup – but due to the heat, only fill blender halfway and start blender on low and gradually increase speed.)
Add a few fresh basil leaves and purée again. Taste for seasonings and add salt as desired. Stir in cream and garnish with a sprig if basil.