Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tomato Soup and Bruschetta Grilled Cheese

I have a guest blogger!! Brady made me a great dinner of tomato soup and bruschetta grilled cheese last week.  It was such a good soup recipe, I can't wait to make it again.  I loved that it had a creamy consistency yet was wasn't filled with butter and heavy cream. And grilled cheese, you really can never go wrong with that! I didn't think it would be fair if I wrote about the process so I asked Brady if he would be a guest blogger and this is what he had to say...

I have been asked to be the first guest blogger (and perhaps the last depending on how this goes) following a successful attempt at cooking dinner for a bona fide food blogger (Noelle) after her busy day.  Needless to say the pressure was on, so my first thought was to order out, and plate the food as if it were my own.  Deciding not to take the easy way out, I began searching for a dish I knew we would both like – soup!  As I was searching different recipes, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head of how much I liked tomato soup and grilled cheese.  I realized however that preparing a dinner with the help of our friends Campbell and Kraft might not wind up as a blogworthy meal.   So I focused on finding a healthy version of homemade tomato soup along with a fun way to make a variation of grilled cheese. 

To my luck, I was able to find a recipe for tomato soup which would be reasonably easy to make and had some really fresh ingredients.  I set out to find a more “adult” version of grilled cheese and found a recipe for grilled cheese bruschetta.  The soup turned out to be really flavorful – only requiring a large pan and a blender.  I really like my soup to have a little kick and by doubling the amount of red pepper, this one definitely had it.  The time consuming part for me was chopping all of the ingredients that were used, however, I assume everyone reading this blog is faster at this than I am so adjust the time as you see fit.  The grilled cheese bruschetta was a perfect complement to the soup.  I simply used wheat bread, and took a pizza cutter and cut out large circles to use for the base.  Topping the bread with the roasted cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella made for a perfect side-dish to a great bowl of soup. 

As you may be able to tell, my cooking acumen could be described as average.  However these two dishes were relatively easy to make without a lot of time and made for a great cold weather meal.  I mean at the end of the day, who doesn’t enjoy homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese?  Mark me down as a fan of both. 
Everything's Going to Be Alright Tomato Soup
*** from Spoon with Me

Serves 4
Cook Time: 45 minutes

2 pounds ripe, in-season tomatoes, chopped (about 5 cups
1 medium onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small bunch fresh thyme (about 6 sprigs), leaves picked and chopped
1 small bunch fresh oregano, leaves picked and finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 to 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Kosher salt to taste
Basil leaves to garnis

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  When hot, add the onions and saute for about 6 minutes until soft.  Add the thyme, garlic, and crushed red pepper.  Saute for an additional minute.  Add the tomatoes, oregano, and salt.  Saute, stirring often for about 10 minutes, allowing some of the moisture to cook down.  Add 2 cups of the broth.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Blend together with an immersion blender, or allow soup to cool slightly before blending in a standing blender.  Add additional broth if needed to reach the desired consistency.  Garnish with torn basil. 

Mozzarella, Basil and Tomato Bruschetta
Serves 4

4 pieces whole grain bread, crust removed and cut in to circles
one pint cherry tomatoes
4-8 ounces Mozzarella cheese
handful fresh basil, sliced thinly
garlic salt to tastes
black pepper to taste
garlic oil or olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 with rack in the center of oven. Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic salt & pepper. Roast tomatoes for about 20 minutes or until the skins have popped and the tomatoes are softened.

Set broiler to low heat. Brush a light later of garlic oil or olive oil on bread. Toast bread about 2 minutes on each side. Remove from oven. Top each toasted bread round with about 6 tomatoes. Press a round of cheese (1-2 ounces) gently on top of the tomatoes. Broil for about 6-8 minutes or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Watch carefully towards the end of cook time that your grilled cheese does not burn. 

Top with fresh basil, cracked pepper and garlic salt.


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