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Posts Tagged ‘Cheese’

It’s a cool, rainy day here in Vermont, which makes it perfect for a soup dinner. Although autumn is right around the corner, my tomato plants are still giving me a good supply, so a roasted tomato soup will be a great way to use them.

Not only do I roast the tomatoes, but I also roast the onions, carrots, celery, and a head of garlic. Roasting brings out the sweetness and richness of the tomatoes and vegetables and gives a depth to the soup you can’t get otherwise. If you’ve never tried it this way, give it a shot. I think you’ll really enjoy it.

Side note: if you’re not a huge fan of garlic, try roasting it. It makes the garlic a little more sweet. Also, if you can’t use fresh tomatoes, I give an alternative at the end of the recipe.

It sounds like it would be a lot of extra work for a simple soup dish, but honestly, it’s easy. Let me show you.

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Rough chop onions, celery, and carrots– cut them on the thicker side. They’ll be going in a blender after they’re roasted, so they don’t need to be pretty. Put them in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Then add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and toss.

Take most of the outer peel off a whole head of garlic and cut off the top.

Make a little garlic house out of aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over the top of the head of garlic, close the top of the aluminum foil, and then place it on a baking sheet. Put the onions, celery, and carrots around it. Like this:

Roast at 375 degrees for one hour. Once they’re done, take out of the oven, and open up the garlic house to let the steam out. Put it aside, along with the other vegetables.

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Slice tomatoes in half (I’m using San Marzanos today, but any red tomato will work). Put them on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on top, also sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for 30-45 minutes. (If you have a double oven or want to roast on a rack under the veggies, that works. Just take them out a little sooner.)

Once the garlic is cooled, squeeze out all the cloves, and add to the roasted veggies. Like this:

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After the tomatoes are roasted, put them, and the vegetables in a blender, and add a little vegetable stock (enough to help the blender to blend). Also put in any liquids released while roasting the tomatoes. Blend until super smooth– I mean purée the heck out of it. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do it several batches.

Once blended, put the soup in a large pot, and heat it up on medium heat. If you want the soup a little thinner, add more vegetable stock. Once the soup is hot, add cream, and stir.

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Turn the heat down to low and let it hang out while you grill the cheese sandwich(es).

I use three types of cheeses… cheddar, havarti, and mozzarella. You don’t have to use that many or those kinds. You can use one type or five. It’s your grilled cheese. Go for whatever you want. Also, use whatever type of bread you want. Below, I show what kind I use. It’s delicious and hearty enough to hold all the cheese.

Heat a skillet (I use a cast iron) on medium heat. You don’t want your bread to burn before the cheeses melt, so grilling it slowly is key.

Butter one side of your bread and place the buttered side down on the skillet. (It’s best to use room temperature butter, because it makes it easier to spread.)

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Now alternate your cheese onto the bread– one slice of havarti and cheddar on the bottom, mozzarella in the middle, slice of havarti and cheddar on top (or whatever cheeses you choose).

Then place the other slice of bread on top and butter it.

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Once you see the cheeses on the bottom are melted, flip the sandwich. Remember not to rush the grilling. Let those cheeses melt slowly.

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Do the same on the other side. Then, take it off, and slice in half. Look at that cheese!

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Stir the soup and taste it. Add more seasoning if you think it needs it. I usually add a little more salt and pepper. I also like a little heat, so I add red pepper flakes. Ladle it into a bowl, and if you’d like, top with a dollop of sour cream and/or chopped fresh basil.

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Doesn’t this look comforting and delicious? I hope you enjoy it!

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What you’ll need for the soup:

10-20 tomatoes (Depends on how much soup you need to make. I did enough to fill up a baking sheet)

3 large carrots, roughly chopped, on the thicker side

1 large onion, roughly chopped, on the thicker side

8-10 ribs of celery, roughly chopped, on the thicker side

Olive oil– no set amount. Enough to coat the veggies and tomatoes for roasting.

1-2 cups of vegetable broth (amount will depend on how thick or thin you want your soup)

1/4 cup of light cream (optional)

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning

Red Pepper flakes (optional)

Dollop of sour cream (optional)

Chopped, fresh basil (optional)

What you’ll need for the sandwiches:

(I’m not going to put amounts, because it all depends on how much cheese you want and how many sandwiches you’re making)

Bread of your choice

Cheeses of your choice

Butter (room temperature)

Directions for soup:

Rough chop onions, celery, and carrots. They’ll be going in a blender after they’re roasted, so they don’t need to be pretty. Put them in a medium bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Then add salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and toss.

Take most of the outer peel off a whole head of garlic and cut off the top. Make a little garlic house out of aluminum foil and drizzle olive oil over the top of the head of garlic, close the top of the aluminum foil, and then place it on a baking sheet. Put the onions, celery, and carrots around it. Roast at 375 degrees for one hour. Once they’re done, take out of the oven, and open up the garlic house to let the steam out. Put it aside, along with the other vegetables. Once the garlic is cooled, squeeze out all the cloves, and add to the roasted veggies.

Slice tomatoes in half (I’m using San Marzanos today, but any red tomato will work). Put them on baking sheet and drizzle olive oil on top, also sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 375 for 30-45 minutes. (If you have a double oven or want to roast on a rack under the veggies, that works. Just take them out a little sooner.)

After the tomatoes are roasted, put them, and the vegetables in a blender, and add a little vegetable stock (enough to help the blender to blend). Also put in any liquids released while roasting the tomatoes. Blend until super smooth– I mean puree the heck out of it. Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do it several batches.

Once blended, put the soup in a large pot and heat it up on medium heat. If you want the soup a little thinner, add more vegetable stock. Once the soup is hot, add cream, and stir. Turn the heat down to low and let it hang out while you grill the cheese sandwich(es).

Directions for sandwiches:

Heat a skillet (I use a cast iron) on medium heat. You don’t want your bread to burn before the cheeses melt, so grilling it slowly is key.

Butter one side of your bread and place the buttered side down on the skillet. (It’s best to use room temperature butter, because it makes it easier to spread.)

Alternate your cheese onto the bread– one slice of havarti and cheddar on the bottom, mozzarella in the middle, slice of havarti and cheddar on top (or whatever cheeses you choose). Then place the other slice of bread on top and butter it. Once you see the cheeses on the bottom are melted, flip the sandwich. Do the same on the other side. Then, take it off, and slice in half.

Back to the soup:

Stir the soup and taste it. Add more seasoning if you think it needs it. I usually add a little more salt and pepper. I also like a little heat, so I add red pepper flakes. Ladle it into a bowl, and if you’d like, top with a dollop of sour cream and/or chopped fresh basil.

Alternatives:

If fresh tomatoes are not an option, use two large cans of diced tomatoes. Sometimes, you can find canned roasted tomatoes. Roast the other vegetables according to the directions above and then add the canned tomatoes to the blender with the veggies.

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