Creamy Tomato Basil Soup & Fancy Grilled Cheese

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup & Fancy Grilled Cheese
I love introducing him to American comfort foods and one of my all-time favorites is tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich.  But why not jazz it up a little?

Tomatoes are a staple item in our kitchen.  Whether I’m whipping up a batch of homemade arrabiata sauce, a potful of Basque piperade or making a flavorful sofrito for my paella, tomatoes are one of our favorite ingredients (next to garlic, of course).  And after yet another stroll through the farmers market, I came home with a bagful of these plump red vegetables, or should I say “fruits”, if we want to be botanically correct?  Either way, I was ready to create my first creamy tomato basil soup.  And what better way to accompany my soup than a warm gooey grilled cheese sandwich, with a twist!
Farmers Market Tomatoes

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

6 large tomatoes, blanched and peeled
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chicken broths
2 cups fresh basil, chopped
salt & pepper
olive oil
  1. In a medium pot, heat olive oil and saute onions until translucent.  Add garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and saute over medium heat.  Add more olive oil if necessary.  Add chicken broth and let it simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
  2. When the tomatoes are nice and mushy, add heavy cream and basil.  Turn down the heat to low.  With a hand mixer, slowly puree the tomato mixture.  Add tomato paste and continue using your hand mixer to make the puree.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add more chicken broth until you’ve reached your desired consistency.  Let soup simmer for another 15 minutes.  Garnish with some fresh basil and serve hot.

Fancy Grilled Cheese

Fancy Grilled Cheese w/ Bacon & Pear

4 slices of sourdough bread
6 slices of Jarlsberg cheese
1 bartlett pear, sliced thin
4 thick slices of cooked applewood bacon
melted butter & olive oil
  1. Layer 1 slice of sourdough, 2 slices of cheese, pears, 2 strips of bacon, 1 slice of cheese and top with another slice of sourdough.
  2. Heat skillet over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil.  Brush melted butter on the top slice.  Place the sandwich on the skillet, buttered slice down.  Use a heavy bowl or pan to press down on the sandwich.  Grill until cheese oozes out.  Brush the top slice with butter and flip the sandwich over.  Press down and grill for another 2 minutes.  Serve immediately.

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