|Photo: HardCider International|
Tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich go hand in hand anytime, but especially as we begin the fall season. Make your tomato soup from scratch, and you will never go back to eating can soup. Here's a fast and easy recipe:
1 onion, diced
1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
32 ounces tomato juice
28 ounce can of either plum tomatoes, cut into chunks; or crushed tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes make an excellent tomato soup. Use what you have in stock.
1 tablespoon sugar
2 large (or 4 small) bouillon cubes - any flavor
1 cup leftover red wine (or port or sherry)
12 ounce can of evaporated milk (Yes, you can use 2% milk, or whole milk, or cream. The more fat, the creamier the soup.)
Season to taste: (No salt needed.) I use ground pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried parsley, dried rosemary, smoked paprika, a bay left, Worcestershire sauce and Herbes de Provence, about 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Fresh chopped basil when I have it.
Note: If you grow your own tomatoes (lucky you to have a sunny backyard!), you can simmer about 4 pounds of them (add a little water and salt and pepper) for about 1/2 hour. Let cool and puree in a blender. No fresh tomatoes? Canned tomatoes are an excellent choice too!
1) Sauté the onion, celery and carrot in butter, or olive oil. When nearly tender, toss in minced garlic. Cook a few more minutes.
2) Pour in the tomato juice and canned plum tomatoes.
3) Stir in a tablespoon of sugar and the bouillon cubes.
4) Next add the red wine (port or sherry), followed by evaporated milk.
5) Season the soup to taste. Omit salt as bouillon cubes are salty.
6) Bring the soup to a boil. Cover with a lid. Simmer for about 5 minutes, lift the lip and stir it every few minutes, and you are ready to eat.
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To raise money for charity, I once made grilled cheese sandwiches on a food truck. It was a fun day! I learned the chef's secret ingredient for achieving the perfect crust. And since it is an open secret, I will share it below.
|Photo: The Today Show|
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
Slices of sharp cheddar
2 slices of whole grain bread. Use whatever you like: whole wheat, rye, or multi-grain (You could make a grilled Swiss cheese on rye bread, if you wish.)
1) Stuff 2 slices of bread with sliced sharp cheddar cheese.
2) Spread the outside of each piece of bread with a thin layer of mayonnaise, the food truck's secret ingredient.
3) Grill both sides in a lightly buttered pan (for extra flavor) until golden brown (or you could spread a pad of butter on the inside of the bread, next to the cheese. Works too!) The mayonnaise produces a golden brown crust.
Cheesy, buttery, tangy goodness grilled to perfection! When a chill is in the air, warm tomato soup with a grilled cheese sandwich is delicious comfort food!
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