What you want….. baby I got it. Ha!
Seriously though, doesn’t a hot, steamy bowl of creamy, hearty, savory (yet, slightly sweet) tomato soup just sound….. like YES?? I think Aretha would agree.
It is freezing in Minnesota right now and all I want to do is sit, snuggled up in my bed, with a stocking cap on, watching a good Hallmark movie, and eating something really comforting. And what is more comforting than tomato soup and grilled cheese?? It’s a total, throwback-to-childhood food that brings with it, all the comforts of a time when your mom would gently sweep your hair back so she could softly cup your winter-kissed-rosy-cheeks, right before dropping off a plate cheesy, tomatoey perfection in front of you. Who wouldn’t want that?
Since then I’ve graduated a bit from good ole Campbell’s Tomato Soup and Velveeta slices on Wonder Bread (still delicious), but only because I discovered goat cheese and honey and the mouthwatering miracle that happens when you dump a touch of brandy into caramelized onions just before adding tomatoes, and a hint of cream. OMG…..
Do I need to say more about this?
Ok, let me just say one more thing about grilled cheese sandwiches. I’m not going to post a recipe because that seems silly to me. The only thing you need to know about grilled cheese making, is that low and slow is the name of the game. Lower the temp and cook them slow to ensure that all that ooey, gooey cheese melts to perfection before the bread browns too much. Other than that, I’m just going to make a few recommendations to expand your grilled cheese horizons. Trust me on these toppings, they will blow your mind.
Grilled Cheese Combinations to Blow Yo Mind
I recommend all of these on good, crusty, buttered bread. Crack a little sea salt on (thank you Rita), just before serving.
White Cheddar, Goat Cheese, Drizzle of Honey, Avocado
Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella, Slice of Tomato, Slice of Prosciutto
Sliced Pears and Brie (with or without Prosciutto)
Goat Cheese, Swiss, Sliced Roasted Beets, Fresh Spinach
Gorgonzola, Fresh Mozzarella and Sliced Apples
Cheddar, Bacon, Sliced Apples
Pepper Jack, Cream Cheese, Pineapple, Ham
Provolone, Goat Cheese, Caramelized Onion, Avocado
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
1/2 Lg Onion – sliced
1 tbs. Olive Oil
1 c. Brandy
2 Cloves Garlic – minced
1 can Tomato Paste
2 28oz cans Whole Tomatoes – drained
2 c. Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1 c. Heavy Cream or Coconut Cream
About 8-10 basil leaves finely minced
Salt and Pepper
Blender or Immersion Blender (This is the one I use and I love the chopper as well!)
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over low-medium heat and add onions and a generous pinch of salt. Cook onions until they are lightly brown and caramelized. This process can take a while, but the trick is to do it low and slow so that the onions don’t burn. Once they have reached a nice brown color, add the garlic and the brandy and turn up the heat to medium. Cook until the brandy has reduced by half, then add in the can of tomato paste, canned tomatoes, and stock. Allow everything to simmer (uncovered) over low-medium heat for about 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently. Finally, add in the basil and cream and hand blend with an immersion blender or blend to desired consistency in a blender in small batches. (I like mine a little chunky, so I leave some of the texture in.) Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary. Depending on the tomatoes, this can come out more or less acidic, so if you need to add a touch more sweetness to balance out the acidity, a little brown sugar never hurt anyone….just sayin’.
Serve hot with crusty bread, or (duh) grilled cheese. Enjoy!