Friday, February 4, 2011
Fire Roasted Tomato & Carrot Soup with Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Okay, this soup is good. I mean, it’s really good! And look at the ingredients...it’s healthy, too. I mean, it’s really healthy! Because the soup is pureed in a blender, it is thick and creamy. I promise you will NOT miss the heavy cream typically used in tomato soup. Veggies have never tasted so yummy!
2 Tlb olive oil
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
10 cloves of garlic, (just throw them whole into the pot!)
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
2 carrots, roughly chopped
14 oz can vegetable broth
1 28oz can of FIRE ROASTED tomatoes (if you use any tomato other than fire roasted, I will not take responsibility for the outcome of your soup!!)
1/2 tsp salt
1 large bunch of basil (save a few out if also making the Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches)
1 Tbl pure maple syrup or brown sugar
1 c. 1% milk
4 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1. Heat a large pot over medium heat.
2. Add oil to pot. Cook onions, garlic, pepper flakes (if using) & carrots in oil for 10 mins or until the carrots are slightly tender.
3. Add broth, canned tomatoes, syrup & basil leaves.
4. Heat till boiling. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 mins.
5. The next step is to blend all the ingredients in a blender. I suggest letting the soup cool completely before you do this. If you don't have time to wait, then you MUST take the plastic piece out of the top of the blender before blending (and cover with a clean dish towel)- this allows for the heat to escape. If you don't let the heat escape, then the hot soup will expand and will blow the lid off the blender burning you and creating a horrible mess. Can you tell I am writing this from experience!? :) You may have to blend in batches if you double the recipe.
6. Return blended soup to the pot. Add the milk. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with bacon crumbles if you want to be just a little bit naughty.
*Serve with Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (recipe below).
Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
4 large slices of good sourdough bread
Olive oil or butter
4-6 slices of Havarti cheese
4-5 basil leaves, thinly sliced
2-4 Tbl of apricot or peach preserves
(or if you prefer, a spicy jalapeno jelly; tonight I used a fig & lemon marmalade. Basically, just use a jam that you enjoy!)
1. Turn the panini maker on
2. Brush the outsides of all four pieces of bread with butter or olive oil
Spread 1/2 to 1 Tbl of preserves on the inside of each piece of bread- whatever your desired amount of sweetness might be.
4. Put 2 or 3 slices of Havarti cheese on each sandwich. Sprinkle on sliced basil.
5. Cook in the panini maker till cheese is melted and the outside is golden and crispy
*Let me state for the record that each and every one of you should own a panini maker. If you do not, buy one now or put it on your Mother's Day list, Birthday list, Christmas list, St. Patrick's Day list...whatever! Just get one! They are fantastic and will help you make gourmet sandwiches for dinner in a snap! Your family will be thrilled!