Wednesday, September 15, 2010
When I was a little girl, there was nothing quite like my grandmother's cheese toasty sandwiches and Campbells Cream of Tomato soup, reconstituted with milk. She would spread CheezWhiz on white bread and pop it into the toaster oven until the cheese bubbled. I know. Awful, right? But that's what love tasted like to a five year old.
There are many winter days when what I want for lunch is a ramped up version of my childhood comfort. The time to plan for those winter days is now - as the tomatoes fade from the markets.
I take thick pieces of challah or Italian loaf, a slab of Fontina or Cheddar, a swath of apple chutney or fig jam or peach salsa. Sometimes, it's pieces of pear with Brie, or nectarines and mozzerella. Sometimes it's Comte and bacon.
Grill the sandwich in plenty of butter. Weigh it down with a pan and a tea kettle. Let the cheese warm slowly until it's all melty.Let the sandwich rest for a moment or two after it comes out of the pan, then cut in half to serve.
And the soup? Rich and tomato-y, whispers of roasted sweet garlic, hearty chicken broth as a base, and basil brightness. Top with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream. Or just stir some heavy cream into the soup as it heats.
Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup
This recipe can be pressure canned or frozen. Cream is added when the soup is reheated.
Makes about 6 pints
2 carrots, chop roughly
1 large onion, quartered
2 whole heads garlic, peeled, not crushed
3 cups fresh, homemade, chicken broth, skimmed of fat
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil -- (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
Preheat oven to 425°
Core tomatoes and cut in half. Place, cut side up, on parchment covered cookie sheet. Add carrots, onion and garlic. Brush with olive oil.
Bake at 400F for about an hour, or until veggies are roasted and a little blackened.
Blend with a stick blender (or in small batches in a blender) until smooth. Throw the basil in and blend some more.
Place in a large saucepan with the chicken broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
To can: Process in a pressure canner, pints for 60 min. and quarts for 70 min.
To serve: Warm soup in a saucepan. Add cream to taste. Serve garnished with chives or frizzled shallots.