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A passion for food, wine, friends and entertaining is a big part of our life. This is a way for us to document our experiences, passion for food & life and also share it with others.




Monday, November 4, 2013

Grilled Cheese with Pear & Caramelized Onions and Tomato Soup




Is there really anything more comforting than grilled cheese and tomato soup? I'm going to say no. It's the number one school lunch order of the school year by students and adults. It's just good stuff. 

We've officially finished our Whole 30 and now we've switch over to our 80% Paleo lifestyle. Which means last Sunday night this scrumptious meal was part of our 20% life. 


We were craving a rustic grilled cheese sandwich. We picked up 3 different delicious cheeses; a soft farmers white cheese, a white cheddar and a light blue cheese and grated them with some chopped chives.
We caramelized a white onion and sliced a ripe pear and sandwiched it all in between some roughly sliced sourdough bread. The flavors of the melty cheese, richly sweet onions and paired with the sweet pear is just perfect!  

And of course if we were making grilled cheese we had to make some homemade tomato soup too. The funny thing growing up I actually hated tomato soup. I think it was because the only tomato soup I had ever had was the kind from the red & white can. And it was like soupy ketchup. I'm so glad somewhere along the way I finally tasted a good tomato soup and became a fan. This soup takes a while to cook but it's well worth it.


You start by softening onions, carrots and garlic.


Add two cans of San Marzano Italian whole tomatoes.


The recipe called for 2 cans of water we substituted 2 cans of homemade chicken stock that G had made the week before to add a bit more flavor.


It was  a perfect meal for a gray,chilly lazy Sunday at home spent nursing our allergy prone pup back to health.


RECIPE:

Sidekick Tomato Soup (adapted from Sunset Magazine November 2013)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 large carrots 
2 large garlic cloves, chopped 
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes ( we added a bit more)
2 Mediterranean bay leaves
2 cans (14.5 oz. each) whole peeled organic tomatoes with juice, preferably San Marzano or Muir Glen
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, divided
About 1/2 cup crème fraîche
About 1 1/2 tbsp. chopped chives

1. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Pour in oil, then add onion, carrots, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, the red pepper flakes, and bay leaves. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables have softened and onion is translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. "It's important to cook your onions before you add liquid. Otherwise they won't melt in a simmering pot; they stay fibrous," advises Smith.
2. Add tomatoes, crushing them up with your hands, plus their juice and 2 cans water.  (we used homemade chicken stock in place of the water) "Canned whole tomatoes are usually higher quality than chopped," Conley says. "But chopped are okay in a pinch." Bring soup to a simmer and add half of oregano. Decrease heat to very low and simmer, partly covered, 2 hours. About 20 minutes before soup is done, add remaining 1/2 tsp. salt and the remaining oregano.
3. Remove bay leaves and blend soup until smooth. Add a bit of water if the soup looks thick, and strain if you want it silky smooth.
4. Serve soup topped with crème fraîche and chives.

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