Friday, November 22, 2013

Double Rainbow from a can (with a side of grilled cheese)

When the sky looks like this:

The ground looks like this:

And you feel like this:

Give yourself a break.  Stop stressing about work and Thanksgiving and whether you remembered to clean the gutters in time for the storm.*

Pop open a couple of these cans of sunshine:

And enjoy this:

It's like a rainbow, I'm telling you.
It's that good.

P.S. This trick also comes in handy on snowy days, sleet-y days, foggy days, freezing days, and all the days when a bunch of crappy stuff happened and nothing but a crispy, gooey, buttery grilled cheese sandwich with warm, smokey tomato soup will do.

Rainy Day Roasted Tomato Soup

by Sharon Graves
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Most tomato soup recipes I've seen call for fresh tomatoes, which is kind of strange because tomatoes are completely out of season this time of year.  So I went with canned.  I improvised the rest based on what was in my pantry.  This soup was incredible!  Pure tomato flavor, with a hint of spice and smoke.  The cheese and bread in the soup just kind of made sense, too, considering that this was just crying out to be paired up with a great grilled cheese sandwich.  It really is a burst of sunshine from a can.
  • 2 cans (28 oz), good quality canned whole tomatoes, like San Marzano
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbs. sugar
  • Six scallions, white ends trimmed, or 1/2 a regular onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 quart chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken)
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • a few chunks (a generous couple of inches each) of Parmesan cheese
  • 1 slice of bread (any kind, but sourdough wheat is great)
  • Additional salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat, or coat lightly with non-stick olive oil spray. Preheat oven to 375.

Drain most of the liquid from the the tomatoes, then spread out on the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the garlic cloves around. If using regular onion, scatter that around, too. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and the sugar, and drizzle with 2 Tbs. olive oil. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until very soft. If using scallions instead of regular onions (I did, because that's what I had on hand), add those to the tray in the last 5 minutes of roasting.

Heat the last 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add everything from the tray, the stock, cumin and paprika. Allow to come to a gentle simmer. Add the Parmesan chunks and the bread, torn into a few pieces. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 20-30 minutes.

If you have an immersion blender, go ahead and puree the soup right in the pot until smooth. If not, working in batches, blend the soup (cheese, bread and all) in a regular blender, then return to the pot. Taste, and add salt, pepper and sugar, as needed. Cook a few more minutes, then serve**.

* Or, more accurately, whether you asked your husband to clean them but he didn't because what are the odds of it actually raining in LA anytime soon?  Go figure.
**  With this, grilled.

Grated fontina, havarti and Beecher's Flagship cheddar, on generously buttered cracked wheat sourdough bread.  4 minutes a side over medium heat.  Finished in a 300 degree oven for 5 minutes.

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