Monday, December 07, 2009

sometimes "making do" turns into something spectacular!

So, last night, it was 5pm and I had no clue what we were going to have for dinner (anybody with me here?). It was a chilly, damp, dreary kind of day and I wanted something to warm our bones but didn't have any of the ingredients I needed for the soups I normally make. While I was looking for inspiration I stumbled upon a tomato soup with grilled cheese sammies in an older issue of Everyday Food. I didn't have the exact ingredients called for so I made some substitutions. OH. MY. YUMMMMM!

Here is my highly modified version:

1 tbs olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
salt & pepper
1 can (14.5 oz) Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, undrained (I used Hunt's brand)
1 can (14.5 oz) Whole Tomatoes, drained (yes, you read right, drain this can but not the other)
1/2 a can low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 tsp of dried basil leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream (or more to taste, I just eyeballed it)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium and add onion and garlic. Season LIGHTLY with salt and pepper (do not over salt. the canned tomatoes have a bit of salt in them and you can always add more later). Cook until onions are soft, about 5 or 6 minutes.

Add cans of tomatoes and basil and increase heat to medium high. Cook, stirring, for about 5 to 7 minutes or until tomatoes begin to break down a bit (use a wooden spoon to break up the whole tomatoes as you stir it).

Add broth and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer for 10 minutes. Puree in 2 batches in the blender (BE CAREFUL and don't create pressure in the blender by completely sealing with the lid...unless you want hot soup all over your kitchen (a lesson I learned several years ago) Leave the small hole on your blender lid open and lightly cover with a towel when you start to blend).

Return soup to pot and stir in cream. Turn heat back up to medium high and season to taste. When soup in warmed to desired temperature, take off heat and serve. Makes about 4 servings.

Now, let me just say, my husband does NOT like tomatoes. He will eat spaghetti sauce and salsa but plain tomatoes NO. Well, he really liked this soup and that is saying a lot!
I think his favorite part was the mini grilled cheeses we had with it (sorry, didn't get pics of these):

Loaf of Rosemary Potato Bread (from the store bakery) or any crusty bread you like
1 slice of non-smoked provolone cheese for each sandwich

I sliced the bread into 1/2 inch slices and buttered one side of each slice with a doubled over slice of cheese in between. Cook in a skillet over medium heat until each side is golden. These were soooo good with the rosemary bread!

As I was eating my soup I was thinking how good it would be to add a few slices of roasted red pepper into the soup with the tomatoes. I'm definitely going to try it! You know, if you don't have heavy cream on hand you could probably use canned Evaporated Milk.

Jack sure did enjoy "helping" set up the Christmas tree:
I was worried he would try to topple it over and pull the lights off and generally destroy it but he's actually done really well with it. Still, we put most of the ornaments on the top half of the tree.

Ah, and here is my sadly unfinished Berry and Bramble Cardigan: I really, really want to get it done soon! It's been hard to find knitting time lately because I cannot knit when Jack is around. He constantly tries to pull on the yarn or the needles and it makes it pretty much impossible. All I really have left is the shawl collar. It's going to be a booger though. I've picked up about half the stitches and already my circular needle is full. I really don't want to buy a longer circular but I may have to.
I would love to have this finished for Christmas. We'll see. It comes so fast!

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