I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tomato Soup and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

It is a-snowin' out there. Even though it is coming down fairly hard we have been pretty lucky here in Brooklyn and haven't been hit as bad as many other places along the East Coast lately. Regardless, I still just want to curl up inside the apartment with comforting, warming food. Of which I believe the ultimate is creamy tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

The great thing about this tomato soup recipe is that it uses many things that you probably keep on hand in your pantry/fridge. Which means no unnecessary trips out int the blustery weather for extra ingredients. It is also very easy to substitute or change around the ingredients depending on what you have. As for the grilled cheese, it isn't anything complicated but it is made special with cave aged gruyere (which has a wonderful deep flavor that holds up well to the tomato soup) and crusty, but soft, Pugliese bread. The loaf I bought (from Bklyn Larder, my new favorite specialty food store in my neighborhood) was baked at Grandaisy Bakery. They make damn fine bread, maybe some of my favorite I've had in the city. And this particular loaf becomes perfectly crunchy and flavorful when cooked in a good quantity of butter in a skillet.

As the snow continues to fall whip up a batch of this soup and sandwiches, curl up on the couch with some good wine and good company, and stay warm!

Tomato Soup
5 servings
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
1/2 onion
3 cloves garlic
2 t. fresh thyme
3 TB olive oil
1 can (28oz.) San Marzano tomatoes
1 can (14.5 oz) vegetable stock
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
3 TB butter
1/4 c. cream

Finely chop the carrots, celery, onion and garlic into uniform pieces. Coarsely chop the thyme. In a dutch oven or soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and thyme to the pan. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the can of tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth, cook for another 5 minutes, and then remove the pot from heat. Use an immersion blender to puree all of the tomatoes and vegetables. Once the soup is smooth, return to the stovetop over medium-low heat. Stir in salt and pepper, butter and cream. Taste to check seasoning and adjust as necessary. Serve once soup is heated through.

Gruyere Grilled Cheese
4 sandwiches
1/3 lb. cave-aged gruyere cheese
8 slices (3/4" thick) of Pugliese Bread or country bread
4 TB butter

Grate the gruyere cheese. Divide the cheese onto 4 slices of the bread and top with remaining 4 slices. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 TB of butter. Once the butter has melted place the sandwiches on the skillet and cook until toasted on one side, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the sandwiches to a plate. Add the remaining 2 TB butter to the skillet and allow to melt. Return the sandwiches to the skillet, non-toasted sides down. Toast this side of the sandwich, again about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the skillet and serve immediately.


Liesl said...

I LOVE your blog! I just went several posts that you had done on places to eat in NYC! My husband and I travel to NYC at least once a year and LOVE it! We always come to eat :o) I bookmarked some of your suggestions and can't wait to try them out! I'd love to hear any other "musts" if you have them!

Sarah said...

Liesl--thanks so much! There are so many great places to eat in NYC it's just hard to narrow them down! Some of my favorites right now:
Blue Smoke or RUB for BBQ, Boqueria or Ten Bells or Las Ramblas for tapas, Ditch Plains for seafood/comfort food, August for great seasonal food, Amy's Bread or Sugar Sweet Sunshine for cupcakes, 'ino or 'inotecca for wine/panini/cheese, Brick Lane Curry house for Indian, and El Centro for the best nachos I've ever had.
I'm also in love with all things Brooklyn and really recomend a trip across the bridge to Jack the Horse, Vinegar Hill House (very highly recomend this place!!), Superfine, or Franny's.

Let me know any of your faves--I'm always looking for new places to check out.

Carrie said...

I love love Gruyere cheese, why haven't I ever thought to put it in grilled cheese, how delicious!

Emily said...

Oh my gosh, this sounds amazing! This is like, the ultimate comfort food for me. I love the sound of that cheese. I bet it's tasty...

Shannon said...

I'll be making this this weekend! Love your blog Sarah!