Monday, March 15, 2010

Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Cali Tomato Soup ~ IF I CAN DREAM ~ WEEK3

At the end of last week, Amanda and Kara asked for some more homestyle cooking, so this week, I'll be putting a California spin on some down home foods. Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup is one of my favorite comfort meals and it makes for a fun dinner party. Below I list a variety of ingredients that your guests can choose from to create their own signature grilled cheese sandwich. Add anything you like to the options! Watch how to make these killer gourmet grillers this Monday night, 5pm at the If I Can Dream House! If you are in a time crunch, skip the homemade soup and add 1tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper to your favorite store bought tomato soup.


Gourmet Grilled Cheese and Creamy Cali Tomato Soup

Servings 5-7 

Ingredients :
1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes in juice
1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon molasses
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 large slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoons dark rum   (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste 
¼ cup chopped fresh basil (optional)

1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.

2. Add garlic, onion, cayenne, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes with juices. Using a potato masher or whisk and mash tomatoes until no large pieces (2 in. max) remain.

4. Stir in sugar, molasses, vanilla, and bread and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes or until bread breaks down completely. Remove bay leaf and toss out.

5. Transfer  1/3 of soup to a blender or food processor, add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil and process until soup is smooth, silky and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes ( When using hot liquid, never fill past 2/3 of the way full and cover blender with dish towel in case hot liquid escapes!)Transfer to a large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. Third batch, add no oil.

5. Rinse out soup pot and pour soup back in. Stir in vegetable broth and rum. Return soup to a boil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. Sprinkle each portion with pepper and basil.  Serve gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.
    2 medium Red onions, sliced
    4 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided (or olive oil)
    1 package Chicken or Turkey Sausage, pre-cooked and sliced into 1/3" rounds
    1 large loaf Foccacia Bread
    1 loaf whole wheat bread
    1 small jar olive tapenade (or any type of spread you like)
    1/2 lb Pepper Jack Cheese,
    1/2 lb Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese,
    1/2 lb Brie Cheese (use your 3 favorite cheeses that melt)
    1-2 Granny Smith Apples, sliced thinly
    1/4 c salted butter, melted

    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    2. Heat frying pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons oil and reduce to medium-high heat. Add onions and saute for 5-7 minutes or until translucent. Place in small bowl and set aside.

    3. Add 2 tablespoons oil and sausage to same pan and cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Place in small bowl and set aside.

    4. Line cookie sheets with tin foil and spray with oil.

    5. Slice Foccacia bread into 4 inch wide slices, then slice those in two for sandwiches.

    6. Layer sandwiches as you like with spread, cheese, onions, sausage, and apples.

    7. Brush each sandwich lightly with butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper place on lined cookie sheet.

    8. Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Slice in half on the diagonal and serve with a piping hot bowl of Creamy Cali Tomato Soup. It's like sneaking back to your child hood in a sophisticated way :) Dip away!




    1. I am looking forward to tell this recipe to sister and will tell her to prepare it for me. She would be very happy to know that i have said her about some new recipe.

    2. I have been the queen of grilled cheeses since I was tall enough to reach the stove top and your version sounds absolutely amazing.