March 16, 2011

grilled cheese and tomato soup

Posted on March 16, 2011

Yesterday was rainy here in San Francisco. I trudged home from work dreading taking Willow for her evening walk. (She hates the rain and actually pouts when we take her out in it). Fortunately, my friend Robin and her pup Honey met us for our walk, which temporarily distracted Willow from her usual pouting. As we walked awkwardly with umbrellas in one hand and dogs in the other, we discussed dinner. We were both rocking all-American classics that night – meatloaf for Robin and tomato soup for Jordan and me. It was on the Leavenworth hill, soaked from the rain, in the company of grumpy pups, that we decided tomato soup and grilled cheese is the perfect rainy day meal. And, after cooking and eating it, I can confirm that indeed it was.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese, especially for rainy days

For the soup:
2 16 oz cans of whole or crushed tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
3 T sugar
2 T red wine vinegar
salt, pepper, chili flake, a bay leaf, thyme

In a dutch oven, saute the vegetables in a little olive oil. When they start to become tender, add the tomatoes, a pinch of each of the spices, salt, sugar, vinegar and broth. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes. Puree the soup using and immersion blender or food processor. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and let simmer until ready to serve. We served it with a little creme fraiche on top.

For the sandwiches:
1 T butter, for the pan
1/2 cup cheese, grated (we used goat cheddar)
4 slices of bread (or 10 slices if the only bread they had at your up-the-hill-market was a baguette, but you decide to make a go of it for experiment’s sake)

When your soup is finished and simmering, place a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Toss in the butter. Make the sandwiches and place them in the pan. Cover with a lid to melt the cheese. When they are golden brown on one side, flip and cook the other side. Serve hot and gooey.

Our tiny sandwiches were quite delicious, but because of the bread to cheese ratio, they lacked the gooey cheese factor one expects in a grilled cheese. While they paired well with the soup, they would not satisfy a grilled cheese craving.

-Emily

taquería cancun

Posted on March 16, 2011

I love mexican food. Like my mother, I could probably eat it everyday. Limited access to great mexican food is just one of the reasons living outside of California borders on torture for me. The Mission District in San Francisco offers a myriad of taquería options, but not all super burritos are created equal. Jordan and I have done the legwork and our favorite taquería is Taquería Cancun (2288 Mission Street, between 18th and 19th).

Last Saturday we enjoyed awesome burritos in the company of awesome friends. Our recommendation: go for the super burrito or super taco “al pastor” ($6, $3). What does al pastor entail you may wonder? How can this meat be so delicious? Well, al pastor means that slices of pork are marinated in chilis and vinegar and then are cooked shawarma-style with a pineapple on top. I have to say that love the image of a pile of meat roasting on a spit with a pineapple on top almost as much as I love a super burrito al pastor!

Our friend Jeff took our recommendation and got the super burrito al pastor, another friend went with the chicken burrito and another went vegetarian. None were disappointed.

After we finished our burritos we took a stroll through the neighborhood.

Afterwards we grabbed soft-serve ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery. I happen to think soft serve pairs magnificently with burritos. The perfect end to a perfect day in the Mission.

-Emily

baking therapy: homemade graham crackers

Posted on March 16, 2011

Our good friend Jeff made these homemade graham crackers from Smitten Kitchen and brought them oven for us the other weekend. They were so good that Jordan and I ate the entire bag of them in a few hours. I decided to try to recreate the magic on Sunday.

Sadly, my grahams did not turn out nearly as perfect as Jeff’s. I overcooked one batch and undercooked the other. While the undercooked batch was still tasty, they lacked the satisfying graham cracker crunch we all know and love. Still, I’d recommend the recipe, because when these turn out well they blow store bought graham crackers out of the water!

Visit Deb’s recipe here and follow her advice, since I can’t yet stand behind mine.

Homemade Graham Crackers, in photos

-Emily