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.