Why does a toasted cheese sandwich and tomato soup “hit the spot” in the winter months? I’m not sure that was a childhood staple for you, but I grew up in the mountains, and when we came home from sledding, skating, or skiing, that particular menu item filled our bellies and warmed our hearts! Perhaps Mom and/or Dad fed us that because bread, cheese, butter, and tomato soup we cheap and filling to seven hungry children. To this day, I think my siblings would say that it’s a “go to” meal. Well, except my sister, Eileen. She watches her weight. I just watch my weight…grow.
If this is your first time reading me, I took a different job within the institution of higher education where I once serve as a faculty member for 13 years. In this iteration, I am now in a different department where I serve as director of intercultural learning (that’s another story). So, I am living in temporary quarters until we sell a house and buy one.
One of my roommates, Regan, bakes a fantastic loaf of sourdough bread! My other roommate has a friend who makes hard cheese (white cheddar), and I like to make tomato soup from scratch. Together, served a delicious and simple meal.
My tomato soup:
12 Roma Tomatoes (blanched, peeled, and blended, or chopped finely)
6 ounces (170g) of homemade pesto (I’ve offered my recipe for this a number of entries ago, but you likely have a good recipe yourself).
4 mushrooms of your choice
1/4 of a small onion or 2 shallots
One cup of red wine
1 block of cream cheese (8 ounces/227g)
1 tablespoon (14.2g) olive oil
Begin by heating oil on medium heat. Add onions/shallots and cook until transparent. Add mushrooms, and cook until water has evaporated. Add tomatoes, and cook until liquid has dissipated. Add wine, and cook until the alcohol has evaporated, but the flavor remains. Now add the pesto. You get your salt, more oil, and texture from the pine nuts in the pesto, so you don’t have to add too much more salt, but make sure it’s to your taste. If you want a smoother soup, you can use an immersion blender, here. When your soup reaches a thick point, and you are getting close to serving it, add the cream cheese with the heat lowered just a little bit. Here it is.
While you’re watching your soup come together, you can build your toasted (sometimes called, “grilled cheese”) sandwiches. We sliced the lovely sourdough bread, buttered it on the outside, and laid the sliced cheese. For the two-sided, enclosed sandwich, we buttered two slices of bread to put on the outside so that it made contact with the griddle. We used a toaster oven for the open-faced, toasted cheese sandwich. Both are wonderful! Now, you may think that my tomato soup looks a little like Welsh Rarebit. I don’t put Worcestershire sauce, or dry mustard, or flour, or stout, but you could modify this recipe to be Welsh Rarebit, which is also quite delicious. Leave out the pesto, wine, and mushrooms, however.
When we assembled our tomato soup and toasted cheese sandwiches so that we could dip the sandwiches into the soup. The next morning, for breakfast, I poured the thick soup over my toasted cheese sandwich.
As with all meals, eat them with people you love and who allow you to be who you are.
Thank you for reading.