Fresh Tomato Soup and Portobello Mushroom Grilled Cheese

So… let me start this post by saying I burnt my thumb on grilled cheese. I’m sitting here, blowing on my thumb, feeling excessively silly.

But, luckily, the thumb burning dinner was delicious! Now’s the time to use those last summer tomatoes in this delicious soup, as I did with some I got from Parker’s Table, which was selling local, St. Charles tomatoes. Like many others, I’m of the belief that tomato soup cannot exist without grilled cheese. It just can’t. It’s just smushed up tomato slush until there’s a grilled cheese, then it becomes fantastically tasty soup.

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So, without further ado, brought to you by Food & Wine, Vegetarian Times magazine, and local produce!

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

¾ cup minced sweet onion, such as Vidalia

1 ½ pounds tomatoes—peeled, seeded and chopped, with juices

[The best way to peel tomatoes is to blanch them. Cut an X on the bottom of the tomatoes, then toss them in a pot of boiling water for about 30 secs to 1 min–any longer and the insides get furry/smushy. Then the skin easily peels off. Cut the tomato in half and cut out the core/stem and scoop out the seeds. This is also a great way to peel peaches, FYI.]

1 teaspoon tomato paste

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 basil sprig

Salt

Freshly ground pepper

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In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Add the broth and basil and season with salt and pepper. Simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, about 15 minutes. Discard the basil and puree the soup until smooth. [I think my immersion blender is the COOLEST kitchen tool I own, but you can also blend or food process your soup.] Also, Parmesan. Always Parmesan. On everything.

Roasted Mushroom and Gouda Grilled Cheese

[I adjusted the recipe amounts to feed 2, instead of 4.]

2 medium portobello mushrooms, stemmed

Prepared balsamic vinaigrette– like 1-2 tbsp 1 tbsp melted butter, divided

2 Tbs. finely chopped parsley [didn’t use cause didn’t have]

3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.) [didn’t use cause did differently from recipe– see below]

6 med/small slices whole-grain or country white bread

3 oz. shredded Gouda cheese [I also used sliced cheddar because I didn’t have much gouda]

1 cup arugula [I didn’t have arugula, because mine had started getting wilty and I had made pesto with it. So I just spread pesto on one side of each of the sandwiches– ummm…YESSS]

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush mushrooms with vinaigrette, place on baking sheet, and bake 15 minutes, turning once. Slice into ¼-inch-thick strips. [I didn’t know if this would make a difference, but you can really taste the balsamic, so this step is worth it.]

2. Stir together butter, parsley, and garlic in bowl. Brush 4 bread slices with half of butter mixture, and set butter side down on baking sheet. [Personally, I just put butter in the pan before putting the sandwich down, and apply more butter before flipping the sandwich. About a 1/3 a tbsp per sandwich.]

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3. Sprinkle Gouda [or whatever cheese you want] among bread slices on baking sheet. Top with mushroom strips, then arugula. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices. Brush sandwich tops with remaining butter mixture.

4. Heat large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. Cook sandwiches in skillet 4 minutes, or until browned and crisp. Flip, and cook 3 minutes more, or until second side is browned.

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NOM.

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