Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup


Second semester senior year makes us feel like rolling up into a ball. Sometimes, that’s not acceptable or reasonable so this tomato soup and grilled cheese meal is an attractive (albeit messier) alternative that gets you exactly the same jealous glances. We first thought about making tomato soup when it was as cold as frozen blueberries but by the time we cooked it, outside was as balmy as moisturizer. It took two trips to the grocery store and one broken bowl, but the tantalizing end result was worth every effort.

Tomato Soup
adapted from Smitten Kitchen.
2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes packed in juice
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup minced shallots (3-4 shallots depending on size)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
generous pinch allspice
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons brandy or dry sherry
salt to taste
basil for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Open the cans of tomatoes into a strainer set in a bowl and use your fingers to help collect the juice in the bowl. Place the tomatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet, sprinkle the brown sugar evenly over them, and bake for about 30 minutes or until the tomatoes look dry and begin to change color.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it fizzles, then add the minced shallots, tomato paste, and allspice. Turn the heat down and cover the pot. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft, about 10 minutes.
3. Add the flour and stir until it is well-distributed. Then add the chicken stock and tomato juice from the straining earlier. Peel the roasted tomatoes off the foil and add them. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
4. Strain the mixture into a heat-safe bowl and transfer the trapped solids to a blender (we used a hand blender in a second bowl) and blend until they become a thick puree. Re-combine the juice and puree in the saucepan and re-warm over medium heat. Add the cream, brandy or sherry, and salt to taste, and heat to serving temperature. Garnish with a delicately-snapped sprig of basil.

Grilled Cheese
Gruyere cheese
thickly-sliced bread
a love of grilled cheese

1. Butter both sides of two slices of bread per sandwich. Thinly grate the cheese and spread it across one piece of each sandwich.
2. Grease a pan or pannini.
3. Grill yourself a cheese.