Monday, May 4, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Quinoa Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Tomato and Quinoa Soup with Grilled Cheese Sammich(updated from recipe archives)

My vegetarian friend complained that my blog has been leaning too far into carnivorism lately. I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone likes bacon food porn staring them in the face. To switch things up, I'm updating an oldie but a goodie.

Last time I made this soup, I spent a good half day slow roasting tomatoes but because tomatoes aren't in season yet, a good substitute is Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes. I finally got around to using the quinoa that's been sitting in my pantry since who knows when. Now I can cross off cooking quinoa for the first time off my list. I loved the texture and extra nutrition it added to the soup so I tried to convince Steven to let me add this superfood to our regular steamed rice. I can get away with sneaking whole wheat flour into baked goods and whole wheat pasta into spaghetti but messing with steamed rice? That was a no go.

Whenever I make tomato soup I have to make the obligatory grilled cheese sandwich. I debated if I should even bother posting a grilled cheese recipe. Short version: good bread + good cheese (my fav is Beecher's flagship, loooove it) + heat.

Long version (nothing groundbreaking)
- Use shredded cheese because it melts faster and evenly
- After I butter the bread, I pile on the shredded cheese and toast it slowly in a covered cast iron skillet over low or medium low heat. This way, the cheese has a chance to melt and the bread and butter won’t scorch.
- Sometimes if I'm feeling particularly unhealthy, I butter and toast one side, then flip over and butter and toast the second side and pile the cheese onto the first toasted side. Double butter, double delicious.
- If I feel fancy, I smear a little Dijon before adding the cheese, because I love Dijon.

Anyone have any other good sandwich making tips? (Don't say panini press because I don't have one and that makes me sad)

Roasted Tomato Soup with Quinoa
2 C roasted tomatoes (from 2 pounds tomatoes) or 2 cans of14.5 oz Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion or half a large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 - 3 C chicken stock or water, to taste
1/4 C quinoa, rinsed
1/4 C chiffonade* basil (optional)

*chiffonade right before using to prevent the basil from turning black

For Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
- Add half a cup of heavy cream right after cooking

In a Dutch oven or large nonreactive saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the diced onions. Saute the onions until they are translucent and have softened. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape the onion and garlic mixture into a blender and add the roasted tomatoes or cans of fire roasted tomatoes. Blend until completely smooth, add a little of the chicken stock or water if the mixture is too thick.

Return the puree into the saucepan, add the dried oregano, and the chicken stock or water. Simmer on low to medium low heat for 10 minutes, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, add more stock or water if it’s too tomatoey, and add the quinoa. Continue to simmer until the quinoa are cooked through and opened, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Off heat, stir in the chiffonade basil. For creamy soup, stir in the cream after simmering the soup. Add basil at this time too.

Roasted Tomatoes
3 lbs tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Slow Roasted (adapted from Alanna and Kalyn)
Cut the tomatoes in half and get rid of as many seeds as possible. In a bowl, toss the tomato halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the tomatoes on a parchment paper lined metal sheet pan or skip the parchment and use a pyrex glass dish.

Roast in the oven at 300 degrees for 6 or more hours, depending on how dry you want them. I only roasted them for about 6 hours because I wanted to keep them juicy since they were going into soup.

Fast Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut the tomatoes in half and get rid of as many seeds as possible. In a bowl, toss the tomato halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the tomatoes on a parchment paper lined metal sheet pan (do not use a pyrex in such high temps). Roast until the tomatoes start to color, about 30 minutes.

After roasting the tomatoes are easily peeled off. I forgot to peel them but the skins pureed in the blender and were not an issue.


Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

A nice twist on the classic combination -- there's a reason grilled cheese and tomato soup have been around forever. It's because they are so good!

Peabody said...

Always one of my go to "pick me up" meals.

Kalyn Denny said...

Nothing like a good cheese sandwich! The soup looks just amazing; anything with roasted tomatoes has to be outstanding.

Meeta K. Wolff said...

I think this rates as one of my top fave dinners of all times. I love the idea of using roasted tomatoes in the soup. Genius!

Becky said...

Mmm, this post made me crave tomato soup and grilled cheese like you would not believe. Food and Wine can trash the cheese sandwich all they want, but few things in life make me happier. I'm flagging this post so I can try out the roasted tomatoes and the soup.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

Hehe. I made this combo recently too. But I don't bother removing seeds and skin. I eat it all! :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

When I was in college, a friend of mine and I would have lunch once a week: tomato soup and grilled cheese. It always made us feel better during a stressful week. I like the addition of brown sugar in the soup recipe. I'll have to try that next time I make some.

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Sounds like a wonderful cheese. I have been to Seattle many times but never been to Pike's Market..although I have heard plenty about it! The tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich sound like the ultimate comfort food!

test it comm said...

Grilled cheese and tomato soup are a great combo.

Gattina Cheung said...

Amy, you inspire me! I actually going to make some tomato sauce, but aim for something with deeper or more complex flavor. So, I probably will roast the tomato first and see. Big thanks for this wonderful post.
Maybe "only" Pete's lunch is what no one cares about, as he can't make good sandwich.

Anonymous said...

That's the perfect meal in my opinion. I've been having it a lot lately! (I've been sneaking some sliced tomatoes into my Grilled Cheese b/c there are still a few good ones left at Whole Foods...but tomato season is pretty much gone now:(

Rebecca/CUpS said...

What great timing! I'm off to the farmer's market in about an hour and I'm going to pick up what will probably be the last of the tomatoes (if I'm lucky! we've had alot of cool wx here lately). My youngest loves tomato soup and I like the idea of roasting them first. I'll keep a lookout for Beecher's...we have some great cheese shops here in PDX. I love artisanal cheese!!

Gattina Cheung said...

Hey Amy, thanks for all the info and your recipe, I just did it, used some in soup, and some in sauce, they both turned out wonderful! Since my soup is going to enter Kalyn's WHB, so I also linked up this post of yours, hope it is fine with you.
Thank you so much!

Amy said...

I totally agree. :)

It is really comforting, especially on a cold day. Mmmm...

I'm so glad I started roasting tomatoes! Thank you for your post on them!

I love the deep flavors the roasted tomatoes give to the soup. Yum!

I just love how simple and delicious it is.

I ate the seeds too, lol. Too lazy to strain it.

It really is a comforting combination.

Oh I looove Beechers!


Anytime! Your posts are always so creative and wonderful, I love your shrimp and tomato sorbet.

Miss Scarlett,
I feel your pain, I'm going to miss summer produce.

Beecher's is wonderful! I hope you like the soup. :)

jane said...

I make paninis without a panini press using my cast-iron dutch oven with skillet top. Basically, I take the lid of the dutch oven, which is shaped to double as a skillet, and heat it up (on stovetop) at the same time as I heat up the bottom of the dutch oven. When they're both hot enough I put the prepared panini in the middle of the skillet/top, then take the hot dutch oven itself, which weighs a million pounds, and put it on top of the sandwich, holding it in place if necessary, until I judge that the sandwich is ready. I was surprised by how perfectly this method worked- it came out perfect for me on the first try and I do it all the time.

Antonella said...

I like this soup. Thank you.

Unknown said...

If you want a make-shift panini press just wrap a brick in foil and put it in the oven, then just set it on top of the 'wich in the pan.


Meredith said...

I add a thin slice of tomato to the sandwich as well. Delicious!


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