Monday, July 29, 2013

Roasted Tomato Basil Bisque + Ben's Famous Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I'm pretty sure tomato soup popped up in my dreams on Friday night.

I say this because on Saturday morning, I woke up and NO JOKE the VERY FIRST THOUGHT in my mind was "I NEED TOMATO SOUP!"

It really was. I tell no lie!

The weather was a little rainy, and slightly dreary...perfect weather for tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. Does it get any more comforting than that?

I have a very simple recipe for tomato soup that use frequently, but this weekend deserved a little something different.


I prepped the recipe as usual, but soup looked a little tooooo soupy when I was done. Thankfully I had about 1/4 cup of whipping cream (cheaper store brand YEAH!!!!) leftover from a previous recipe and poured that goodness right in.

Apparently I wanted bisque, not soup. But oh, was it ever so delicious. I love it when experiments turn out so wonderfully. I can't wait to make this again.

Last-minute change to recipe = brilliance.

The trick is to combine roasted Roma tomatoes with no-salt-added diced tomatoes (from a can -- GASP!) with seasoning. I usually use plain diced tomatoes, but this time used the kind with green chilies. It was actually an accident that I didn't realize until afterward, but no regrets here! It added a little extra KICK to the flavor, and mixed so well with the red pepper flakes I threw in early on.

Can I take a moment to declare my love for store brands? There's no shame in these, peeps. Same taste, better price, happier wallet. 'Nuff said. There are very few items, though, that I'm completely loyal to a particular brand. But more on that in another post.

Back to Saturday.

As all of the bisque-y goodness was happening, The Fiance' stopped by and offered to help with lunch (aaaawwww :) ).

People, apparently I am marrying the Master of All Grilled Cheese Makers. Seriously. I'm not exaggerating.

Okay maybe I am a little. But still, these were seriously the best grilled cheese sandwiches I've ever tasted. I think we all know who will be making the grilled cheeses from now on ;)

I have no idea what the boy did, but he did it GOOD. Maybe one day he'll teach me and I can share the recipe on here :)

As for the soup, here are some lovely photos of the process and the recipe below.


Roasted Tomato Basil Bisque
Serves 4

6 Roma tomatoes
2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil, divided
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of pepper
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Dash of garlic powder (about half a teaspoon)
1 tsp chopped onion (or a few sprinkles of onion powder)
Dash of cayenne pepper
1 can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes with green chilis
2 cups chicken or veggie broth
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tsp of basil

Slice the Roma tomatoes and arrange on a baking sheet (preferably covered with foil that has been sprayed with a light layer of cooking spray). Drizzle tomatoes with 1 tsp EVOO. Depending on the size of your tomatoes, you may need a tad more oil, but they should not be greasy. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes, then broil until they are just beginning to darken on top. For my oven, this took about 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of EVOO in a saucepan on medium-high heat and let garlic, onion and red pepper saute' for just under a minute (it might get dark, but don't let it burn). Pour in diced tomatoes, broth, and cayenne and let simmer for about 5 minutes, then add the basil.

Lower the heat to medium-low when mixture begins to boil, then add your Roma tomatoes. Stir well so everything is nicely combined.

Using an immersion hand blender, blend the soup until it reaches the desired consistency. I left mine slightly chunky. If you don't have a hand blender, pour soup (a little at a time - it will be hot!) into a normal blender, then pulse until desired consistency. Return to saucepan.

With heat still on medium-low, add in the whipping cream a little at a time, stirring constantly. When bisque reaches the desired thickness (and a little red color), your dish is ready to enjoy.

Serve alongside warm grilled cheese sandwiches.

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