Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tomato Basil Soup & Grilled Cheese

I know this probably sounds crazy...soup in the summertime??  Especially, since a lot of the country is experiencing triple digit temperatures, but there is a method to my madness. And, I can't believe that everyone is eating salad on these hot days, so just in case you think of soup as comfort food, like I do, maybe this recipe will appeal to you.  If not now, save it for the Fall...which is just around the corner according to the retail stores which have already started setting out the new lines.

I also baked a couple of loaves of Country White Bread and thought "grilled cheese" to dip in the soup.  I know Ari and Maddie are big dippers and would love this.  It didn't take long to make and after I put my lunch together, I grabbed my book to finish the last few chapters and just relax; something I don't do often.

Country White Bread (makes 2 loaves)

1 cup warm water (95F to 105F-degrees)
2 tsp. dry (or fresh) yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour 
Stir all the ingredients together in a small bowl.  Cover with a towel and set aside until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

3/4 cup warm water (95F to 105F-degrees)
3 T honey or Agave syrup
4 tsp. (or 1 packet) dry yeast
4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 1 T shortening
1 T salt

In a KitchenAid, using the paddle attachment,   Place water, yeast and honey (or Agave) in the bowl and allow the yeast to proof (become foamy) Add all the ingredients, including the "sponge," and mix on low speed until dough is fully developed.  Turn out onto a floured board and knead.
You could probably do the kneading in the KitchenAid if you change to the dough hook, but I like to knead by hand...gets out the stress!  Knead until dough is smooth.  Form into a ball.
Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled, 30-45 minutes.  Turn risen dough out onto the board and divide in half.  Spray two 9"x5" loaf pans with a non-stick oil spray.  Shape the dough into an oblong loaf and place in the pan.  Repeat with the second dough.
Cover with plastic wrap, that you spray with the non-stick oil spray and cover.  Let rise another 30 minutes.  Preheat oven 375F-degrees/convection (or 400F-degrees/conventional).  When loaves have doubled, use a sharp knife to score the top, mist with water and place in the oven.  Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a thermometer registers 190F-degrees in the center of the bread.  
Let cool completely before slicing.  Enjoy!

Meanwhile, start the soup...

Tomato Basil Soup
 2 (28 oz) cans Muir Glen Organic Whole Tomatoes
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T olive oil
14 oz. vegetable stock
1 T Dried Basil
2 tsp. (or more) Salt
Pepper to taste
3 cups Half & Half

In a large saucepan, heat oil.  Add the onion, garlic and carrots and saute.  Turn heat to med/low and cover the pan.  Check after 5 minutes, stir vegetables.  

Add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, Basil, and seasonings.  Stir well and cover once again.  Cook on med/low heat 15 to 20 minutes.

 Use an immersion blender (or use a regular blender and puree soup in small batches) to puree the mixture.
 It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to get it all to a pureed consistency.  Lower temperature to low.  Add the cream and stir thoroughly.  Heat for 5 to 7 minutes, but do it on low so you don't curdle the cream.  
I made my grilled cheese on a Panini maker--using Fontina and American cheese.  Enjoy! 


  1. I want to make this for dinner tonight, but I promised your little guy we would make muffins today :) I have a bunch of fresh blueberries, so I thought blueberry lemon muffins sounded good. I'll let you know how they turn out. I doubt they'll please as much as Mimi's :)

    Love you

  2. Of course they will; you know the secret ingredient...LOVE! Love you too, xoxo

  3. Add a side of honey mustard for my grilled cheese and these are my comfort foods : )
    Everything looks so delicious Susan!
    (Off to check your sidebar links...) Love you xoxo