Sometimes, I find great comfort in total simplicity. Rain hitting the window on a Sunday morning, hand holding, a new pair of socks. All of these things provide a sense of certainty. You know exactly what you’re going to get and in that you can find total peace.
I think I’ve been needing that the past few weeks because things have been utterly crazy. I’ve been getting home from work after 7 pm most weeknights and each weekend this month we’ve either had visitors or have been travelling or have had some other major event. Namely, two bridal showers were thrown in my honor over the last two Saturdays. Both were very lovely…a great opportunity to see family and friends that I otherwise might not. And, of course, I’ve recieved a treasure-trove of amazing gifts. But along with all the fun and excitement is the feeling of being the center of attention, having everyone’s eyes on you. Then theres the part where you realize that your little 1-bedroom condo is bursting at the seams and the pile of amazing new gadgets and gizmos sitting in the middle of your living room are probably going to have to stay there…indefinitely. And that you haven’t cleaned your bathroom in 3 weeks, your blogroll is so backed up its hopeless and you just put on your last pair of clean underwear. Oh, and you have to travel out of town for a wedding this weekend…and don’t have anything to wear.
My point is that, at times, everyone feels overwhelmed and that’s when the simplest answer is often the best. In the case of dinner…I’ve found one of the simplest answers to be tomato soup and grilled cheese. This is one of those endlessly adaptable meals thats also totally reliable and completely easy.
I’ve seen JiT pop open a can of regular ole’ Cambell’s tomato and grill a piece of Kraft American between a couple of slices of Wonder bread and be totally content. Not my first choice, but in a pinch, I see the appeal.
I prefer my cheese to be sharp cheddar, toasted on wheat bread. And for the tomato soup, I usually make mine homemade. Depending on how “from scratch” you want to go, tomatoe soup can range from very easy and quick to rather complex and time consuming. I’m going to post a couple of recipes over the next few days, starting with the most complicated and getting easier as we go along.
And I’d love to hear about your favorite soup/sandwich combo. Do you have an awesome homemade tomato soup recipe? Or even just a favorite canned brand to share (I like Trader Joes Tomatoe Bisque).
From-Scratch Roasted Tomato-Red-Pepper Bisque
4-5 large tomatoes, cored and quartered
1 small onion, quartered
1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, skin removed
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 small call tomato sauce
1/4 cup half & half
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450. Cover a large baking sheet with foil and arrange the tomatoes, onion, pepper and garlic on the sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with italian seasonings, salt & pepper. Place tray in the center of the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until pepper and tomatoe skins start to blacken. Remove from oven and let them cool enough to touch. Remove as much of the blackened skin from the peppers and tomatoes as possible and discard.
Dump all of the vegetables and juices into a large saucepan or stockpot. Add tomato sauce. Puree the mixture until smooth and evenly combined, using a stick blender (alternately, you can pour the vegetables and tomatoe sauce in a regular blender to puree, then transfer to the the stockpot). Place pot over medium heat and heat soup until warm. Add the half & half and season with additional salt & pepper to taste. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches, a cozy blanket and a favorite movie.