I’m not feeling well today. December seems to really be kicking my ass. My throat hurts and I feel like I’m a day or two away from a really hideous cold. Its a terrible place to be since I know there isn’t a whole lot I can do to stop this sickness train I seem to be on. Gross, right?
Obviously I use food for comfort. I bake cookies if I’m having a stressful week, even if it’s 10pm and I have to get up early the next day. I look for complicated recipes to keep me busy during insane Frankenstorm–acts-of-god. And, as much as I try and fight it, on a day like today, when I feel lethargic and sniffly, I turn to my favorite comfort food: grilled cheese and tomato soup. Usually its out of a can and I don’t mind that at all. Today, though, at noon when I was still in my pajamas (still am in my pajamas…) I decided to make my own tomato soup.
I tend to shy away from soups in general because for a long time any soup I attempted was super (soup-er!) watery and not very tasty. At this point, I think my culinary skills are developed enough that I know the best ingredients and seasoning to use so that my soup doesn’t end up tasting like vegetable flavored water. I would have made a minestrone soup today but that ingredient list was really long and involved a lot of vegetables that I didn’t get at the farmer’s market yesterday, so tomato soup had to be it.
I’m a huge fan of San Marzano tomatoes so I almost always have a can in my pantry. The tomatoes are just better. They are pretty much the only canned tomatoes I use because I’m a snob and also because they taste more like tomatoes. After trying San Marzano, any other canned tomato is like eating a tomato in January. There is a tomato-like quality to it, but it doesn’t taste as wonderful as an August tomato. For something like tomato soup, where tomatoes are the featured ingredient, I go for the best.
I can also be pretty particular about my grilled cheese. Evan taught me a trick when we first started dating about how to get the cheese to be really gooey and stringy when you make a grilled cheese: add mayo. I was totally grossed out at first, but once I realized that you can’t taste the mayo, I was converted. Your cheese just oozes out of the sandwich and makes you feel like you’re in a kraft singles commercial but without the plastic cheese.
My soup came out really well. It wasn’t as salty or heavy as the canned stuff and the carrots, celery, and onion (my mirepoix, thanks Michael Symon) really added flavor to the soup. It was like a tomato/vegetable soup, instead of a tomato cream soup, which I appreciated since it makes me feel better about my caloric intake for December.
I hope you feel better than I do today. If not, try the soup. If you do, come down to Fontana’s tonight at 8 to see me hit the high notes (or seriously attempt to!) with Loose Interpretations.
2 small carrots, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 28 oz. can San Marzano tomatoes (I used crushed, but you could use diced or whole as well)
1 quart chicken broth (I prefer low sodium)
1 cup whole milk
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
Add carrots, celery, and onion and salt. Saute until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic and thyme, cook until fragrant, about one minute.
Add wine and stir until mostly absorbed, about one minute
Add tomatoes and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to allow the soup to simmer for 35 minutes.
Pour in cream and stir, allow to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Using an immersion blender, puree soup to desired consistency. (You can also do this by transferring the soup in small batches to a standing blender, but that terrifies me).
Serve with Grilled Cheese
Bread of your choice
Cheese (I prefer swiss or munster)
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on both slices of bread. Place desired amount of cheese between the bread. Grilled on a pan or George Foreman Grill (it’s like a panini press!)