Friday, June 10, 2011

THE BEST Tomato Soup and THE BEST Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I am going to go out on a limb here and say that tomato soup and grilled cheese should be in the top 5 for best meals ever. I don’t know if they make number one spot (that’s got to be pierogies and Ukrainian sausage in my books) but they are pretty close.  There is something about eating the middle out of a gooey grilled cheese sandwich and then dunking the crusts in the tomato soup that just makes me feel good. (Life is about enjoying the small things.)
You can use regular store bought tomato soup and spice it up with some added onions and bacon but to truly experience THE BEST Tomato Soup and THE BEST Grilled Cheese Sandwiches you have to make the soup from scratch.
Sue discovered the best tomato soup recipe a few years ago via her mother-in-law. Now every year she and dad spend a day (or two) making several batches for the family.  It’s a little messy and time consuming but once you have tasted it you will never go back to store bought.
Concentrated Tomato Soup

12.5 lbs tomatoes, skin removed (2.5 ice cream buckets full)
6 onions, quartered
1 bunch parsley (a good handful)
1 head celery (leaves and all), roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
¾ cup flour
½ cup sugar
¼ cup salt
½ lb butter (1 cup)
½ tsp cayenne
Boil first 6 ingredients for 2 hours. (Bring to a boil then simmer on low to medium) Strain by pressing mixture through a sieve.  Remember to strain over a large pot so you keep the liquid. That’s the good stuff. Place this mixture back in a large pot over medium heat. 
Sift flour, sugar, cayenne, and salt together, set aside.
In a separate medium pot, melt butter over medium heat. When butter is melted, stir in dry ingredients. Add a ladle full of strained liquid to the roux and stir until smooth. Add another 4 – 5 ladles full of liquid and stir until blended. Pour this mixture back into the remaining strained tomato liquid in the larger pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth.
Pour hot liquid into sterilized jars. Seal with canning lids.
Process jars in hot water bath for 20 minutes.
When preparing the finished, canned soup – add equal parts milk or water to the amount of soup you are using. IE: Dump the jar of soup in a pot, fill up the empty soup jar with milk and dump that into the pot!

As for the grilled cheese, you can’t just slap two pieces of bread together with a piece of cheese in the middle. That just doesn’t work. You have to follow this recipe and you will be in grilled cheese heaven. (Okay, you don’t HAVE to...but you should)
THE BEST Grilled Cheese Sandwich
2 slices of bread
(We prefer whole grain for the texture it adds, but you can use your favourite)
2 slices of processed cheese (Or, as I like to call it, plastic cheese)
(You can use whichever cheese you like but plastic cheese adds the best gooeyness)
1 Tbsp of garlic butter (Recipe below)
3 slices of pre-cooked bacon
1 thin slice of onion
Spread garlic butter on both slices of bread. Put 1 piece of plastic cheese on a slice of bread, layer - bacon, onion, second piece of cheese, and second slice of bread. (The secret is to make sure your bacon and onions are spread evenly amongst the sandwich so as to ensure an even bacon/onion to cheese per bite ratio. Who knew a grilled cheese was so complex?)
 - Sue here, I just wanted to say two things. (1) don't put the garlic butter on the outside of the bread - it will burn. (2) If you have a husband like mine who doesn't like garlic then for Pete's sake DO NOT put the garlic butter on at all or you will be forced to listen to the complaining all through dinner. Just warning you.

Garlic Butter
 1 cup of room temp butter
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, minced
¼ tsp garlic salt
Optional: ½ Tbsp Oh! So Garlic (From Sunset Gourmet Foods)
Stir all together until smooth. Spread on things that need garlic. Enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. Lost me on the tomato soup BUT grilled cheese is my all time fav lunch. Just ask my coworkers. I had it almost everyday last school year.