Sunday, January 25, 2015

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup and Italian Sammies

Cold weather means Soup Weather, but I love this soup so much that I make it in the hottest days of summer (when tomatoes are inexpensive and amazing) and put it away in my freezer for the cold months.  The sandwiches can also be assembled and frozen (before you grill them) and then you just put them on the panini press frozen.  Instant dinner makes me a happy Kate!

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

3 lbs of fresh tomatoes, halved (I used Romas, but use whatever looks the best)
6 cloves of garlic (or more), peeled (6 tsps. of crushed garlic in the jar will work too)
2 shallots, peeled and halved
2 yellow onions, sliced
1/3 cup olive oil (or any neutral oil of your choice)
1 box of chicken stock (or veggie)
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp. dried thyme)
1tsp. pepper red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
grated parmesan for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, onion, shallots, salt, and pepper.  Pour out onto two cookie sheets (cover them with parchment or foil, trust me).  Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.  Once you remove them from the oven, sprinkle the fresh thyme over the tomatoes.  Let the tomatoes sit until they are cool enough to handle.  Blend in batches with the chicken stock.  Pour into a large stock pot and heat through.  Add the cream and fresh basil, turn off the heat.  Serve with grated parmesan and fresh basil.

Yes, I used more than 6 cloves, but I am a garlic junkie!

Add the thyme onto the hot tomatoes to bloom the herb flavor,
but not over cook the thyme.
Carmelized goodness

Hello gorgeous, despite bad lighting :)

Italian Paninis with Parmesan Crust 

These sammies will make you happy!  Switch up what you put in them, the options are endless.  

8 large pieces of sourdough bread 
3oz pepperoni
3 oz hard salami
8 pieces pepperjack cheese 
sliced pepperoncinis
12 fresh basil leaves 
1/2 cup mayo or butter 
1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (for this volume, go with the green can, it's okay... I promise)

Preheat your panini grill.  Lay out your 4 slices of bread.  Layer with cheese (break each slice in half to cover the piece), layer the pepperoni and salami on top, then the basil, followed by the second piece of cheese and the top piece of bread. Spread the mayo (or butter) on top, pat on the parmesan, and place on the press the cheese side down.  Spread the other side with mayo (or butter) and cheese and close the press.  Grill for 5 minutes, until melty, browned goodness.