Monday, May 4, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Quinoa Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Tomato and Quinoa Soup with Grilled Cheese Sammich(updated from recipe archives)

My vegetarian friend complained that my blog has been leaning too far into carnivorism lately. I guess I have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone likes bacon food porn staring them in the face. To switch things up, I'm updating an oldie but a goodie.

Last time I made this soup, I spent a good half day slow roasting tomatoes but because tomatoes aren't in season yet, a good substitute is Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes. I finally got around to using the quinoa that's been sitting in my pantry since who knows when. Now I can cross off cooking quinoa for the first time off my list. I loved the texture and extra nutrition it added to the soup so I tried to convince Steven to let me add this superfood to our regular steamed rice. I can get away with sneaking whole wheat flour into baked goods and whole wheat pasta into spaghetti but messing with steamed rice? That was a no go.

Whenever I make tomato soup I have to make the obligatory grilled cheese sandwich. I debated if I should even bother posting a grilled cheese recipe. Short version: good bread + good cheese (my fav is Beecher's flagship, loooove it) + heat.

Long version (nothing groundbreaking)
- Use shredded cheese because it melts faster and evenly
- After I butter the bread, I pile on the shredded cheese and toast it slowly in a covered cast iron skillet over low or medium low heat. This way, the cheese has a chance to melt and the bread and butter won’t scorch.
- Sometimes if I'm feeling particularly unhealthy, I butter and toast one side, then flip over and butter and toast the second side and pile the cheese onto the first toasted side. Double butter, double delicious.
- If I feel fancy, I smear a little Dijon before adding the cheese, because I love Dijon.

Anyone have any other good sandwich making tips? (Don't say panini press because I don't have one and that makes me sad)

Roasted Tomato Soup with Quinoa
2 C roasted tomatoes (from 2 pounds tomatoes) or 2 cans of14.5 oz Muir Glen Fire Roasted Tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion or half a large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 - 3 C chicken stock or water, to taste
1/4 C quinoa, rinsed
1/4 C chiffonade* basil (optional)

*chiffonade right before using to prevent the basil from turning black

For Cream of Roasted Tomato Soup
- Add half a cup of heavy cream right after cooking

In a Dutch oven or large nonreactive saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the diced onions. Saute the onions until they are translucent and have softened. Add the minced garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Scrape the onion and garlic mixture into a blender and add the roasted tomatoes or cans of fire roasted tomatoes. Blend until completely smooth, add a little of the chicken stock or water if the mixture is too thick.

Return the puree into the saucepan, add the dried oregano, and the chicken stock or water. Simmer on low to medium low heat for 10 minutes, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, add more stock or water if it’s too tomatoey, and add the quinoa. Continue to simmer until the quinoa are cooked through and opened, about 10 – 15 minutes.

Off heat, stir in the chiffonade basil. For creamy soup, stir in the cream after simmering the soup. Add basil at this time too.

Roasted Tomatoes
3 lbs tomatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Slow Roasted (adapted from Alanna and Kalyn)
Cut the tomatoes in half and get rid of as many seeds as possible. In a bowl, toss the tomato halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the tomatoes on a parchment paper lined metal sheet pan or skip the parchment and use a pyrex glass dish.

Roast in the oven at 300 degrees for 6 or more hours, depending on how dry you want them. I only roasted them for about 6 hours because I wanted to keep them juicy since they were going into soup.

Fast Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Cut the tomatoes in half and get rid of as many seeds as possible. In a bowl, toss the tomato halves with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Arrange the tomatoes on a parchment paper lined metal sheet pan (do not use a pyrex in such high temps). Roast until the tomatoes start to color, about 30 minutes.

After roasting the tomatoes are easily peeled off. I forgot to peel them but the skins pureed in the blender and were not an issue.

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