You feel it happening. You can almost taste it. Sore throat, runny nose, congestion… yup, I have a cold. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days and when I’m sick, I immediately go back to being 8 years old. I want grape juice, grilled cheese sandwiches, and I want to watch movies all day on the couch. Typically, I don’t love to cook when I’m sick, but my tomato soup recipe is so easy, I was excited to get in the kitchen because I knew in about an hour, I’d have have a big, hot bowl of creamy tomato soup and a buttery, cheesy sammich for dunking. This makes 4 healthy servings, but you can absolutely double it and then freeze the rest. As for the grilled cheese, use any combo of cheeses just make sure it’s a good melting cheese. And I’m 100% ok with American cheese – no judgement here. Besides, that’s the kind of grilled cheese I had when I was 8 and it was heaven.
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more if you want it on the spicier side)
Pinch of sugar
10-12 basil leaves, plus a few extra for garnish
1 28-oz can high quality, whole peeled tomatoes (I was look for an Italian variety, like a San Marzano style)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt & pepper
Saute onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil until the onions start to slightly brown around the edges. Season with salt and pepper, add crushed red pepper (if using), pinch of sugar, and whole basil leaves. Saute for about 1 minute and add white wine. Let reduce for a few minutes before adding the can of tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes a little with a wooden spoon and let soup simmer for about 15 minutes. If it starts to look a little dry, you can add either water or stock to thin it out. Transfer soup in batches either to a high-powered blender or food processor and blend until very, very smooth. Add the pureed soup back to your pot, taste for seasonings, add cream and let simmer while you make your grilled cheese. Just before serving, add a healthy pinch of dried oregano, crushing it between your fingers. Garnish soup with thinly sliced basil and maybe a drizzle of a good finishing olive oil.
4 slices rustic white bread
Aged gruyere, grated
4 slices brie or triple cream cheese
Heat a non stick skillet, add 1 tablespoon each butter and olive oil to the pan. Assemble sandwiches – add some of the gruyere to one slice, 2 pieces of the brie, more gruyere, and then top with second slice of bread. Repeat with other sandwich. Gently place sandwiches in pan and cover. This is my trick to help cheese melt all the way through before the bread gets too toasty. Flip, let brown on other side. Once all the cheese has melted, remove from pan and set on a cutting board. Let the sandwiches chill for a couple of minutes before slicing (so all the cheese doesn’t ooze out!).