The Cheesecake Addiction

My Life in Food

Archive for the category “soup”

Grilled Cheese Panini

I don’t care who you are, where you come from, or how you old you are. There is always something magical about waking up in the morning to something like this:

*This is actually from the woods, not our bedroom window, BUT STILL>

*This is actually from the woods, not our bedroom window, BUT STILL>

And in December! Not two weeks from Christmas!

So, go on your Winter Wonderland hike.IMG_1282

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And then come home, because you have a grilled cheese panini and tomato soup to make.

But not before you play with your new, special toy.

But not before you play with your new, special toy.

And begin working on your three bevies for the evening.

And begin working on your three bevies for the evening.

A wintry day, tomato soup,  and a grilled cheese is a very nostalgic combo for us lovebirds. Two years ago, when we were in the early stages of our relationship, I might have blurted out “I LOVE YOU,” after seeing him put some blue cheese into the soup he was making me. Don’t worry, guys. I quickly recovered. Smooth as ever. Yeah.

So, we got out our panini press (that’s one thing we won’t have to register for down the line), and CDR set to work on those sannies. We brushed the italian bread with some olive oil, and topped it caprese-style: Mozzarella, fresh basil, tomatoes, and a drizzle of balsamic. And obvi, you’re gonna need some parmesan to go on top.

Look at those GARGANTUAN basil leaves!

Look at those GARGANTUAN basil leaves!

Cover the sandwich with the second piece of bread and brush the top with some olive oil. Then, you’re gonna want to put it on the panini press olive-oiled bread side down and now brush the top facing bread with oil. Press.IMG_1290

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While these babies got warm and gooey, I just heated up some good ol’ Trader J’s creamy tomato soup. We added freshly chopped basil to the soup, because really, if you AREN’T adding fresh basil to your tomato soup, I’m not really sure what you’re doing.

YUMMY!

YUMMY!

Gooey, grilled cheese panini!

Gooey, grilled cheese panini!

Serve.

Oh, and FOR SURE, plop down in front of ELF.

"The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!"

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is by singing loud for all to hear!”

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Recaps, Plans, and Bus Rides

Four. That’s how many Starbuck’s there are in the O’Hare American Airline terminal. Four. Just saying.

I’m writing this from the Peter Pan bus line, on my way to Woods Hole on Cape Cod. The flight passed without much incident, except for the bro-iest take-off ever and the bickering flight attendants. Already, as I settle into the familiar bus seats, I’m feeling a sense of ease wash over me. Going home (or at least one of my homes).

So, there quite a bit of food to recap. Earlier In the week, I made a huge pot of white bean and chicken soup with kale. See the process below. Start with onions, shallots, garlic and celery sautéing over medium-high heat in olive oil and butter. Also, add some fresh thyme and bay leaf to the mix. Salt and pepper as you go along. Add potatoes and the chicken (I let the chicken marinate in salt, pepper, paprika, cumin, and some cream for several hours). Next, to thicken I added about 1/4 cup of flour, stirred it in, and cooked it for a few minutes before deglazing the pan with some white wine. Add a can of crushed tomatoes and enough chicken stock to cover all the vegetables. Cook for about half an hour (until potatoes are cooked through). In the last ten minutes, add the white beans (2 cans) and some kale. Serve with delicious garlic, parm crostini. Yum.

CDR and I also made a home made pizza a few nights ago. We used one of those prepared store-bought crusts (whole wheat, thin crust). I doctored up some jarred red sauce with wine, chili pepper, and garlic. We spread the red sauce on the crust, leaving an acceptable border. Then we topped the red sauce with garlic, green peppers, broccoli (extra broccoli, extra good), and lots of fresh basil. Then came the cheese: mozzarella, Romano, and Parmesan. Sliced white onion, pepperoni, and even more fresh basil on top of that. Bake at 450 for about twelve minutes…and of course, garnish with basil.

For Saturday’s block party–CDR made bratwursts. He simmered them first in beer, peppers, and onions before I tossed them on the grill. We toasted up buns and served with some mustard seed cheddar cheese (find it at Trader Joe’s) and the peppers and onions. Pictures coming.

We also tried a wine called Vinho Verde at the request of thewinegetter. Thanks so much for that rec. It went very well with cheese and crackers. It also had a very nice effervescent quality, which typically I don’t like. But I liked it here…maybe because the wine wasn’t very sweet.

And breathe. There’s the food recap. I want to take a moment now to thank all my readers and followers (whether you’ve been here from day one or are a new follower). This blog has helped keep me sane. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, this summer is but a rough moment…but damn, it’s been a ROUGH. So thanks for coming back. You’re awesome. And please, follow in Mr. Winegetter’s footsteps and offer your culinary suggestions. I’d love to hear your thoughts and favorites.

I have a long bus ride ahead (not quite long enough to do any emotional damage), but with each passing mile, I’m getting closer to some peace of mind and an ocean. Thanks for stopping by.

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Pancetta

For my new ingredient this week, I decided to use pancetta—a cured meat very similar to bacon, but saltier and not smoked. I got a little help from Giada De Laurentiis for this recipe for tomato soup with pancetta. The result was a delicious, hearty soup.

First in a tablespoon of olive oil, you saute the pancetta until it is crisp (3 ounces, diced). Then add one small diced onion and cook till tender. Giada’s recipe calls for three slices of rye bread, cubed, but I’m not a fan of rye, so I used four slices of cubed italian bread. Add the bread to pancetta and onions and cook until golden brown and toasted. Next add 6 cups of chicken broth with one 28oz can of diced tomatos. With that add 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, 1/4 teaspoon of dried oregano and red pepper flakes, with salt and pepper to taste. Bring soup to a boil, then cover and simmer ten minutes. Giada’s recipe calls for a dollop of a mascarpone/sour cream mixture, but I didn’t do that because I had neither on hand.

The soup is versatile and next time I make it  I might add shredded chicken and/or cantelinni beans. It was great and the added depth of flavor I can only assume came from the pancetta. Thanks Giada!

On the menu tonight is steak!

Butternut Squash Bisque

Okay, so I didn’t really use any new ingredients, unless you count white pepper. I’m not sure I do, although it does have a more delicate flavor. For the bisque, I once again got out my Dutch Oven and heated olive oil and some butter.  Then in went a small yellow onion, diced. After about five minutes, I added in two chopped carrots and let those go another five minutes. Then I added chopped thyme and rosemary, about a tablespoon each, followed by two pounds chopped butternut squash. Another five minutes later, I added enough vegetable stock to just cover all the veggies. I covered the pot and simmered on medium-low heat about twenty minutes. Once the veggies were quite tender, in batches, I pureed them in the food processor. I must add that this was my first time using one, and it worked out quite well. All the squash being pureed and back in the pot, I added about 1/2-3/4 cup of heavy cream and some nutmeg. I simmered a few minutes longer, and then served in a bowl with some shredded pecorino romano cheese on top. It was very rich, but very good.

Also, I promise pictures will be up soon. I finally ordered a camera cord!

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