On Thursday, I attended a happy hour social for work in downtown Seattle. The event was held at RN74, a restaurant on Pike and 4th. The organizers ordered various appetizers for the table, all of which were delicious. One of the dishes served was grilled cheese bites and tomato soup fondue. What a great idea! It was a hit among all of the attendees, and I knew Jacob would love it. The next day, I searched for some recipes online and came across Jackie's awesome blog. Printed out the tomato soup fondue recipe, purchased ingredients, and made it for lunch today. As the original post did not come with a grilled cheese recipe, I am including my own simple one. In addition, I halved the original tomato soup recipe and made a few modifications to it - I am also including my slightly modified recipe below. The original recipe was published by Parade magazine in August 2000, and can be found on Jackie's blog here. She has a lot of other great posts too so check it out!
Tomato soup prior to blending/straining + grilled cheese before I chopped them into bits!
Jacob picked fresh lettuce from the garden for our salads. =) Also, it's berry season. Our feast!
One sandwich for each of us, cut up and ready for fondue.
Grilled Cheese Bites and Creamy Tomato Soup Fondue
Creamy Tomato Soup Fondue
1 tbsp butter (I used Smart Balance)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp flour**
1 3/4 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped (I used 7 roma tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp sugar
1.5 cups vegetable broth (I used "Not Chickn" brand vegan broth)
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fat free half-and-half
**Due to an unfortunate flour mishap, I actually ended up using bisquick instead. Heh. Worked out ok.
1. Melt the butter with the oil over low heat in a pot.
2. Add the onion;wilt over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic during the last 2 minutes, stirring. Sprinkle with flour and cook 3 minutes longer, stirring.
3. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover; cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Season with cloves, salt, and pepper. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
4. Puree the soup in a blender (or food processor). Pour through a strainer into a pot. Stir in the half-and-half.
5. Warm the soup before serving.
Grilled Cheese Bites
8 slices of cheddar cheese*
8 slices of bread (I used Country Oven sourdough French bread)
Butter, to spread (I used Smart Balance)
*Jacob loves cheese so I made these very cheesy (I used even more than what is listed here)... but of course it all depends on your preference.
1. Butter one side of each slice. Place the slices on a flat pan over the stove with the buttered side facing down. Turn on the stove to medium heat. Cook until the bottom side of each slice is slightly toasted.
2. Place cheese slices on four of the bread slices - two slices of cheese per slice of bread. For the four remaining bread slices, flip them over with a spatula and stack one on each cheesy bread slice to form sandwiches.
3. Press down on each sandwich lightly with the spatula to make sure the sandwich sticks together. Cook until cheese melts and the bottom is lightly browned. Flip over and cook until other side is lightly browned.
4. Remove from heat. Please sandwiches on a cutting board and carefully cut each sandwich into at least 12 even pieces with a steak knife.
Serve everything warm. Enjoy!!