February 10, 2010

dinner for a snowy day

It was supposed to snow a lot in Boston so I thought I'd make the classic cold day meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese. It didn't end up snowing much but I wasn't about to change my dinner menu. Oh and I threw in a side of chocolate chip cookies just because I'm awesome/gross like that.

I used this recipe from Michael Chiarello which was pretty easy to follow. I don't even like tomato soup but I really liked this recipe. If you leave the cream out and go lighter on the oil (3/4 of a cup is excessive) then the recipe is pretty healthy.

  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (I didn't use this much oil - it just seemed like too much)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1 small carrot, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth (I used vegetable broth instead)
  • 1 bay leaf (I didn't use this)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, optional (I used cream and it was really good but did add a lot of richness to the recipe)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Strain the chopped canned tomatoes, reserving the juices, and spread onto a baking sheet, season with salt and pepper, to taste, drizzle with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and roast until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the celery, carrot, onion and garlic, cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the roasted chopped canned tomatoes, reserved tomato juices, chicken broth, bay leaf and butter. Simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add basil and cream, if using (I simmered for about 45 minutes since I had time before our friends came over and I think this helped the flavors come out even more). Puree with a hand held immersion blender until smooth.

I've never used a hand held blender like this and it was AWESOME! I want to use this amazing little gadget a lot more now.

For the grilled cheese:


  • Loaf of sourdough
  • Butter (to butter bread and coat pan)
  • Cheese - any kind you want. I used pepperjack and cheddar.
I know everyone knows how to make grilled cheese but for the hell of it I'll write directions. Slice the loaf of sourdough and butter one side of each slice. Cut the cheese (ha ha) into slices and place between two slices of bread (on the non buttered side).

Heat a skillet with butter (med-high) and grill sandwiches. I pressed the sandwiches down with another skillet just to help the cheese melt a little.
For the cookies I used the classic tollhouse recipe.


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) chocolate chip cookies
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (I didn’t use any nuts this time)


Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Hope you are staying warm!

*All images via flickr (click on the links below pictures for sources)



  1. Looks delicious, I'll have to try the soup, I never make soups and I see so many people making them around the blogs... I think I have to start,
    gorgeous food! xo

  2. I love tomato soup, especially good if you dip grilled cheese sandwich bread. I must try this recipe!


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