Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

You'll have to forgive the camera-battery-dying-hungry-family-waiting-not-so-great picture of the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup. When the first cool fronts of the season bring rainy gray skies, it's time for comfort food. Many moons ago Josh and I worked at The Funky Art Cafe in Brenham, Texas. The owner, Connie, was famous for her Grown-Up Grilled Cheese. Every three months she'd completely change the cafe's menu, and always featured a seasonal grilled cheese sandwich. Crisp, buttery panini bread, and a sophisticated blend of cheeses - no American cheese here. The tomato soup is my own special combination of recipes I've loved over the years. I've trimmed a lot of the fat (omitted the heavy cream most recipes call for) and added a few surprises.

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

1 loaf of your favorite panini bread (our favorite is Panera's Tomato Basil)
Boursin cheese (usually found near the goat cheese)
Smoked Gouda, sliced
Medium Cheddar, sliced

Assemble sandwiches on a large cookie sheet. Spread a generous amount of Boursin cheese on one side of all slices of bread you'll use. Layer Smoked Gouda and Medium Cheddar slices on one piece of bread per sandwich pair. Place piece of bread without cheese slices on top of the other slice. Melt a small pat of butter in a small non-stick skillet, if you have a grill or panini press use it instead. Grill sandwiches until golden brown and inside cheese are melted. If you're cooking in a skillet you will need to flip the sandwich halfway through cooking. If the cheeses do not melt completely, microwave for 20 seconds before serving. If you are preparing a lot of sandwiches, put the finished ones in a 200 degree oven until you're ready to serve. Experiment with your own cheese blends!

Tomato Soup

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, quartered
3 slices of bacon, chopped
1 Tablespoon olive oil
6 large tomatoes OR 2 28-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 14-oz can tomato paste
1 14-oz can chicken stock
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
5 thyme sprigs, left whole OR 5 basil leaves, chopped
white pepper
sea salt

In a large stock pot heat olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and bacon. Saute until bacon is crispy and onion and garlic are tender. Add remaining ingredients, stirring frequently. Simmer 15 minutes. If using fresh thyme sprigs, remove. Use an immersion blender until soup reaches desired consistency. If you don't have an immersion blender, carefully ladle soup into a regular blender and pulse gently. Return soup to pot and simmer 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Serve with Grown-Up Grilled Cheese sandwiches, great for dipping!


  1. Oh I love grown up grilled cheese sandwiches!! And I love boursin cheese so I'll have to try these!

  2. Mmmmmmm!

    So much better than crappy college food. What's your delivery charge? Domino's is less than $2 but I'm willing to go up to $5 ;)