Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Childhood Memories

The weather has taken a very crappy turn recently and we are having some definite winter weather before Thanksgiving, something that is very unusual in these parts. Cold, nasty weather coupled with very early sunsets thanks to our recent falling back are driving my desire for simple comfort foods. Ann's too. Our usual Monday morning conversation about dinner ended when Ann said, "I'd love a good grilled cheese and some tomato soup."

Grilled Cheese: Sexy Beast Isn't It?
Say no more! Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup take me back to childhood almost faster than anything else. This meal invokes or conjures memories of snow days off from school and hours of tobogganing in the back yard, frozen noses and wet clothes, snowball fights, and chasing the dogs through the snow, days well before children, mortgage payments, and innocence spoiled.

Awaiting Their Turn in the Pan
While I was out erranding, I bought a nice loaf of crusty bread containing a bit of semolina; I love what semolina does for the crunch of the bread after it has been toasted, or in this case, "grilled." And I also picked up a large double cream bloomed rind cheese, very similar to a Brie or Camembert, but one that is square for easy slicing for sandwiches.

Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese: Instant Comfort
The soup, I put together quickly by sweating a little mirepoix and garlic in butter with a touch of dried basil, then adding canned tomatoes, some heavy cream, and water and letting it all work while we watched a movie. After the movie was off, I blended the soup and adjusted the seasoning with salt, sriracha, fish sauce, white pepper, rice vinegar, and a touch of agave: the chef trick is to get the acid balance just so, so that all you get is bite after bite of creamy tomato goodness without it cloying your palate. Campbell's never did it so good!

An updated childhood memory: just what the doctor ordered for a cold winter day!

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