Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Amy's Cooking Adventures

Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Hearty Roasted Tomato Soup


Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



Today's Tuesday Tutor: Amy's Cooking Adventures

My tutor today is Amy from Amy's Cooking Adventures, and in case the above picture isn't clue enough, Amy's blog is filled with adventurous and comforting home-cooked meals. Every time I visit her blog, I feel like I've stepped into a warm family kitchen - where food is really about family and meals are really about sharing time together. And that's really what cooking and food should always be about anyway...

And in case you're staring at those floating croutons in that luscious red tomato soup and wondering - "Are those mini grilled cheese sandwiches?!" - let me assure you that yes indeed those are mini grilled cheese sandwich croutons. And yes, they are delicious! Pop over to Amy's Cooking Adventures for this and many other unique and creative home-cooked meals.

About the Author
  1. "Despite the fact that I don’t really like to run, I’ve completed two 5k races this summer (with a pretty decent time) and I’m thinking of running a few more."
  2. "I’m also a Zumba Instructor. I feel like it helps counteract all the desserts that I can’t stop eating."
  3. "I didn’t cook much growing up, but I learned the importance of a family meal from my mom (and once I started cooking, I e-mailed her for all those recipes!)"
  4. "I inherited my love of baking from my Grandma (and I just got her delicious recipe for buns this past Thanksgiving!)"
  5. "I’m terrified of heights, but I love roller coasters."
Photo Courtesy of Amy's Cooking Adventures



Original recipe courtesy of Amy's Cooking Adventures

Roma Tomatoes
It should be no surprise, this recipe starts with fresh tomatoes. You'll need about 11 ripe medium
roma tomatoes (or more if the romas are small). Give them a good rinse and preheat your oven
to 350F for roasting these little beauties

Coring Roma Tomatoes
I like to core my roma tomatoes before I quarter and remove the seeds

Roma Tomoato Quarters with Seeds Removed
Cut each roma in quarters, lengthwise. Then use your fingers to squish out the seeds into a
separate bowl. You'll end up with over a cup of tomato seeds and juice. Removing the juice
and seeds helps ensure the tomatoes will roast rather than simply turn to a juicy mess in the oven

Roma Tomato Quarters with Seeds Removed
Add your de-seeded roma quarters to a half sheet pan

Sprinkling Olive Oil over Roma Tomatoes
Sprinkle with a little olive oil - I used about 2 teaspoons

Roma Tomatoes Seasoned with Salt and Pepper
Sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked black pepper - I used about 1/2 teaspoon of each. At this
point, you could also add other herbs of your choice such as basil or oregano

Tomatoes Spread out on Sheet Pan
Spread out the tomato quarters on the half sheet pan and pop them in your preheated oven.
Let them roast for 1 hour, turned them over with a spatula every 15 minutes

Roasted Roma Tomato Pieces
You'll arrive at roasted tomato goodness - the base for your delicious soup

Olive Oil in Enameled Cast Iron
During the last 15 minutes of the romas roasting, you can start on the rest of the soup. Add
a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a pot and heat while you prepare the other ingredients

Peeled Large Carrot
First you'll need a big carrot

Carrot on Dicer
Dice up the carrot - I used a dicer gadget for this because I think it's easier than dicing by hand

Small Onion, Peeled and Halved
Next comes a small onion, peeled

Onion Slice on Dicer
Just dice that up (again, I like the dicer gadget method)

Carrots and Onions Sauteeing
Add the carrot and onion to the hot oil and sautee for about 8 minutes until softened

Large Clove of Garlic, Peeled
Next comes garlic - you'll need about 1 teaspoon which is about 1 large clove. And yes, I
used yet another gadget, my garlic press =)

Roasted Tomatoes Added to Onions and Carrot
Once the garlic has sautéed with the carrot and onion for about a minute, add your roasted
roma tomatoes to the pot

Cooked Garbonzo Beans
Next comes the sneaky star of this soup - garbanzo beans. Since I don't like to use canned
ingredients, I cooked these beans in the slow cooker the day before.

Garbonzo Beans
You'll need about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans which is about 3/4 cup dry

Garbonzo Beans Added to Pot
Add the beans to the pot

Homemade Vegetable Stock
Next comes vegetable stock. You could use a good organic vegetable stock at this point, but
since I make my own and freeze it, I chose to defrost some homemade stock. You'll need
3 cups of stocks for this

Adding Vegetable Stock
Add the stock to the pot and crank the heat to medium high so that everything begins to heat
through and come to a boil.

3 Cups Homemade Marinara Sauce
Next comes tomato sauce - I used 3 cups of homemade marinara from the freezer

Tomato Soup Ready to Simmer
Add the tomato sauce to the soup and give everything a big stir. I really recommend adding
some fresh herbs at this point. The next time I made this soup, I'm going to try it with basil and
parsley, a good good handful of each.

Simmering Tomato Soup
Just bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes

Sliced Homemade Baguette
While the soup simmers away, you can prep the ingredients for your mini grilled cheese
sandwich croutons. It starts with thinly sliced baguette bread (I used a homemade baguette
for this part). I found 2 mini grilled cheese sandwiches per bowl of soup was about right. That
equaled 4 slices of bread for 1 bowl of soup.

Sliced Aged Sharp Cheddar Cheese
You'll also need sliced cheddar cheese. I used aged sharp cheddar but you could use any cheese
you especially love. When I made these again, I plan to use two slices of cheese per sandwich
instead of just one - I wanted more cheddar flavor...

Olive Oil for Brushing over Baguette Slices
Pour a little olive oil into small dish so that you're ready to brush each piece of bread with
oil before toasting. Just don't brush them yet because you don't want them to become soggy
while you're waiting on the soup.

Blending Tomato Soup with Immersion Blender
Once the soup has simmered away for 10 minutes or so, it's time to puree. If you have an
immersion blender hand wand, now is the time to use it. If not, you can always use a heat-
safe blender and puree the soup in batches

Pureed Tomato Soup
The garbanzo beans tend to be a little chalky, so let the soup cook for another minute or
two while you finish the mini grilled cheese croutons.

Baguette Slices Brushed with Olive Oil
Position a rack in your oven beneath the boiler and turn on the broiler element of your oven.
Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil and place them half the slices on a baking
sheet, oiled side down.

Slice of Cheddar Cheese on Each Baguette Slice
Top each slice of bread baguette with cheese

Sandwiches Topped with Garlic Powder
Now place the second slice of baguette on top of the sandwich, oiled side up. Sprinkle
with some garlic powder and you're ready to toast

Toasting Grilled Cheese Under Broiler
Slide the baking sheet under the broiler and toast the sandwiches on either side for 15-30 seconds
Watch the sandwiches carefully! They burn really fast...

Toasted Grilled Cheese Croutons
Remove the sandwiches and you're ready to eat. 

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons
Ladle some of this roasted tomato goodness into a bowl and top with your mini grilled cheese
croutons - and chow down

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • Chow down immediately! As delicious as mini grilled cheese croutons may be, they do not survive in the soup for more than a few minutes before they're good and soggy on the bottom. So unless you enjoy soggy grilled cheese, don't add them until you're at the table with a spoon in hand
     
  • Add generous amounts of herbs - I love tomato sauces over pasta or in lasagna, but I'm not as big a fan of a bowl just tomato flavor (no matter how delicious). However, the brightness of fresh herbs like basil and parsley can really cut through the intensity of the tomato, so I recommend adding a good handful of your favorite chopped herbs
     
  • The garbanzo beans are a brilliant addition to this soup because they turn a side-soup into a main entree with extra protein, fiber, and carbs. This soup is a great meal-in-one dish and perfect for those cold fall days when you really want something to warm the soul
     
  • Once you place the mini grilled cheese sandwiches under the broiler, watch them EXTREMELY close - they will burn in seconds! My sandwiches took less than 30 seconds on each side and 10 seconds too long on one side left me with a bit too much black crust :(

10 comments:

  1. I love tomatoes! This looks really good - and hearty! Even though it is summer out, a tomato soup sounds so good!

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  2. If you love tomatoes then I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy the soup - it's all about the tomatoes. And yeah, hot soup isn't always the first thing that comes to mind on a hot day, but I still really enjoyed it ;)

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  3. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)July 10, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Another great Tuesday Tutor!! I adore Amy, too :)

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  4. mjskit @ mjskitchen.comJuly 11, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    I love a good tomato soup and I've never had one with chickpeas! Interesting! Definitely a side of grill cheese works perfectly, and I would make it a side because I do not like soggy bread. Great recipe and wonderful tutorial!!! Good learning about Amy. Did not know her.

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  5. I can't take credit (chickpeas were all Amy's idea) but I love the addition of chickpeas to the soup because it really does make it more hearty. And healthier because no cream is really needed...

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  6. This soup sound scrumptious and the croutons just insane! When my tomatoes get plentiful, this is the firs thing I am making! YUMMY! Thanks for joining ON THE MENU MONDAY with this GREAT culinary tutorial!

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  7. I'm glad you enjoyed and post and I hope you do get a chance to try this soup - just don't let the croutons get soggy! Thanks so much for hosting On the Menu - it was a pleasure to be included...

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  8. Wow, it's tomato season here! I know what I'm going to try!! Please stop by and link this to Foodie Friday

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  9. Thanks so much for inviting me and happy to link up :)

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