I know… I promised a pictorial review of snuffing my favorite garden vegetable but….
In Alaska, we’re having a hurricane outside, well not really, but it is blowing a gale and raining. With that, I’m moved to write about my evening comfort food.
All it took was a simple Facebook post and an “Oo, oo, oo that sounds good!!!” and I’m off like a crazy woman…dubbing it “Not-So-Tomato Soup and gooey grilled cheese”.
Channeling a little Rachel Ray, I grab all of my crap out of the fridge at once and pile it on the counter.
Then dig an 8 oz frozen bag of my own veggie stock out of the freezer…. (aka “juice a whole bunch of veggies you’re tired of dealing with and cook it until you all most forget about it” the idea was stolen from Michele at b organic)
I’ll start here.
In the bottom of the stockpot, olive oil and half a large onion chopped and sweating.
In goes about ¾ of a cup of grated carrot… and about the same amount of diced red bell pepper. I’m just guessing here, I’m working with fixings from our baked potato bar night.
Garlic….three cloves…no need to dirty the press, just a rough chop to expose the garlicky goodness.
A few minutes for everyone to get to know each other, this is where the beautiful dance of flavors begins.
I am the girl that believes medium high heat for EVERYTHING is a nice balance between “getting the job done in a timely manner” and racing to keep things from burning. 🙂
See, it’s a game, if I turned down the heat I would lose…and I hate losing. 😀 ***Yes, I am a dork***
One can of chicken stock….POOF it’s a hot tub party!! Whoo Hoo!!!
Pop the frosty stock out the zippy bag and bloop….into the pot.
And of course….It’s a party killer… like the cops just showed up and you don’t know what you did with your pants. 😀 ***snicker***
On to the bland and boring:
One can of diced tomatoes and one can of tomato sauce
Simmer… taste…and a LITTLE on the acidic side and not sweet enough. I am going for Campbell’s…..but with REAL food. So how do I sweeten it up without adding sugar? Another half of a sweet bell pepper, yellow this time to change it up a bit; rough chop.
While simmering to soften the pepper, in goes a tablespoon of chili powder and a teaspoon of salt.
I can hear it now…” I don’t need to put salt in my food” Well….blah, blah, BLAH! I cry BS!
If you don’t put salt in your food then you’re either eating bland CRAP, in denial by not paying attention to your seasonings, using a hell of a lot of high sodium sauces OR you’re addicted to celery. Either way, we need a certain amount of salt in food in order to discern from one flavor from another…I swear. I made this seafood chowder once……………Oh, never mind.
Off the heat …and the soapbox……maybe.
Once all has cooled down (stopped boiling), pour the whole kit and caboodle into the blender.
Now, PLEASE DO NOT make the same dumb ass mistake I’ve seen so many of those high dollar chiefs make by putting hot liquid in a blender and lettin’ her rip. Let this little house wife from ALASKA explain; when you put steaming hot liquid in a container, under a lid, and agitate it, pressure builds…..and IT FREAKING EXPLODES!!!! HELLLOOOOO???!!!
Crack the lid away from you and hold it down, better to be safe than sorry. 😮 No need to be cleaning soup off the ceiling. Then… low and slow, gently add speed until the veggies are well-blended and silky smooth.
Return to the stockpot over low flame to keep warm until the sandwiches are ready to plate.
Buttering one side of the wheat bread, add two slices of ham to the dry side with a slice and a half of cheddar. For a little extra kick, also add a thin slice of Wasabi infused Gouda; oh, it’s just delish I tell ya. Flip another bread slice on top, butter side up, and slip the whole thing on to a hot grill pan.
I LOVE my cast iron griddle, its perfect for making cheese sandwiches.
…and this is where I need more practice, or need someone else to take over, I am notorious for burning grilled cheese sandwiches…ya, I know, turn the freakin’ heat down. I know, I KNOW! It’s just a thing…
🙂 The morning after…
…sticking my finger in the refrigerated container of soup this morning, I would leave out the teaspoon of salt. Yes, I can admit it… It was a mistake. I have a tendency to forget about the stock, or in some cases, it’s been when cooking with bacon too. However, I still stand by my salt rant.
Oh, and I would thin the soup out a tad with a little water. You play with it and let me know.