Archive for May 28th, 2011

May 28, 2011

Cheddar and Apple Grilled Cheese + Tomato Basil Soup

Inspiration for today’s lunch? Not that anyone needs a reason to make grilled cheese sandwiches and its perfect accompaniment, tomato soup, but I ordered this meal at a local cafe last week and for $12, I was less than impressed. One dimensional soup and what looked like packaged american cheese between two slices of heavily buttered Mr. Baird’s white bread.

Screw that. THIS is a bit more time consuming, but much more satisfying:


  • bread
  • 2 kinds of cheese, shredded/grated*
  • thinly sliced apples
  • butter

Preheat oven on 350-400F. Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place them, butter side down, on a non-stick frying pan heated on medium high. As it sizzles and browns, spread shredded cheese on each slice. Place sliced apples over the cheese of one slice of bread. Top with other slice of bread. Pop in oven and bake until apples warm through ~ 3-5 min.

*I used a sharp white cheddar mixed with a mild orange cheddar.

The second batch came out much thicker. Use more cheese! Also, green apples would’ve given a nice tart bite, but since I was using cheddar, which is already rather sharp, I wanted a sweeter apple to mellow it out. Here I used Gala.

adapted from Michael Chiarello’s recipe on

  • 1 can (14oz) of diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 small carrot, minced
  • 1 small stalk celery, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 4 or 5 fresh basil leaves, large
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Preheat oven to 450F
  2. Drain canned tomatoes from juice, set juice aside. On an aluminum lined oven pan, drizzle on ~ 1 tbs olive oil. Spread drained tomatoes over pan, rolling them to coat in oil. Distribute tomatoes evenly and as thinly over the pan as possible. Broil ~ 20 min to caramelize.
  3. Heat a small pat of butter over medium high heat in a small dutch oven/pot. *butter has a lower smoking point than olive oil. I actually keep a tub of homemade ghee in my fridge. That stuff never burns. Great for sauteing!
  4. Saute onions, carrots, celery, and garlic until soft ~10 min.
  5. Add roasted tomatoes, reserved tomato juice, chicken stock and bay leaf. Bring to a low boil, then reduce and simmer ~ 20 min.
  6. Basil CHIFFONADE: stack basil leaves on top of each other. Roll into a tube. Slice into ribbons from one end of tube to the other. Add to soup along with milk/cream.
  7. Remove bay leaves and process in food processor until smooth.
  8. Top with extra basil leaves for presentation.