Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tomato Soup and Caprese Panini

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Soup is my go to food when it's cold outside. It's so warm and comforting. =o)
On Monday it was nice, but a bit cold outside, I felt like having soup and a sandwich. And my go to soup is always homemade tomato soup and a caprese panini.

When I was younger, growing up in an Asian home, I did not eat tomato soup as you can assume. =o) But I also never was curious about it. I thought it was really gross that people would eat tomatoes as a soup. So I never missed it. But who knew it was SO delicious!!!!
The first time I had it was in college, Rutgers, at the Busch dining hall. I know what your thinking, oh boy, she didn't like it. WRONG! It was ssssooooooo delicious!!!! I have been trying to find some place that made it that good ever since. After searching for a while, I decided to try and make my own. I had no idea what to expect, but all I had was a dream and my appetite. =o)
I pretty much found the recipe on the first try!! Yay me!

It is the EASIEST soup to make I think. =o)
So here it is! (With some changes of course. =o)

Creamy Tomato Soup
Adapted from
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in their juices, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and the juices
  • 3/4 to 1 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  1. Heat oil and butter in a medium to large sized pot over medium heat. Once butter foams, add onion and a big pinch of salt. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is completely soft and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  2. Add tomatoes and juices to the pan and stir to crush up tomatoes. Add broth or water and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Simmer until tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and allow soup to cool slightly. Carefully purée soup in a blender until smooth (you may have to do this in batches). Return soup to the stove over low heat and stir in cream. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  Now onto the PANINI!

The panini recipe is pretty much a basic caprese recipe. I didn't use one that I found since this panini is pretty simple, but also very versatile
Here is what I used. 
Mozzarella Caprese Panini
  • 2 slices nice crusty bread (1/2 inch thick)
  • olive oil (brushing)
  • 2 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 3 slices slicing tomato
  • salt
  • black pepper 
  • fresh basil leaves (Chopped, use as much or as little as you like)
1) Brush inside of the slices of bread with olive oil.
2) Layer the mozzarella on on side. Then layer the tomatoes. Add some salt and pepper. And then layer the basil on top.  

3) Close the sandwich and drizzle olive oil on one side. Turn the flame on the grill pan to medium-medium high. Place the oiled side down on the grill pan. (You can use a panini maker obviously, but I don't have one. I feel that it takes up too much room and I can make do with my grill pan, cast iron skillet, and some cans. =o))
4) Drizzle the other side with olive oil and place the skillet on top. Balance the skillet with cans. (This will press the panini down and give it nice grill marks.)
5)  After about 3-4 minutes, take the skillet and cans off and flip the panini. Place the skillet and cans back on top. (See the picture to the above of my make-shift panini maker.)
6)  Wait 3-4 minutes and then your panini should be done! Yum!

I would recommend making at least two sandwiches at a time if you are choosing my grill pan cast iron skillet method. The skillet tends to be off balance and a little too heavy for just one sandwich. I made only one once, and it squished it pretty flat. =o) It was delicious still, but flat. 
***You can add some grilled chicken in this, or some spinach, or whatever you'd like. As I said before it's pretty versatile. ***

I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!!! =o)

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