Creamy Tomato Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese “Bone” Sandwiches

Creamy Tomato Soup with Mini Grilled Cheese “Bone” Sandwiches

Our “not so scary Blood and Bones” themed Halloween dinner has a delicious bowl of homemade tomato soup served with mini grilled tomato “bone” sandwiches. Quick and easy to make, it’s the perfect festive dinner before heading out to your Halloween celebrations.

INGREDIENTS
Tomato Soup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped fine
1 carrot, grated
1 large clove garlic, chopped fine
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup white wine, we prefer Pinot Grigio
3 cups no salt chicken stock
28-oz. can purée San Marzano tomatoes
1 4-inch fresh rosemary stem
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup of cream

Grilled Cheese “Bones”
8 large pieces of country white bread
8 sandwich slices of cheese, fontina, mozzarella, cheddar or your favorite melting cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Bone shaped cookie cutter

DIRECTIONS
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic, occasionally stirring, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and stir to coat the vegetables and garlic. Add the wine and cook until the wine is almost completely evaporated. Add the stock, tomatoes, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a strong simmer, stirring, so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 minutes.

While the soup cooks, make the grilled cheese “bones.” Cut 16 bone shapes out of the bread. Cut 8 bone shapes out of the cheese. Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Thinly spread the butter over one side of each 16 bone shaped bread. Place 8 in the sauté pan and top with one piece of cheese. Place the other bone shaped piece on top of the cheese, butter side up, as the cheese begins to melt. When browned, turn over and cook the other side until also browned. Remove from the sauté pan and keep warm while you finish the soup.

To finish the soup, discard the rosemary stem and add 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of black pepper. Using an immersion blender, purée the soup or use a blender or food processor and puree in two or three batches. Return the soup to the pot, whisk in 1 cup of cream and reheat to warm. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add to 4 warmed bowls. Add two “bones” per bowl of soup.

Make 4 servings.

Kentucky Oaks Brunch

The Friday before the Kentucky Derby is always quite an event day in Louisville, Ky. It’s the day of the Kentucky Oaks, a famous horse race run at Churchill Downs for the 3-year old Fillies. Fresh Chef Experience was so honored to have been chosen to prepare a Kentucky Oaks Brunch, as part of an auction item sold at the Kentucky Julep Ball, in support of the James Graham Brown Cancer Center located in Louisville, Ky. The brunch was held at the beautiful home of Martha and Ron Wolford on the morning of Friday, May 2nd in Prospect, Ky. Famous athletes were in attendance along with ladies in beautiful dresses and hats. I wish we could have taken photos of the food (and the beautiful attendees!) but we were so busy we just ran out of time. Here is the menu; who knows, these items may appear on our upcoming Breakfast and Brunch Experiences!

Kentucky Oaks Brunch, Friday, May 2nd at the home of
Martha Brown Wolford and Ron Wolford

Country Ham and Gruyere Cheese Quiche
Butter crust with egg & cream filling, sauté country ham and Gruyere cheese

Three Mushroom Quiche with Comte cheese
Sauteed shitake, cremini and oyster mushrooms in a butter crust with egg and cream filling

Kentucky Bib Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette
Dried cherries, roasted walnuts & KY bourbon vanilla sorghum with walnut oil vinaigrette

Sorghum Butter Baked Grits
KY Weisenberger white grits with sorghum butter & horseradish

Pink Peppercorn Bacon
Thick-cut apple wood smoked bacon with pink and black peppercorns

Lemon Yogurt Cake with Berries in Mint Syrup
Lemon cake served with raspberries, blackberries and blueberries in fresh mint syrup

Cardamom Spiced Crumb Cake
Moist cake topped with a generous layer of cardamom spiced pecan crumbs and vanilla glaze

Fresh Coffee – Mimosas – Orange Juice – Bloody Marys

Derby Week in Louisville

It’s always so much fun to be in Louisville this time of year. The weather gets warmer, the trees start flowering and Kentucky Derby fever is in the air. For two weeks Derby events are everywhere in the City of Louisville and Jefferson County.

Fresh Chef Experience had our first Derby event this past Saturday, April 26, at Mall St. Matthews Williams-Sonoma. We had a great cooking event in the store where we prepared delicious food perfect to serve on Derby Day. A fun crowd enjoyed Fresh Chef Experience’s Derby dishes – Ky Bibb salad with goat cheese, toasted walnuts, dried cherries and walnut oil/bourbon vanilla sorghum vinaigrette, grilled flank steak with a bourbon/green peppercorn sauce and Ky sorghum grits.  We even gave away a derby gift – a set of 10 prep bowls!

Additionally, it was a special pleasure to be able to cook at Williams-Sonoma with locally grown ingredients and support our local food producers. Our Fresh Chef Experience/Williams-Sonoma event used local products: Weisenburger Grits, Grateful Greens Bib Lettuce, and Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Foods sorghum and bourbon vanilla sorghum  – YUM!

Fresh Chef Experience continues Derby Week with an event on Friday morning May 2nd. I will be preparing a special Kentucky Oaks Brunch for several guests at the beautiful home of Martha and Ron Wolford. This brunch was part of a package sold at auction last year at the prestigious Julep Ball to benefit the James Graham Brown Cancer Center. Fresh Chef Experience is proud to participate and support this noble cause. More details will follow on this later this week!

horse racing photo

Wishing everyone a safe and fun Derby Week!

Family Fun with Fresh Chef Experience

The events this past week have been so much fun! Our favorite was a family affair when Fresh Chef Experience showed up at the home of Michelle, Kim and Sydney. Michelle wanted Sydney to explore her love of cooking with Fresh Chef Experience and wanted her to learn more about Asian style wok cooking.  Kim joined in the fun and wanted to learn how to make Chinese eggrolls. So they fired up the wok and got to work with Chef Stu instructing the family on knife cuts and best way to create great tasting wok-style food. The menu consisted of stir-fry Beef and Broccoli, Thai Sweet and Sour Pork,  Chicken Fried Rice and Chinese Vegetable Eggrolls.  The food tasted delicious! Great family fun and great cooking!

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Our New Cooking Series at Williams-Sonoma

Wow, what a week for Fresh Chef Experience! We are so fortunate to have connected with the great managers at the Williams-Sonoma in the Mall St. Matthews, Louisville. Sue was so kind to invited Fresh Chef Experience to entertain and cook in their beautiful store for the next couple months – what a treat! Chef Stu and I will be showcasing a delicious Derby meal on Saturday, April 26th,  and we will be there again on Saturday, May 17th. Both Saturdays we will be fixing delicious food to sample, giving away a great door prize, and meeting and greeting everyone in the store. Come on out and join us, we would love to see you!

Williams Sonoma photo:sm

Quick Pasta Meals

One of our most recent Fresh Chef Experiences focused on getting quick meals on the table for the family. Debbi hired Fresh Chef Experience for a private cooking lesson featuring ideas she could use for making pasta for her sons. After reviewing Fresh Chef Experience options, Debbi chose to learn Rigatoni with Green Olive-Almond and Asiago pesto and Torcelli with Almond, Pistachio and Pecorino Romano pesto. She also chose a quick stovetop tomato sauce -Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce with Fresh Spaghetti and Grilled Chicken – as her third recipe.

Pesto is perfect for getting fast meals on the table. Using just a food processor, you can literally pulse together a quick tasty thick sauce in minutes – no chopping required!  Then by simple adding a little pasta water, pesto can quickly become a delicious sauce for pasta. The flexibility of pesto is nice as well since you can use different herb bases to add more variety. Since Debbi has an herb garden in the summer, she loved the idea of taking her fresh basil or parsley and creating a quick sauce.

Quick stovetop pan sauces are great for pasta as well. The Blistered Cherry Tomato Sauce was done in minutes and by simply added it to spaghetti it made an easy “kid-approved” meal. Grilled chicken can be added for additional protein or left off entirely for a meatless dish.

Below is Debbi’s blistered tomato sauce in the works. Great job Deb – it tasted delicious and the boys loved it!

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