edible adventures from the centre of the universe

04 September 2006

Goodbye Summer

As the weather begins to cool and the leaves on the trees begin to change colour, I start to feel cravings for those belly warming, comforting, autumn-y foods that I've missed all summer. One of those quintessential cold-weather meals is hot soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. I recently picked up the Great Grilled Cheese cookbook by Laura Werlin, which has a tonne of great ideas for unique takes on everyone's favourite sandwich. One that really appealed to me was the Tomato, Tarragon, and Goat Cheese Sandwich on Olive Bread, and I decided to pair it with a variation on my mom's recipe for creamy potato soup. I was originally going to make a potato-leek soup but, after a mix-up at the grocery store, I ended up with a big bunch of Swiss chard. It turned out that the earthiness of the chard tasted great with the creamy potato base. Accompanied by the rustic olive bread-based sandwiches, this meal is a delicious twist on the classic soup/grilled cheese combo. With hockey, cozy nights in front of the fire, and rib-sticking delicious food like this on the horizon, I can't wait for the season to change. Bring it on, Winter! I'm ready for you.

Tomato, Tarragon, and Goat Cheese Sandwiches on Olive Bread

6 oz fresh goat cheese
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 small tomato, seeded and diced
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
8 slices olive bread (or soudough)
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Combine cheese, shallot, tomato, and tarragon in a small bowl.
2. Brush one side of each slice of bread with olive oil. Pleace 4 slices on your work surface, oiled side down. Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the 4 slices. Place remaining 2 bread slices on top, oiled side up.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the skillet (in batches, if necessary), cover, and cook for 2 minutes until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has begun to soften. Uncover, and turn sandwiches with a spatula, pressing firmly to flatten them slightly. Cook for 1 minute, until the undersides are golden brown. Turn the sandwiches again, press with the spatula, and cook for 30 seconds until the cheese is soft and creamy. Serve immediately.

makes 4 sandwiches

Creamy Potato-Chard Soup

4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
leaves from 1 bunch Swiss chard, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 cups water
a pinch each of thyme and sage
2 veggie bouillon cube
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 large pinch nutmeg
2 cups milk
2 cups sour cream (low fat is okay)
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp olive oil
parsley, for garnish

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add salt, pepper, onions and celery, and saute for 5 minutes until onions are tender. Add garlic, thyme, and sage, and cook for one minute. Add potatoes, bouillon, and water, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add chard and nutmeg to the pot, cover, and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
2. Remove pot from the stove, and use a hand blender to puree the mixture until it is a smooth paste. Add 1 cup of milk and heat gently.
3. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, flour, and 1 cup milk.
4. Slowly, pour 1/3 of the heated mixture into the sour cream. Slowly pour this mixture back into the remainder of the soup. Heat and stir until thickened. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
5. Garnish with parsley, and serve.

serves 6



Blogger Karen said...

I'm all about the grilled tomato and cheese sandwiches. People look at me funny when I order it but man, does it taste delicious. The goat cheese in yours sounds very interesting especially with the tarragon.

I too can't wait for winter so I can start making delicious soups and hearty meals again. Haven't had swiss chard in years - I think that it would certainly give your mom's potato soup an interesting twist. I'll have to give it a try.

7:59 PM

Blogger Alana said...

Karen - the tarragon matches surprisingly well with the goat cheese and tomato. It adds an interesting fresh "bite" to the sandwich. Definitely yummy.

10:08 AM

Anonymous Aoife said...

The part that sounds best to me is the olive bread. Where do you get that? Or do you make it yourself? If so, post the recipe, please!

2:01 PM

Blogger Alana said...

aoife - I use an olive bread by ACE bakery, which is available at a lot of supermarkets around Toronto (try Loblaw's). If you're not located in the GTA, I would try to find a local artisan bakery -- I find that most of them make a version of olive bread. Good luck with your search!

Who knows? I may try to bake my own sometime and if it works, I'll post a recipe!

2:15 PM


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