Open Faced Grilled Cheese with Creamy Tomato Soup

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Recipes by Rj of Urban Table
Photo Style & Art Direction by Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by Heather of Heather Gill Photography

Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

One of my most cherished memories of eating an open faced grilled cheese sandwich,  a steamy bowl of creamy tomato soup and a cold glass of milk, is when I was a little girl and my GG , would lovingly prepare me this meal for me whenever I was sick, stayed home from school, or needed some extra TLC.  There is just nothing better than having your Grandma take care of you and her making your favorite comfort foods.  I could always count on her to do that for me and make me feel special.   As a I grew older, the tables had turned , and I was the one lovingly preparing this recipe for my GG to comfort her when she was ill.  I will always be very grateful for the time I got to spend with her.

Ingredients:

For the creamy tomato soup:

  •             4 lbs. ripe heirloom tomatoes
  •             2 T olive oil
  •             1 T unsalted butter
  •             2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  •             1/3 cup shallots, finely chopped
  •             1/2 cup chicken stock, or as needed
  •             1 t fresh basil, chiffonade, extra for garnish
  •             1/2 t sugar
  •             1/2 cup heavy cream
  •              salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

For the grilled cheese: 

  • 3/4 lb. mild cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
  • 6 slices whole grain bread
  • 1/2 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature

Directions:  To make the soup, preheat an oven to 400°F.  Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place them, cut side up, on the prepared baking sheet and brush with olive oil.  Roast until the tomatoes look somewhat shriveled, about 45-50 minutes.  Let cool for about 20 minutes.  Transfer the tomatoes and any juices to a food processor, pulse until chopped, then put the tomatoes and their juices through a food mill placed over a bowl.  You should have about 3 1/2 cups tomato purée.  Discard the contents and tomatoes skins from the food mill.
 
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.  Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
 
Stir in the tomato purée, 1/2 cup stock, and the basil and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes.  Stir in the sugar. In 3 or 4 batches, transfer the soup to a blender and process until smooth.  Transfer to a clean saucepan; add the cream and heat until piping hot but not boiling.  If the soup seems too thick, thin with more stock.  Season to taste with salt, pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves and serve warm.  To make the open face grilled cheese sandwiches; heat a griddle or 2 large frying pans over medium heat until hot.  For each sandwich, place one-fourth of the cheese on top of bread slice and top cream cheese, then layer with fresh tomatoes, season with salt, pepper and garnish with extra basil.  Place on the griddle, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the undersides are golden brown, 3–4 minutes.  Ladle the soup into warmed bowls.  Serve and enjoy!!!
Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup by Modern Day Forager

Modern Day Forager

Coddled Eggs with Bacon and Chevre

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

We are always looking for different ways to cook eggs.  While preparing for this post, I was reminded of an old legend I learned while in culinary school.

The folds in a chef’s toque represented the number of ways to prepare an egg.  This 100-pleat white hat was only reserved for the heads of the most knowledgeable and regarded chefs who had mastered their craft.

While attending school you are taught to be the best, hone and ply your skills, master every method of cooking and honor your craft.  A pledge of sorts, that defines you.  So for me, it starts with eggs.

Today we chose coddled eggs.  The egg is slowly and gently immersed into the water just below boiling point.  This recipe will also allow you to add just about anything from your pantry or garden to the ramekin or jar you use for the process.

Thomas Keller who is big muckety muck around here at Modern, he does a version at Bouchon with potato puree, earthy mushrooms and fresh baby spinach that would blow your mind.

Doing this week on breakfast cookery took me back to my strong commitment to my profession and why I am honored to be a chef today.  Hats off to eggs!

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Coddled Eggs with Bacon & Chevre

2 Tbl. plus 2 tsp. unsalted, room temperature butter

4 eggs

4 tsp. heavy cream

¼ cup cooked, diced bacon

¼ cup crumbled goat cheese (we like Vermont  Butter and Cheese Company, Chevre)

4 tsp. scallions thinly sliced (we like sliced on the bias)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil a pot of water. (We used a teapot)
  3. Butter bottoms and sides of 4 ramekins (5 to 6 oz.) with 2 tablespoons of butter.
  4. Put ½ teaspoon piece of butter in bottom of each ramekin.
  5. To each ramekin add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon of cream, one fourth of the bacon, one fourth of the cheese, 1 teaspoon of scallions, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cover each ramekin with foil.  Place each in a baking dish and then fill dish with boiling water half way up the ramekins.

Bake until whites set and yolks are runny, about 20 minutes.  Garnish with additional scallions.

Serve immediately.

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5photoscollection

Modern Day Forager

Glazed Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with Bacon & Orange Sunshine Bitters

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Recipes by: Rj of Urban Table

Photo Styling & Art Direction by: Traci of Urban Table

Photography & Art Direction by: Heather of Heather Gill Photography

 

A sweet and savory french toast like no other.  One of the most decadent recipes we have styled and ever tasted.  We saw this combination of flavors on a menu in NYC and always wanted to recreate the flavor profile.  We chose to use challah bread as our vehicle, plus the addition of crispy thick cut bacon and citrus bitters to mix things up, so here it is.  Waking up to this..is really not hard to do.

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Glazed Blueberry Stuffed French Toast with Bacon & Orange Sunshine Bitters

Ingredients:

1 loaf challah bread, sliced into 2 ½ to 3 inch slices (recipe makes 6 to 8 slices)

8 oz. ricotta cheese

12 to 16 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and chopped (retain pan drippings)

1/4 cup blueberry jam

1/2 tsp lemon zest

1 cup whole milk

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbl unsalted butter (melted)

2 Tbl unsalted butter

1 Tbl brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp orange bitters (we used AZ Bitters Lab Orange Sunshine)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3 Lg eggs

maple syrup (for serving)

Directions:

  1. Place sliced bacon on a rack in a sheet pan and bake until crispy, drain on a paper towel.  Retain pan drippings to cook French toast.
  2. With a small sharp knife, make a horizontal slice in bottom crust of bread creating the pocket you will pipe filling into.
  3. In a bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, blueberry jam, and lemon zest. Place mixture in a Ziploc bag and when you are ready to fill bread pockets, slice corner off bag and pipe.
  4. In a bowl whisk together milk, syrup, salt. Tablespoon of melted butter, brown sugar, vanilla, bitters, cinnamon, and eggs.
  5. In a large (preferably cast iron) skillet heat bacon drippings on medium heat. You will need about 2 tablespoons, you can add butter if you need more fat.
  6. Using your piping bag, fill each bread pocket with approximately 2 tablespoons of filling.  Push bacon into filled pocket of bread, pushing out to edges as much as possible.
  7. Once slices are stuffed soak each slice in egg mixture for about 10 seconds per side, then place in hot skillet.  Cook until both sides are caramelized.

Serve warm topped with extra jam, fresh berries, lemon zest and maple syrup.

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Modern Day Forager