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

Wrap Up for Tomato Week

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Make your own Bloody Mary Mix

Just in case you missed anything this week, here is a wrap up of the week for you.  We sure enjoyed bringing you a start to summer with all of our tomato recipes.  Summer means so many different things to each of us.  For Heather its all about the bounty of what the season’s gardens have to offer.  She remembers all the time spent at her grandparents, picking vegetables from their garden.  Tomatoes were always a favorite treat.  There is nothing better then the smell and taste of a fresh picked tomato.

Traci and Rj spent summers in the Midwest and have wonderful memories of homemade ice cream and great times by the lake.  Grandmothers gardens and all the wonder that it has to bring.

We thank you once again for joining us.  We loved bringing you the start to summer for us.  Have a wonderful weekend.  Please stop our Facebook page and share with us some of your favorite eats and treats from your weekend.

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Tomato Lardon Jam

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Golden & Red Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

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Fried Green Tomatoes and Classic Remoulade Sauce

Modern Day Forager

Fried Green Tomatoes

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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

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Fried Green Tomatoes

4 medium sized green tomatoes

kosher salt

1 quart buttermilk

1 teaspoon hot sauce (we used Tabasco sauce)

2 1/2  cups all-purpose flour

 1 cup cornmeal

2 1/2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper

5 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons lard (you can use a vegetable oil if you are averse to lard)

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and refrigerate for 1 hour. Wash off salt in cold water.
  2. Lay tomatoes out in a container and cover with buttermilk and hot sauce.  Soak for about 8 hours.
  3. Combine flour, cornmeal, black pepper and salt in a shallow dish. (We use a pie plate)
  4. Heat lard in a cast iron skillet.
  5. Dredge tomato slices in flour mixture then back in buttermilk mixture then again in flour, shake off excess and place in hot oil.
  6. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and then drain on a paper towel.

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Simple Remoulade Sauce

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Creole whole-grain mustard

1 tablespoon horseradish

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 dashes Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, flavor will get better the longer it sits.

Another simple classic sauce for Fried Green Tomatoes

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup ketchup

1 minced clove garlic

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

fresh ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, flavor will get better with time.

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Classic Remoulade

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup chopped celery

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

3 tablespoons Creole whole-grain mustard

3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process for about 30 seconds.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, flavor gets better with time and can be made ahead of time.

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Modern Day Forager

Golden and Red Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

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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

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Incredibly versatile and refreshing, this zesty dressing is very satisfying.   Try tossing into a pasta, add as a topper for a tasty cheese tartin or on a piece of fresh salmon for a quick and easy weeknight supper.

Golden  and  Red Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette

1 minced shallot

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pint halved golden and red cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (we prefer Zinfandel)

2 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish

salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Directions:

  1. Sweat shallots in olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato halves stirring and crushing for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Refrigerate before serving to let flavors come together.
  5. Bring vinaigrette to room temperature and topped with  fresh chives before serving.

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Modern Day Forager

Tomato Lardon Jam

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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

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This tomato jam pulls triple duty over and over (and over). Spicy, savory, and oh so jammy and if that wasn’t enough we have added lardons. ( a small strip or cube of pork fat) It also can be used as a dip, condiment, or spread and that is just scratching the surface. Try this new staple on burgers, as an addition to a cheese board or to elevate your next grilled cheese.

Tomato Lardon Jam

4 slices thick-cut (as thick as you can find) slices of smoked bacon (we like applewood) very cold or frozen

1 cup diced shallots

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 cups Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced

1/4 teaspoon African Bird Pepper

salt & pepper

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cut bacon into 1/4 inch cubes
  3. Line an edged baking sheet pan and roast bacon cubes until they have crisp outsides.  Remove to paper towels to absorb remainder of fat.
  4. Pour bacon fat into a medium-size skillet over medium heat, sweat shallots, about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add brown sugar and apple cider vinegar, mix together.
  6. Add tomatoes and reduce for 10-15 minutes until mixture becomes thick.  Add the African Bird Pepper.
  7. Add bacon to pan, stir in salt to taste.
  8. Texture should be spreadable not runny.
  9. Cool then store in airtight container in fridge. (We like WECK jars)

The jam should keep under refrigeration for up to a week.  We like to warm before serving.

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Fresh Tomato Bloody Mary Mix

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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

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Welcome to tomato week!

Tomatoes signal the start of summer for me.  As a child growing up in Central California we had a bounty of food all around us.  I remember always having fresh corn and tomatoes during the summer.  My favorite way to eat those succulent tomatoes was on open faced sandwiches.  We would toast the bread, just a little.  Sometimes spread a little mayonnaise or mashed avocado, then add the fresh sliced tomatoes and maybe some lemon cucumbers from my grandma’s garden, sprinkle with salt and eat!  The juice would be dripping down my arm.  We always had to eat outside on the porch so we wouldn’t make a mess, but we didn’t mind, it was the best porch, full of good food and great company!

Thank you for joining us for tomato week, we hope you enjoy it!

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Our beloved bloody mary is so much more than just spicy tomato juice and vodka.  It is savory, hearty and briny.  We encourage you to think outside the box for your garnish, say no to celery sticks!

We used red and green cherry peppers, pickled brussel sprouts, aka frog balls and flowering dill.   Not your usual suspects and loaded with flavor and a good swift kick to balance out the drink.

Fresh Tomato Bloody Mary Mix

5 pounds of chopped fresh tomatoes (we like to use at least 3 different types)

1 bay leaf

1 chopped shallot

1 seeded and chopped red bell pepper

1 cup of kale

1 jalapeno

2 chopped carrots

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh horseradish

2 teaspoons Sriracha

2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

  1. In a non-reactive large stockpot, cook tomatoes and bay leaf over a medium heat.  As you cook crush tomatoes with a potato masher.
  2. Place shallot, red bell pepper, kale, jalapeno and carrots in a blender (food processor, we love the Vita Mix here) and puree.
  3. Pour the puree into stock pot with tomatoes and add celery seed.
  4. Simmer, for about an hour.
  5. Remove bay leaf.  If you prefer smoother less seedy juice you can force mixture through a sieve or food mill.
  6. Add lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, Sriracha, black pepper and salt.
  7. Pour mixture into an airtight container and chill for 2 to 24 hours (gets better with time)

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Modern Day Forager

Happy Memorial Day from Modern Day Forager

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We want to wish you a Happy Memorial Day from Modern Day Forager.  We would like to thank all the men and women in uniform &  veterans that have given of their lives to make ours safer.  Please remember our freedom is not free.  We are not going to be posting a recipe today.  The fun will begin again tomorrow.   If you haven’t guessed from the photos we will be bringing you all things tomatoes this week.

We hope you get to spend your day enjoying good food and wonderful company, they always go well together.

Modern Day Forager