Do you have any idea how depressing it is to be at work and have the alarm on your phone go off? Let me be clear this is the alarm that woke you up 24 hours prior and you have yet to go to sleep since it last went off. It's pretty insane. I know all you parents out there know what it's like to be sleep deprived, I have yet to experience it from kids, but let me tell you those 24 hour work days, though they are extremely few and far between, give you a really good taste of what sleep deprivation really is.
So here I am on Monday night, Meatless Monday no less, knowing that I have to make dinner so I have something to share with you for this post. I already know we're having dinner with a friend who is in town for only a few days on Tuesday and I already shared my Sunday night meal, so making dinner on Monday it is. Which then raises the question, what does one make for dinner after working a 24 hour day and sleeping for 7 hours? I can tell you that all I want to eat at this point is junk and alot of it. Though I picked through out the work day, I woke up more famished than I can remember being. I started off by reheating some of the Stracciatella I made a few days earlier, which couldn't have been more homey and hearty and perfect to take the edge off my hunger. But I still needed to make something for dinner and comfort food was in the forefront of both mine and the Boy's minds. I was hoping to hold off on making this favorite for a while longer, but you can't really deny yourself an easy comforting meal when you are as tired as we were. So I did, one of my favorite meals, Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup.
Normally when I make this soup I make a grilled cheese filled with gruyere and asiago on bakery fresh bread, it's amazing. But on Monday, the boy request just straight cheddar, his favorite for dunking in ketchup and since my brain was barely working I was fine with the little thought I'd need to put into a plain cheddar grilled cheese. I still picked up a nice rustic loaf from the bakery, as much as I wanted to make fresh bread it just wasn't in the cards.
This soup is based off of a recipe from one of my favorite soup & sandwich spots in LA, Doughboys. They closed for awhile while I was living in LA and while they were closed I desperately missed their tomato soup and got in touch with the owner who was kind enough to share it with me. I posted the original recipe a few years ago and this is the tweaked version that is a bit lower in fat.
Creamy Tomato Soup
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 28 oz cans of crushed Italian tomatoes (I used home canned tomatoes)
12 oz 2% evaporated milk
salt & pepper to taste
3-4 pinches of sugar
1. Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan or soup pot over low heat. Add the onions and cook over low until tender, approx 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 10 more minutes on low.
2. Add balsamic vinegar and reduce until syrupy, approximately 10-15 more minutes.
3. Add tomatoes and keep over low heat until simmering. As soon as the soup simmers and is heated all the way through, remove from the heat. The tomatoes need no more cook that the slight simmer to let the flavors blend.
4. Add the evaporated milk and stir until combined. Add salt & pepper to your liking and then add sugar a pinch at time, not to sweeten the soup but to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
The slow cooking of the onions and garlic and the reduce of the balsamic are really what make this soup special and taste like you took all day to make it. It's perfect for dunking grilled cheese in and the combination couldn't be more comforting on a cold winter day when you aren't feeling 100%. I'm bummed I used it up so early in the challenge and I'm sure I'll regret it when fall rolls around, but it couldn't have been more perfect for the time.
January 31st - Grilled Cheddar Cheese Sandwich & Tomato Soup
February 1st - dinner out with friends at Gio Rana's