Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Roasted vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwich

Back from a week on the road in New York City and Philadelphia, I'm ready to start cooking again! This weekend I also started a 200-hour yoga teacher training program, so from now until mid-July time is going to be really tight in the Hartman house. So I'm doing more careful planning and prepping of our meals, although you know what they say about "the best laid plans..." Today I need to leave for training by 5:30, so I planned to make us an early dinner of flank steak and grilled potatoes. However, I just got a note from my boss that he needs to schedule a call with me at 4:00. Oh well... I guess we'll have leftovers tonight and save the flank steak for another day this week.

Fortunately we have some yummy leftovers to eat! Yesterday was my second attempt at a "meatless Monday" and the unseasonably chilly weather here made me think of soup and grilled cheese. A few months ago I picked up at Costco one of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food cookbooks and asked Richie to mark recipes in it he thought sounded good. I've liked almost everything we've tried... tasty, yet generally quick to put together. And there are beautiful photos for each recipe, which helps make stuff that Richie might not ordinarily think he'd like be willing to try! Case in point: yesterday's recipe for roasted vegetable soup. He saw me cutting the leeks and wrinkled up his nose, but I just pointed out he'd picked out the recipe.

This recipe was perfect for my work-at-home life. I threw the tomatoes, leeks, carrots, garlic, and oil (seasoned with sea salt and pepper) in the oven to roast at 4:00 while I finished up my office tasks. Then at 5:00 I dumped the veggies in a sauce pan with a carton of vegetable broth, simmered for about 10 minutes, then pureed using my trusted stick blender (greatest invention ever) and set aside while I made the grilled cheese sandwiches.

These were inspired by a late night snack I ordered from room service last week. The hotel version was good and totally hit the spot, but I knew I could improve on it at home. I bought a loaf of sourdough bread at the grocery store and made them with a generous amount of butter and a slice of cheddar and a slice of havarti each. The result: oozy, gooey deliciousness! It was a nice balance to the mild acidity of the soup, which was good also but will be even better in late summer when I can make it with fresh vine ripened tomatoes and not have to settle for the supermarket blah ones.

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