The story goes that tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches….  Actually, I don’t know that story.  If you do, tell me.  I just can’t remember when I didn’t eat that comforting, homey classic Saturday noon meal.   My kids grew up eating it, but mama’s got a brand new bag.

This time around, I made the tomato soup myself.  No sugar, sweetheart.  Just a drop of honey to counteract the acid in the tomatoes.  And…no grilled cheese sandwich.  Not for me.  Dave had one.  Instead, I fried my cheese and gently topped my soup with it.

It was creamy, crunchy and fulfilled all those grilled cheesey longings while I skipped the bread on a cold, cold night with the snow flying across the piano window:

 

Here’s how:

Homemade Tomato Soup with Fried Cheese

In a food processor (or by hand, chopping) fitted with the steel blade, place:

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1-2 peeled carrots
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 of a lemon, including the peel

Process pulsing until the vegetables are evenly and quite finely minced.

In a 4-6 qt stock pan, heat over medium heat

  • 1 T olive oil

When quite warm, spoon in the minced vegetables and let cook 5 minutes until softening.
Add:

  • 1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes (I like Cento tomatoes.)
  • 1/2 cup white wine or water
  • 1tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp of chili-garlic sauce or a few drops of Tabasco

Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer.  Let cook slowly about 20 minutes, stirring regularly.  If desired, puree using an immersion blender or by carefully returning (1/2 at a time) mixture to food processor.   Taste and season again, if needed.   Lower heat to very low and make the fried cheese:

Fried Cheese

You’ll need 1 large, thin slice of cheese for each serving.   I used low-sodium Swiss Cheese, but Cheddar would also work well.  Don’t use too soft of a cheese.


Directions:  In a small skillet, heat 1T olive oil over medium heat.  Place the cheese slice in the pan, and watching closely, let melt well.  Meantime, ladle the soup into the bowl. Scrape out the melted cheese into a bowl full of soup and put the skillet back on the heat briefly.  Using a good spatula, scrape the now crispy leavings of the cheese into the bowl.  Eat while hot.

Two-Dog Kitchen and Around the ‘Hood

It’s the second Sunday of Advent.  In my world, we’re moving daily through the journey toward the stable.  Trying to figure out how to be ready for God to be born in our hearts.  Taking a good look at what we’ve stored in there over the last year as it’s been that long since we took inventory and marked down the things that didn’t sell.   Looking in dark corners.  Blowing away the dust and sweeping away the cobwebs that can’t be there if we are to prepare him room.  While it can seem odd, we are continually waiting for Jesus to come again. 

So today, we sang and talked, and lit candles.  Took communion together and sang, “Wait for the Lord, whose day is near.”  Jody played the accordian and the sounds of the guitars, banjo, organ, piano, and steel guitar raised the roof to praise God and to make alive our wonders and wanders.

At home, we’ve got the tree, but it’s not up.  Had a great day Saturday at Bachman’s looking at the decorations and buying a new tree, but it’ll sit out in the garage a while.  The Christmas dishes are out.  The table has the Christmas candles to grace it, and the many boxes of butter for the cookies are ready in the freezer.  Down in the basement, there are stacks of flour, sugar, and chocolate.  Almonds, raisins, and pecans.  Invitations went out today to draw friends in for a bit of cheer on a Saturday afternoon not too far away.  We’re finishing chores like the painted trim in the kitchen and getting curtains up…  “What?  Are you waiting for Christmas?” takes on new meaning.

The choir is working hard to be ready to sing our cantata next week.  Joseph and Patricia Martin’s “Canticle of Joy” is our offering and our study…our way and our journey this year.  All over the world, I’m comforted to think choirs are doing that same thing.  Moving in on the music, getting it in their hearts, and making it one of their priorities.  Makes you learn the story with your whole body when you sing it.

Here are a few at our rehearsal  with Cabrini for Thanksgiving service.
At Bachman’s looking for a tree….

Did you ever see a blue or purple poinsettia?

Elephant topiary next to the poinsettia tree.

Which one?

Beautiful, but out of our price range.

Finally getting our curtains up once we got home.

The Tuckster’s been eating snow.

Curtains! 

And so things are getting ready for Christmas… slowly, but surely.  And at your house?  Here’s a bit of Advent reading I thought I’d share:

ADVENT
Richard Rohr

When we demand satisfaction of one another, when we demand any completion to history on our terms, when we demand that our anxiety or any dissatisfaction be taken away, saying, as it were, “Why weren’t you this for me? Why didn’t life do that for me?”, we are refusing to say, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We are refusing to hold out for the full picture that is always given in time by God.

When we set out to seek our private happiness, we often create an idol that is sure to topple. Any attempts to protect any full and private happiness in the midst of so much public suffering have to be based on illusion about the nature of the world in which we live. We can only do that if we block ourselves from a certain degree of reality and refuse solidarity with “the other side” of everything, even the other side of ourselves.

Adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr, pp. 5, 7

Sing a new carol,
Alyce