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Fancy Grilled Cheese and Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup


Courtesy of: Chef Eugenia Theodosopoulos, Essence Bakery

Fresh Tomato-Basil Soup 

3 1/2  lbs fresh tomatoes, cleaned and roughly chopped
1 lb onion, roughly chopped 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic roughly chopped
2 ounces cleaned basil leaves
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water 

In soup pot, saute onions in extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat until lightly browned.  Add tomatoes and garlic, stir and saute for 6-8 more minutes.  Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.  Add white wine.  Bring to boil and reduce wine by half.  Add basil and stir well.  Add ketchup, water and bring to simmer.  Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Off heat, puree soup with either stick blender or blender.  Strain through sieve making sure to press as much juices as possible.  Discard skins and seeds.  Adjust seasonings and serve.  May need a hint of sugar.
Top with croutons, chives, parmesan cheese, fresh basil or pesto.  
Serves approximately 6.
May be prepared ahead and stored in fridge for several days.

Grilled Cheese Combinations and Suggestions:

1.  Whole Grain Bread with Roasted Zucchini, Eggplant, Tomato, Pesto and Goat Cheese

2.  Whole Wheat Bread with Caramelized Onions, Bacon, Wilted Spinach, Dubliner Cheddar and French Brie

3.  Brioche Bread with Grain Mustard, Cornichon Pickles, Gruyere Cheese and Ham

On all types of grilled cheese, be sure to butter both sides of bread and allow to rest about 1-2 minutes on a cooling rack to crisp bread before serving. 

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