February is for comfort food & the classic comfort duo: Cream of tomato soup and grilled cheese

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but soups seem to be a recurring theme at my house. I guess soup is the perfect quick comfort food. It’s nourishing, tasty, can be made in every colour of the rainbow and can be made as light or as hearty as you desire. So today I’m sharing my cream of tomato soup recipe. I’ve been making it for over twenty years and the ingredients have evolved over the years. You can swap from milk to dairy alternatives, coconut milk/cream, from the cream cheese to greek yogurt or anything you want to use, experimentation leads to perfection!

Cream of tomato soup

Ingredients

1 28 oz tin of canned tomatoes

1 medium onion with 1 clove inserted

1 medium carrot, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups milk (or alternative)

1 Tb flour

1 Tb butter (or alternative)

Dash of grated nutmeg

1 cup cream cheese (or alternative)

Instructions

Place tomatoes, carrot and onion in saucepan, season with salt & pepper and cook on medium-low heat , covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate saucepan make a béchamel by melting butter on medium heat, add flour and stir until well incorporated and whisk in milk slowly, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. When the milk has thickened, allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside. After 30 minutes, add cream cheese to tomatoes to warm. Put all the ingredients in a blender and process on high until smooth. Makes 2-3 servings, can be frozen for 3-4 months.

Grilled cheese

Ingredients

1 large slice country bread cut in 2 (or 2 slices regular bread)

2-3 slices of cheese of your choice

Cranberry chutney

Butter

Sliced scallion

Instructions

Butter outer sides of bread. Spread cranberry chutney on the inside of bread, place 1-2 slices cheese on top, sprinkle scallion and add another slice of cheese. Close with 2nd slice and cook on medium heat in a cast iron pan until well browned on both sides. Serve and enjoy!

The most scrumptious cream of butternut soup and a special grilled cheese

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It’s been so grey this winter, it’s hard to not feel a little down when the sun goes awol. Kind of wish I had the means to hop on a plane and head south…! So to combat the grey skies I’m cooking with colour! This creamy delicious butternut squash soup brought a smile back, at least for a short moment! Be sure to scoop out the seeds and use them as well, nothing should go to waste, plus they’re delicious!

Cream of butternut squash soup

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed, seeds removed and reserved

1 medium onion

Enough stock (I used chicken) to cover veggies

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon grilled sesame oil

1 1/2 teaspoons hawaiij spices (recipe below)

1 can cream of coconut, reserve 1/6 for garnish

Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro leaves and sliced green onions for garnish

Sauté onions in olive oil until soft and translucent, add butternut, spices and sesame oil and sauté until well blended. Add stock and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until squash is tender. Add to blender with coconut cream and blend on high until smooth. Serve and garnish with reserved coconut cream, green onions and cilantro.

Grilled cheese

1 large slice of country bread

2-3 slices of aged cheddar

Red curry paste

Cilantro

Sliced green onions

Butter

Spread a thin layer of the curry paste on the bread, garnish with the sliced green onions, cheese then cilantro. Cut in half and close into a sandwich, butter both sides and grill in hot pan with a weight to brown well. Check and when bread is golden brown turn over and repeat.   Enjoy with your soup for a delicious meal!

Hawaaij

Hawaaij is a Yemenite spice mixture, varying from home to home, much like the curry mixes in India. This is a blend that Melissa Yeh shared on her blog, My name is Yeh

2 tablespoons ground ginger

2 tablespoons ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Roasted pumpkin or squash seeds

1 cup seeds rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

dash of ground chipotle

Blend all ingredients and spread on a lined baking sheet. Cook in a 350º oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Will keep at least one month stored in an airtight container. Enjoy sprinkled on soups or as a snack!