I invited our friends Dino and Kevin over to help us hang lights on the house and trim the tree. It was more me lighting a fire under Jonathan’s butt, to step away from work and enjoy some evening fun, food and friends. Anyone who knows Jonathan, he can not say no to a good time. So I promised I would cook up something good while they hung the lights outside. Well it only took all of about 10 minutes to hang the lights, because lucky for us Kevin is tall. But I also bought classic colored big bulb lights and they have a little snap that will attach to your gutter, so a lot easier then we had expected. But nor was I slaving away, because the jams, and soup I’m about to talk about are very very easy!!!
I wanted to make something cozy to eat before we trimmed the tree. I knew I wanted to make grilled cheese and tomato soup. But I wanted to add something more then just good cheese (I used a nice sharp aged cheddar) and bread (sourdough) to the grilled cheese. So I decided to add jams to the sandwiches. While we were in Houston having dinner with friends a few months ago, we shared an app of deviled eggs topped with bacon jam. Ummmmmm we were all in heaven. This was just about the best BAE I’ve ever had!!! Pure genius!! So it thought this would be a good thing to add to a grilled cheese, and yup it was pretty delicious. Another jam I made was tomato. I’ve always been a fan of adding sliced tomatoes to a grilled cheese. And yes this jam was just as good , as the bacon jam for the grilled cheese. A little something for your veg friends and not veg friends. And I promise you these are not hard to make at all.
So yummy grilled cheese and tomato soup in our bellys. And some bourbon egg nog after to trim the tree. We were a happy bunch, and so was Oliver. He loved decorating the tree so much. He thought it was so cool. Every morning now he gets up and plays with the tree rearranging the decorations while I make him breakfast, it’s all too sweet!!! Special thanks to Dino and Kevin for coming over and helping, and Kevin for taking awesome pics of Oliver!!!!
Ingredients for soup:
2 28 ounce cans of plum tomatoes
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
a few dashes of crushed red pepper
1 large container chicken broth, or veggie
chopped basil, or chive
small container creme fresh
Start heating a large soup pan on your burner. Chop onion. Add olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Heat for a twenty seconds to so, add onions. Smash garlic cloves, add once the onions are becoming translucent. Add seasonings, salt and pepper to taste, red pepper flakes and sugar. While that’s still cooking, smash plum tomatoes with your hands in a large bowl. Once they’re smashed slowly add them to the onions. Let this cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add broth. Put a lid on soup and cook for about 45 minutes on low. Once the soup is done. Let it cool down for a bit. Start padding soup into a blender. Only add a little at a time. And make sure once you blend it, you place a towel over the blender. This part is very very important because trust me it will explode and your kitchen will be covered!!!!!! So you may be doing about 6-8 batches of blending. Once it’s all blended place back is large sauce pan, and season to taste, if you need more. Serve with chopped basil, and of chives, with a dollop of creme fresh.
Bacon jam ingredients:
1 package good bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup
1 large onion
1/2 teaspoon Cheyenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Heat Dutch oven, or cast iron skillet. Chop bacon and cook. Let bacon cool on a paper towel. Leave about 2 tablespoons bacon fat on the bottom. You can save the rest if you like for whatever. Cook chopped onions until translucent. Add all the rest of the ingredients. Cook down for about about 10 minutes on low to medium heat. Take off heat and add bacon. Place in a jar. Just that simple!!!!
Tomato jam ingredients:
1 container cherry tomatoes
red pepper flakes to liking
1/4 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a medium sauce pan. Coat with olive oil. Add sliced tomatoes and onions, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 20 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook for about 10 more minutes on low. Let it cool for a few. Then pulse in your cuisinart to your liking.