Saturday, December 1, 2012

Green & Gold Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup

Tomorrow is game day! And, it’s against one of the Green Bay Packers’ biggest rivals – the Vikings!

Here in Green Bay, we finally got our first real snow fall of the season this past weekend! It wasn't much snow, but it was enough to cover the ground and stick for more than 30 seconds. Truthfully, I’m more excited about the snow than the football game… Funny enough, you’d think living in Green Bay would make me a die-hard Packers fan, but that’s not the case. In fact, I’m a Bears fan! (Shhhh! Don’t tell these crazy people!!  ;-)) Although, when my friends ask me to go to a game with them, I try to be a good sport and show some team spirit…

Or, I just like to have any excuse to wear a tutu!!  :-D

I was recently contacted by a man named Brian from the Campbell’s Soup Company, asking if I would be interested in tasting and reviewing one of their newer soups, the Sun-Ripened Yellow Tomato Soup.

While doing this project, I even learned a few things about Campbell’s and the history of condensed soups!

When Brian and I initially talked about this project, he thought it would be kind of fun if I did a play on the classic Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup combination, but make it Packers-themed. I thought it was definitely a cute idea, and immediately called Ledgeview Gardens and asked if they had any of their yellow tomatoes available. Confirming that they did indeed have some, I headed over there immediately and picked up my tomatoes and some fresh basil.
After going to Ledgeview Gardens, I ran to the grocery store to get the rest of my ingredients, namely the cheese. Living in Wisconsin, we’re pretty lucky because we have probably more cheeses than most people even know about, and they’re readily available at most supermarkets in the larger cities. One of the Wisconsin-local grocery stores, Woodman’s, has probably the most diverse of collection of cheeses of all the stores I've been to, and they carry a lot of Wisconsin-made cheeses. I’m particularly fond of the Belgioioso brand of cheeses, as they consistently produce a great-quality cheese and they’re reasonable priced. For this particular project, I decided to use a Burrata cheese, which usually comes packed in water and is like regular mozzarella on the outside and then has shreds of mozzarella combined with cream on the inside. It’s super soft, but really delicious! I cut the Burrata in half and then scooped out the mozzarella and cream interior to spread on my sandwich, but you can easily substitute regular fresh mozzarella cheese sliced thinly.
Because yellow tomatoes are very mild and much less acidic than their red counterparts, I didn't want to use a cheese that would be too strong and that would overshadow the tomato’s flavor. And since their flavor isn't entirely strong, I also roasted some of them for my sandwiches, to help pronounce their flavor a little more. If you’d like even more flavor, you can always add some dried basil with the salt and pepper, just before roasting the tomatoes, but I really wanted the tomato to shine this time.
As for the soup… It really did have a nice flavor, but I must admit that I actually like the acidity and extra flavor of the red tomatoes. I’m one of those weird people who can (and does) eat tomatoes like an apple, with just a little bit of salt on them! So, for me, I really liked the added flavor dimension that the freshly chopped basil and the basil oil added to the soup. But, if you’re one of those people who can’t eat tomato products because of the high acidity, I would definitely recommend trying this out!

Printable Recipe

2 large, ripe, yellow beefsteak tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Canola or olive oil
1 (10.75 oz.) can Campbell’s Sun-Ripened Yellow Tomato Soup
6 slices potato bread
8 oz. ball fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
Fresh basil leaves, optional

Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare the tomatoes by chopping one of them into small dices, slicing the other one to approximately a ¼-inch thickness; set aside the diced tomatoes. Place the tomato slices in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with a little bit of canola oil, and place in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until the tomatoes have softened and started to brown slightly around the edges. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Add the contents of the canned soup to a medium saucepan, fill the empty can ¾-full of water, and empty that into the saucepan; stir with a whisk to combine everything thoroughly. Heat the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup is heated through. When the soup is hot, add the diced yellow tomatoes, stirring to combine, and remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, preheat a panini press (or George Foreman grill) and assemble the sandwiches; using the basil butter on the outsides of the bread, layer the sliced mozzarella cheese with the roasted tomatoes. Place the sandwiches on the panini press, buttered sides out, and grill until the bread is toasted and golden brown. Remove the sandwiches from the press and allow the cheese to cool slightly before cutting them; cut the sandwiches into small pieces if you’d like, or however you prefer.
Spoon the soup into 3 bowls, garnishing with a chiffonade of fresh basil leaves and/or the basil oil drizzled on top. Serve the soup with the sandwiches or place the “croutons” on top.


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