Something very special, very magical, happens when two really good things come together and are combined: they make a new, even better thing.
Whenever my husband and I take a few moments to reflect on our blog (and what better time than the New Year!), we can't help but make note of the simple fact that without one of the two of us, there just truly wouldn't be “The Cozy Apron”.
And there's an amazingly beautiful and humbling gravity to that realization.
You see, without those unique things that I bring, there'd be no recipes or personal, written posts to share with you; and without my husband's wonderful talents, there'd be no exquisite, artistic and appetizing images of those very recipes to entice you into coming to visit with us, not to mention all of his technical and behind-the-scenes contributions that allow us to have a functioning site at all!
It's true, without one of the two of us, this little corner of the web-o-sphere would certainly not at all be the site that you're looking at.
And I thank God for it, because to know that this is the work of not only one of us, but the both of us working together, is a very special gift to have an awareness of, and one that I wouldn't trade for anything.
Life makes visible to us all kinds of “amazing duos”, and we need only open our eyes and look around to find them.
They're found in food combinations that we love to be comforted by such as a classic tomato soup and a simple grilled cheese sandwich, or in a marvelously juicy burger accompanied by some golden, crispy and salty french fries.
Or even in the nature that surrounds us such as in the brilliantly scented flowers that bloom and those amazing little bees that keep them that way.
Then, there's also our Creator Who, when welcomed in to our lives, gives us a divine partner to lean on in tough times as well as in joyful ones, so that we may have communion with Him for a fuller, more mystically-experienced life.
What a glorious notion it is that something can be made better by the addition of another wonderful thing!
I have to say, I kinda really love this notion of my hubby being the “grilled cheese” to my “tomato soup”; and that when the two of us come together, we make a pretty darn tasty and nourishing one-pot meal!
So let me ask you: who's the grilled cheese to YOUR tomato soup?
Taste what's good and pass it on.
Tomato-n-Grilled Cheese Soup
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 4-6
• Olive oil
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 teapsoon Italian seasoning
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ teaspoons red pepper flakes
• Pinch salt
• 6 large cloves garlic, or 8 small cloves), pressed through garlic press
• 3 ounces (½ can) tomato paste
• 1 (28 ounce) can whole, San Marzano-style tomatoes
• 1 ounce fresh basil leaves
• ¼ heaping cup flat-leaf parsley
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 4 cups chicken stock, hot
• ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
• French baguette, sliced into about 12 (½”) slices
• 1 small clove garlic, peeled but whole
• 1 – 1 ½ cups shredded, Italian-style 4 Cheese blend
• 1 tablepsoon chopped parsley, for garnish
-Place a soup pot over medium-high heat, and add in about 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil; once hot, add in the diced onion and saute for few minutes until the onion begins to slightly brown.
-Add in Italian seasoning, the black pepper, the red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt, and stir to combine; add in the garlic, and stir that in to incorporate.
-Once the garlic become aromatic (about 30 seconds or so), add in the tomato paste and allow it cook for a minute or so to cook out the raw flavor; then, add in the canned tomatoes, the fresh basil and parsley, and the sugar, and stir to combine.
-Add in the chicken stock, and then simmer the soup, partially covered, for 20 minutes.
-After the 20 minutes, turn off the heat and add in the grated parmesan, and stir; then, using a hand-held immersion blender (or even your blender, but work in batches!), puree the soup until completely smooth; check the seasoning to see if any additional salt/pepper is needed.
-Make some garlic toasts by drizzling some oil over the baguette slices, then placing them onto a baking sheet and under the broiler just until golden and toasty; then, rub the clove of garlic over each slice and add a pinch of salt. (You can leave your broiler on for the next step.)
-To assemble your bowls, ladle some soup into oven-safe bowls, and top each with about 2-3 garlic toasts; then, sprinkle on about ¼ cup (or more) of the cheese, and place under the broiler to melt and become bubbly; carefully remove and garnish with a sprinkle of parsley before serving.