Instead of severed fingers, bloody bones or scary eyeballs, I put a twist on the classic soup-and-sandwich combination, paying homage to Halloween's classic orange and black colors. This app would work just as well at any autumn gathering...
I admittedly haven't put on a Halloween costume in years, and my way of celebrating holidays like Halloween always leans toward festive over cute presentation. This tomato soup recipe renders a perfect orangey hue and takes a little extra effort, but the smoky flavor is soooo worth it! The pumpernickel bread then imparts a perfectly moody, dark vibe for the sandwiches.
I decided it would be fun to serve the soup in glass test tubes I picked up at a local antique mall, but you can easily find them online too, like here and here. I then anchored everything on a gilded tray for serving.
Grilled Cheese Ingredients:
-Aged gouda cheese (try deli slices instead for better melting)
-Cornichons (French pickles), sliced. Substitute apples if you wish.
-Whole-grain Dijon mustard
1) Spread mustard on half of bread slices, then layer the cheese and pickle slices. Top with remaining bread slices.
2) In a pan over medium heat, add a tad of butter, then place sandwiches. While cooking, lightly butter the sides facing up. Flip sandwiches then firmly press down on each using a metal spatula or pot lid to seal them together. Alternatively, use panini press.
3) Cut cooked grilled cheeses into thirds, forming triangle shapes.
Smoked Tomato Soup Ingredients:
-2 teaspoons of apple smoking chips
-1 pound plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
-6 tablespoons of olive oil
-Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
-6 slices country-style bread, sliced 1-inch thick and cut into 1-inch cubes
-1 yellow onion, diced
-1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika
-1/3 cup sherry cooking wine
-1/3 cup fresh orange juice
-4 cups chicken stock
-2 cans (each 14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes with juices
-Pinch of cayenne pepper
1) In a bowl, stir together the tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt and pepper.
2) To create a stove top smoker: Line a large pot with 2 layers of heavy duty foil. Scatter wood chips over. Cover tightly; cook over medium high heat until chips begin to smoke, 10-12 minutes. Arrange tomato halves, cut sides up, on a steamer rack. Place in pot on top of chips. Cover and smoke tomatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl and let cool, then remove and discard the skins.
3) Preheat an oven to 350°F.
4) In a bowl, stir together the bread cubes, 3 tablespoons of the oil, salt and pepper. Spread the bread cubes out on a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Set the croutons aside.
5) In a soup pot over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the paprika and cook for 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the sherry and orange juice, and cook until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 10 minutes. Add the smoked tomatoes, the stock, canned tomatoes with juices and cayenne. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
6) Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Pass the soup through a fine strainer into a clean pot, pressing firmly on the solids. Set the pot over low heat, add the croutons and let stand for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using the immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.
-post & images by Lauren Craig