Saturday, December 14, 2013

Staying Warm in a Snowy Jerusalem

Israel has been struck by the worst snowstorm in decades. Being from New York I was happy to see the snow, as I've mentioned before I love the cold but this is taking it to an extreme. The best place to stay warm is in the kitchen, so that's where I've been for the past few days cooking up my own storm and coming up with some new recipes to stay cozy on these chilly days.
I love tomato soup but I used to only eat the canned stuff, don't get me wrong I still have a soft spot for that but I decided it's time to grow up and make something that's actually good for you. 

Tomato Soup with Fennel Grilled Cheese 

Tomato Soup
28 oz/800 gram can of whole peeled tomatoes 
cooking spray
1 tsp olive oil 
1 large onion diced 
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil 
3 cups water

Preheat oven to 410°F/210°C 
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Drain the can of tomatoes, reserving the liquid. Place the tomatoes on the cookie sheet in an even layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. If you're short on time you can skip this step but it definitely adds another layer of flavor to the soup. While your tomatoes are roasting heat olive oil in a large pot, add onion, garlic, salt and pepper and allow everything to soften. Add the tomatoes and the dried basil. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and cook for 3 minutes. Add the reserved liquid and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Puree and serve with grilled cheese. For a little indulgence add some heavy cream. 

Fennel Grilled Cheese
1 fennel bulb cored and thinly sliced
cooking spray 
8 slices of bread 
shredded mozzarella 
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 410°F/210°C
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray. Place fennel on the sheet in an even layer and toss with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes until softened. In a pan or panini grill heat cooking spray or butter over medium heat. Toast 4 slices of bread on both sides add cheese and roasted fennel. Top with another piece of bread and cook until bread is toasted and cheese is melted. For a homemade panini press put a piece of foil on top of the sandwich while it's in the pan and place a can on top to weigh it down. 
Slice each sandwich on a diagonal and serve with tomato soup. 

Serves 4 

Enjoy and stay warm!  

Our little Israeli soldier snowman 

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