Tomato Bisque and Grilled Cheese

Amongst the sleepless nights and all the duties that come with newborns, my amazing and talented brother Yahya is bringing you a guest post! He loves to cook (and he’s pretty good at it) and he just started his own blog Life of Yahya

I am Rubina’s favorite brother (the only one), Yahya. I’ll be doing a recipe for her today and since I’m only getting one post, I decided to give you all a double recipe. That’s right! Two for the price of one (free)! I’m gonna show you guys how to make a delicious and creamy tomato soup reminiscent of the Campbell’s tomato soup you grew up on, only with half the ingredients (and so much better for you). And everyone knows, tomato soup is just an excuse to eat a grilled cheese sandwich, so I am gonna show you a special grilled cheese sandwich that has a gooey melted cheese interior and a beautiful, crunchy, cheese crust on the outside.
Unlike a tomato soup, a bisque uses heavy cream to balance the natural acidity of the tomatoes. Additionally, a bisque is thickened with rice to give it some body without adding a pasty mouth feel.
The grilled cheese sandwich is something you must make at least once in your life. Why? Because there’s cheese on the inside and the outside. Yep. You can thank me later. Anyways, I hope you enjoy these recipes, and be sure to check out my blog sometime too! 

Bisque Ingredients:
1/2 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 minced garlic cloves
1 quart flavorful liquid (chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water if you have nothing on hand)
28 oz. crushed tomatoes (2 of the 14 oz. cans)
1 tsp paprika
2-3 tbsp uncooked white rice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1-2 tsp sugar
Salt, black pepper, and cayenne to taste
Bisque Instructions:
-Sauté the onions and celery in a large pot with olive oil over medium-low heat. Add a pinch of salt and stir around until they soften and become translucent. Once that happens, add the garlic and cook for another minute.
-Pour the chicken stock (or other liquid) into the pot and raise the heat to high. Then, add the crushed tomato into the pot and wait for the mixture to come to boil. In the meantime, season the mixture with pepper, salt, and cayenne. The amount of seasoning will depend on your tomatoes, and the seasoning in the stock you use.
-Once the soup comes to a boil, back the heat down to medium low and add in the rice. Let the soup simmer for about 45 minutes or until everything in the soup becomes super soft (including the rice). Taste the soup and add sugar and other seasonings if needed (depending on the sweetness of the tomatoes). At that point, whip out your handy dandy immersion blender (aka stick blender) and puree the vegetables until the mixture becomes silky smooth.
-Stir in the cream with a whisk so that the color lightens up. Once again, taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. You may need more salt, sugar, or pepper.
Grilled Cheese Ingredients:
Note: There isn’t a good way to give precise measurements for a grilled cheese sandwich
2 slices sandwich bread
Shredded Mexican cheese blend or any cheese you want (for the inside of the sandwich)
Shredded sharp cheddar (enough to cover one piece of bread)
Butter (to coat the pan)

Grilled Cheese Instructions:
-Coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet with butter and toast the slices of bread until golden brown on one side. Make sure the heat is on medium low,
-Lift the bread slices out of the pan and apply a new coat of butter. Flip the bread slices onto the butter so that the other side of the bread gets toasted. 
-Cover the surface of the toasted side of one of the bread slices with a shredded cheese of your choice. Once the bread is toasted on both side, put the second piece onto the now cheesy slice of bread. Back the heat down to low and let the inside cheese melt.
-Here comes the fun part! Sprinkle cheddar cheese on one side of the sandwich then flip it over and do the same thing on the other side. After about 30 seconds, flip the sandwich over so that the second coat of cheese has a chance to caramelize. Remove the sandwich from the skillet and enjoy!

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