The sky’s the limit. Or is it?
My entire life, people (teachers, media, parents, etc) have always told me that the sky’s the limit. I am suppose to aim for the moon so that even if I miss I’ll land among the stars. A little will, a little passion, a little elbow grease was suppose to go a long way. And if I could dream it, I could achieve it. I could fly high and defy gravity. Looking back, I wonder – did everyone just set me up for failure? This bold, brash and unyielding optimism paired with unrealistically high expectations and unabashed goals is dangerous! It gave me a reckless sense of security, and delusions of megalomania. I could jump off a skyscraper, spread-eagle, and my dreams would buoy me to safety. The word “cannot” was never in my dictionary. And yet now, there are a lot of things I cannot do. There are things that I can dream of and yet will never have. I have plenty of ambitious goals, but how many are likely to come to fruition? So why do we teach our children these things? Why do we tell them that they are limitless?
Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Source: Loosely based off this tomato bisque recipe and Thomas Keller
This meal was inspired by a recent trip to the Bouchon Bakery counter at the Time Warner Building. I absolutely love Bouchon, and I wasn’t disappointed by their presentation of Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Sandwich. So here, I’ve tried to replicate that deliciously simple meal.
Tomato Soup Ingredients
3-4 rashers of bacon
1 small onion, small dice
1 leek, thinly sliced
1 stalk celery, small dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 c chicken broth [or better-than-bouillon + water]
2 26-oz strained tomatoes [I use Pomi]
3-4 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt, pepper, sugar, to taste
1 scallion, thinly sliced
Grilled Cheese Sandwich*
1 loaf brioche bread, sliced into 3/4″ thick
gruyere cheese, shredded or thinly sliced
fontina cheese, shredded or thinly sliced
1 tbs butter, per serving
thinly sliced tomatoes [optional]
*I asked the Bouchon bakers, and they said that both gruyere and fontina cheeses are used, even though the AdHoc recipe says otherwise; I say, do what pleases you 🙂
Place the strips of bacon in a cold soup pot or dutch oven, then place on medium heat. Once the bacon begins to sizzle, gently lift the edges and lift to cook the other side. Allow to most of the render fat as we will be using this in our soup. The bacon is fully cooked once the pink, white, translucence is gone. Remove bacon, drain on paper towel, and crumble into small pieces. Into the bacon fat, add the onion, leek, celery and garlic, and cook until soft and almost caramelized. To the pot, add chicken broth and strained tomatoes. Alternatively, canned whole tomatoes work or even fresh peeled/seeded tomatoes as well. Add the thyme and bay leaves, and bring to a rolling boil. Lower heat and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes for the flavors to develop. Remove thyme and bay leaves and using a emulsion blender, blend the soup, so all the vegetables have been smoothly pureed. Some people like to strain tomato soup, but I personally don’t mind. Whisk in the heavy cream, and season to taste with salt, pepper and a teeny tiny sprinkle of sugar, as needed. Garnish with bacon pieces and green onion.
For the grilled cheese sandwiches, place about 1/8 cup of gruyere and 1/8 cup of fontina cheese in a small bowll, and toss to combine. Sprinkle the mixture over a slice of brioche bread, top with tomato slices [optional], and place another slice of bread over that to make a sandwich. In a skillet or frying pan, melt 1 tbs of butter on medium-low heat (do not want to burn butter), and place the cheese sandwich right into the butter. Turn the heat down to low, and allow for the bread to brown before flipping the sandwich and letting second side to brown. Try not to burn the bread before the cheese melts. To help the cheese melt, I like to place a pot lid over my sandwich to trap in the hot steam, which helps the cheese melt as well. Alternatively, this could easily be done in a toaster oven.
Serve both sandwich and soup together and enjoy!
I struggle with this topic often. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like being told that I can’t do something, and that it drives me absolutely insane to be told to be more conservative with my dreams. Perhaps I hate seeing someone, especially a young child or growing adolescent, being stunted by an unproductive and growth-prohibitive mantra. On the other hand, you might say that I came from too privileged of a background to understand that NO and IMPOSSIBLE are the abject reality for many people. That may be the case – but it’s in our dreams that we can fly. And no one can take that away from us.
You, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,