One of our favorite “at sea” activities (for the women and kids at least) on our Holland America Line Alaska cruise was attending America’s Test Kitchen demonstrations. The on-board chef demonstrated techniques and shared tips and tricks for cooking everything from salmon to steak to grilled cheese. He was interesting, easy to follow and from Atlanta!
We came away inspired to make everything we learned about! First up for my budding chef was the Lunch for a Rainy Day meal consisting of grilled cheese and tomato soup. He had been asking to make it since we got home and I finally put it on the menu, in spite of our constant “feels like” of 100 degrees. Haha!
Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
The grilled cheese is definitely “grown-up” and you can absolutely taste the Brie, which I know a lot of kids are not fans of. Luckily mine are so we all loved it. The technique of blending the cheeses makes for a wonderfully gooey, perfectly melted consistency.
>> Download the recipe card <<
- 7 ounces aged cheddar cheese, cut into 24 equal pieces, room temperature
- 2 ounces Brie cheese, rind removed
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth
- 4 teaspoons minced shallot
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 8 slices hearty white sandwich bread
1. Process cheddar, Brie, and wine in food processor until smooth paste is formed, 20 to 30 seconds. Add shallot and pulse to combine, 3 to 5 pulses. Combine butter and mustard in small bowl.
2. Working on parchment paper–lined counter, spread mustard butter evenly over 1 side of slices of bread. Flip 4 slices of bread over and spread cheese mixture evenly over slices. Top with remaining 4 slices of bread, buttered sides up.
3. Preheat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. (Droplets of water should just sizzle when flicked onto pan.) Place 2 sandwiches in skillet; reduce heat to medium-low; and cook until both sides are crispy and golden brown, 6 to 9 minutes per side, moving sandwiches to ensure even browning. Remove sandwiches from skillet and let stand for 2 minutes before serving. Repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches.
Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup
I found this one so fascinating! The technique uses bread rather than cream to get the creamy flavor, something they stole from gazpacho.
>> Download the recipe card <<
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 bay leaf 2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes
- 3 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives
1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, pepper flakes, if using, and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain. Stir in bread and sugar. Bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.
2. Transfer half of soup to blender. Add 1 tablespoon oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. Rinse out Dutch oven and return soup to pot. Stir in broth and brandy, if using. Return soup to boil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls, sprinkle with chives, and drizzle with olive oil.
Both of these recipes were outstanding and ones I’d make again and again!
For more of our Holland America cruise and Alaska and Vancouver adventures, look here:
Have a wonderful week ahead!
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED