It’s September! That bittersweet month that’s still mostly summer, but tosses us into a fresh pile of autumn routines. The anticipation of starting new projects is ripe, but longer, demanding days call for some old-fashioned comfort when we walk through the door, casting off briefcases or backpacks.
And this dream partnership with Jasper Hill Farm is your annual reminder that during back-to-school season, a pot of soup paired with a really special grilled cheese is, more often than not, the very best way to bookend a September day.
But here’s the thing, if you’re going to have a bunch of dairy sandwiched between gluten-y goodness for dinner, it needs to be really special. Like Jasper Hill special.
They’re a cheese farm in Vermont that raises happy, pasture-fed cows and reduces waste in such innovative ways. They’ve also revitalized several small-scale family dairy farms and everything they do is with an eye toward developing a sustainable working landscape in Vermont. We’re so impressed with their operations and most importantly, with the deliciousness of the cheese. This is as close as you can get to having sophisticated cheese on speed dial. “Where have you been all my life?!” is right.
Since they ship, you can have all the cheeses you need for a cheese board delivered to your door. We recommend a trio of hard, creamy, and stinky cheese. And their shredded melting blend, which doesn’t have the typical de-caking agents/preservatives you’ll find at the grocery store, stars in this grilled cheese. It’s a blend of their Alpha Tolman, Landaff, and cheddar cheeses which adds noticeable depth and complexity to your average grilled cheese. We’ve got a bag in the fridge for other September comfort food like mac-and-cheese or gratins.
And while you’re there, sign up for their newsletter. Because everyone needs something in their inbox dedicated solely to cheese.
For this sheet pan soup, tomatoes, onions, and garlic roast in the oven while you work on the sandwiches. Once juicy and collapsed, you puree them up in a pot with water and the pure flavor of late-summer tomatoes and basil (ok, and butter) shines through.
- 2 lb tomatoes, any mix from the farmers’ market
- 1 yellow onion, large, sliced into thick wedges
- 6 cloves garlic, skin left on
- 1 tbsp neutral-tasting oil
- ¼ bunch fresh basil
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 cups water, up to 2½ cups to adjust consistency if needed
- sea salt
- black pepper, freshly ground
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Halve large tomatoes and toss them gently, along with onions and garlic in a little oil on a sheet pan. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the oven. Roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tomatoes and onions are soft. The garlic cloves should feel a little soft.
- Peel the garlic, then purée everything from the sheet pan in a blender or in a soup pot using an immersion blender. Add half the water to start, then gradually add more to adjust consistency to your liking.
- If you’re using a soup pot you can warm the soup slightly over medium heat. This is optional because a room temperature soup would be just as good (or cold even). Once the soup is puréed add salt and pepper to taste.
- Depending on your tomatoes the soup may taste slightly acidic and adding a pinch of sugar will fix it.
- Finally, to make the soup velvety, swirl in the butter. Once it’s melted, taste the soup one last time, adding more water, salt, or basil if you’d like. Ladle into bowls and serve (preferably with an epic grilled cheese).
- unsalted butter, softened
- 8 slices your favorite bread, rustic sourdough, crusty whole wheat, any bread that would make a French person proud
- 1½ cups Jasper Hill Melting Cheese Blend, more if needed depending on your bread-slice size
- Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat.
- Butter one side of each bread slice.
- Now take 4 slices, keeping the butter-side down and divide the cheese on each. Top each sandwich with the remaining slices of bread (butter-side up).
- When the griddle is hot, gently transfer the sandwiches and cook 3-4 minutes per side. Press them down with the back of a metal spatula or put a heavy pot on top (this helps them get extra crispy and aids the cheese melting).
- Cut each sandwich in half and serve immediately.
This post is sponsored by friends who make products that are already in our pantry.