Some things just go together. Peanut butter and jelly, coffee and cream, mashed potatoes and gravy, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.
Or better yet, grilled gruyere, tempeh bacon, and sliced pear sandwiches, and roasted red pepper tomato soup. Simple yet complex, filled with flavors complementing and contrasting in just the right ways.
I love foods like this. I love that when things go together it is so often because the flavors stand well on their own, yet somehow blend into harmonious deliciousness. They are like an instruction book for life. Be individual, be strong, be bold, be what and who you are, because that is wonderful. And for each new thing you encounter, you will be challenged to find how you complement, how you contrast, and how you find balance. You will be challenged to find your own harmonious deliciousness.
Best of all, you might be surprised to find that you get along with flavors you thought would be too different from you. It’s the old “try it, you might like it” lesson, and I find it inspiring. You’re never going to get to the next greatest thing in life (or on your plate) if you aren’t willing to take risks and try new things.
Once I ate a peanut butter, mayonnaise and pickle sandwich. That’s bravery, right there. I can’t say I loved it, but I can’t say I hated it either. But somehow, I think I’m a better person for it.
I will admit that the tempeh bacon in this recipe tastes nothing like bacon. That was okay with me — it was still delicious in its way — but feel free to use a store-bought veggie bacon or try a different recipe. The soup is very strong, which I liked because the sandwich flavors were also strong, but if you like a milder tomato soup just add milk or cream.
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
Adapted from Mind Over Batter
10 large tomatoes, halved and seeded
3 medium red bell peppers, halved and seeded
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper
2 Tbsp olive oil
28oz can diced tomatoes
1 large onion thinly sliced
2 cups water or vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 450˚. Toss the fresh tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic and ½ of the onion in ¼ cup olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Cover the baking sheet in foil and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tomatoes and peppers are soft. Remove foil and roast for an additional 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
In a large pot over medium heat, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add the remaining onion and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is soft. Add the diced tomatoes and roasted vegetables, including the oil and juices from the roasting pan. Add the vegetable stock and simmer until tomatoes are very soft, about 30 minutes.Purée soup in a blender or food processor until smooth.
8 ounces tempeh
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp garlic powder
¾ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp onion powder
a dash of cayenne
1 tsp soy sauce
Slice the tempeh very thinly. Whisk together maple syrup, 1 Tbsp olive oil, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, onion powder, cayenne, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Add tempeh and marinate for 20 minutes. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add strips of marinated tempeh and cook for about two minutes or until crispy and browned on one side. Flip and brown the other side. Remove from skillet and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Pear, Gruyere, Tempeh Bacon Grilled Cheese.
Thinly sliced, fresh pears
Bread of your choice- I used a fresh, homemade French bread.
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Butter one side of each slice of bread. On the non-buttered side of one slice, stack 3-4 pear slices, 3-4 tempeh bacon pieces, and enough gruyere to cover. Top with the other slice of bread, buttered side facing outward. Place the sandwich in the skillet (buttered side of bread down) and cook for about 5 minutes or until bread is crispy and golden brown. Flip the sandwich over and cook the other side until bread is golden brown and gruyere is melted. Serve immediately.