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Entertaining the Question
Child & Family Center's Taste of the Town Favorite Doubles as Quick and Spicy Comfort Food
May, 2006 - Issue #19
Dear Foodies,
It seems that every year, RSVP Catering has the yummiest offerings at Taste of the Town. When are you going to give us some of those recipes?


Recently, I was asked to share my favorite Taste of the Town recipe. I sat in front of my computer for what seemed like ages trying to decide between several options. Would it be the Tamarind Barbecued Duck with smoky plantain crema served in a mini martini glass? C&T's Big Bottom Pies? Or the greatest comfort food in the history of the world - Spiced-Up Grilled Cheese?

New Orleans, Greece, Cuba, coastal Mexico, the vineyard, the Caribbean... these are some of the scenes and tastes we have created each year for the Child & Family Center's premier event, Taste of the Town. We have served soup in shooter glasses, made tortillas to order, and found recipes that are so unique that we had to order the spices and seasonings from specialized vendors. We have called chefs from various locales to assure us that we were being true to the region we wanted to represent. We have asked the people of Santa Clarita to taste duck, to eat salad with squid, to try roasted figs, fried plantains, chicken liver in dirty rice from New Orleans, lychee salsa and sauteed pear in their grilled cheese sandwich.

In the end, based in part on simplicity in preparation, the Spiced-Up Grilled Cheese won out for favorite recipe, but it was close! Pair it with this delicious Ginger Carrot Soup for an easy and filling meal.

Spiced-Up Grilled Cheese
1 6-oz can tomato paste
3 tbsp chopped canned chipotle chiles
1 tbsp molasses
12 slices sourdough bread
18 ounces extra-sharp New York cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 small red onion, thinly sliced*
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
6 tbsp butter, room temperature


Blend tomato paste, chiles and molasses in processor until smooth. Spread one tablespoon chipotle mixture over one side of each bread slice. Arrange six bread slices, chipotle side up, on work surface. Divide half of cheese among bread slices. Top with tomatoes, then onion, cilantro and remaining cheese. Top sandwiches with remaining bread, chipotle side down. Spread butter on outside of sandwich tops and bottoms. Heat griddle over medium heat. Place sandwich on griddle and cook until bread is golden and cheese is melted, about five minutes per side. Yields six sandwiches.

*We caramelized the onion first - a little extra work, but an amazing taste.

Gingered Carrot Soup
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups carrots, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
crema or creme fraiche
chives for garnish


Melt butter in large heavy pot over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute until tender, but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook three minutes more. Stir in carrots and ginger. Add chicken stock and simmer until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Add lime juice and puree soup in blender until smooth.

Serve warm with a dallop of creme fraiche or use Mexican crema and add chive sprigs for garnish. This soup may also be served chilled. Serves six.

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Cindy and Tamra hope you visit them at Taste of the Town on Sunday, May 7. For more information on the event that draws the best culinary treats the SCV has to offer, log on to www.tasteofthetownscv.com. Cindy and Tamra own RSVP Catering.
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