Living in Pasadena, CA means that New Year’s Eve is going to be crowded! People line the Rose Parade route early in the day of New Year’s Eve, and the locals start hiding in their homes. This year, living only a few houses from the parade route, my husband and I opted to stay in and have a chill night with some friends. I didn’t want to cook much, but wanted to have something tasty for dinner. Two hours before guests were to arrive, I decided on a Grilled Cheese Bar and Soup made with local ingredients.
It was great to have a sandwich spread (with multiple cheeses and breads) because it allowed for each person to create their own and take part in the cooking process. It made entertaining easy and didn’t leave me feeling burdened. Check out the tips below on how to make your own Grilled Cheese Bar and Soup dinner party.
*sadly we did not get many photos of our food that night, but the photos above are of some of our favorite soups.
Tips for the Grilled Cheese Bar:
- Put out WHATEVER condiments you have in the fridge. Place them in small ramekins with a spreading knife.
- Cut up some apples, pears, and other local fruits or veggies so people can add to their sandwiches.
- Pick between 3-4 types of cheeses for people to choose from. Make sure that two of them are a pretty common cheese, like mild cheddar cheese and a monterey jack…you can have the other cheese be different. I used brie, mozzarella, and gruyere for my other selections.
- Have everyone put their sandwiches together and then bring to you. Have a bar set up so they can get their drinks while waiting for their sandwich.
- Serve on the side with soup.
- 2 Leeks (disgard the leafy top)
- 4 Large Sweet Potatoes
- 1 Small Yellow Onion, diced
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 tsp. Horseradish
- 1 tsp. Sea Salt
- ½ tsp. White Pepper
- 2-3 Cups Vegetable Stock
- 6 Tbsp. Butter
- In a large pot place the buter on Med-High.
- Wash the leeks and cut of the leafy part. Slice the stalk in half then cut into strips.
- Dice the onion
- Place both in the melted butter
- Heat until translucent-3-4 minutes
- Slice the garlic thinly and add to the mixture.
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into cubes
- Add the salt, pepper, horseradish to the soup
- Mix well
- Add the sweet potatoes and let heat for 2 minutes
- Pour in the Vegetable Broth. It needs to cover the top of the sweet potatoes.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
- Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are soft.
- Take off heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- With a hand blender (emulsifier) blend up the soup.
- Serve warm with some sour cream, yogurt, cilantro, or horseradish on top