Saute onions in soup pot or sauce pan about 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add sweet potatoes, carrots and celery. Stir. Mix seasoning in water and pour into pot. Cover pot and cook about 10 minutes or until sweet potatoes are soft. (The original recipe called for white potatoes. I think they sometimes take longer to cook. Sweet potatoes seem to cook faster to me.) When vegetables are soft, add milk then cheese. The key is to have small cubes of cheese and to add them gradually so they don't clump.
Ladle the soup into a blender. (Be really careful because the blender may splatter when you turn it on. I have a silicone trivet that I cover the blender with so the soup won't splatter and burn my fingers. A towel could work, too.) Reheat soup and serve garnished with fresh herbs as desired. I bet green onions or chives would have been yummy if we had had any. Also, ground red pepper seemed to be a nice addition, too.
Reliving our trip to France, I had thought of making open-faced grilled cheeses or croquettes without ham a few times, and finally got around to it. I chose a good time because we had some fabulous fresh veggies to make a good salad take center stage with the sandwiches on the side. Honestly, because I used Paul's favorite Cabot Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, the sandwiches weren't tops in my book. I just can't learn to love a really sharp cheese. But Paul enjoyed it.
Recipe for Croquettes
Four slices whole wheat bread
2 pads butter (half for each slice, more if preferred)
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 cup sliced cheese (more or less to taste
1 Tablespoon dried parsley, crushed
Spread half of each pad of butter over bread. (Some people say to toast the bread first. I didn't think it necessary, but it is certainly an option for really crunchy toast.) Lay slices of cheese over bread. spinkle paprika over cheese. Sprinkle parsley on top. Cook on top rack of oven with broiler set on 500 degrees for just a couple minutes until c cheese is melted and edges are toasty. It isn't necessary to preheat the oven in this case. Also, especially if you've never used a broiler before, don't allow yourself to be destracted by the rest of the meal. Do it ahead--even the salad part. Because the bread will toast quickly, and I have blackened toast just by turning my back around.
Right next to Trader Joe's is a Great Harvest Bread Company that Leann introduced us to.This little shop has such a variety of bread that it has to follow a schedule to produce the different loaves on different days. When I walked in, they offered us a taste of three or four options. One looked more like a pan of brownies than bread.