Desert Sun – Desert Chefs Dish Comfort Food


Mindy Reed, owner and executive chef – Zin American Bistro and Alicante

When she’s not at the helm managing her two highly regarded restaurants, Mindy Reed is busy training for the annual AIDS LifeCycle or the annual breast cancer awareness ride, YSC Tour de Pink. Or she’s busy earning Wine Spectator awards year after year for her astounding wine lists. To make dining matters easy in her rare downtime, Reed resorts to an all-time classic comfort food — Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup.

Like many comfort foods, the recipe started with her mother. It was a popular meal when the weather got chilly and the rains started. Over the years, Reed’s version has morphed with her culinary growth. Today, her grilled cheese includes fire-roasted onions, fresh tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon and Fiscalini aged-cheddar. The tomato soup is made with equal parts coconut milk, roasted tomatoes, basil, and a touch of sea salt.

Reed’s comfort-food options have evolved in another way. Though she grew up on a vegan diet, her favorite guilty pleasure today is bacon. “My kitchen staff sees me coming and the first thing they do is hide the bacon,” she says.



Grilled cheese sandwich


● Whole wheat bread slices, buttered on one side

● Aged cheddar cheese

● Fire-roasted onions

● Sliced tomatoes

● Cooked applewood smoked bacon

Layer ingredients between the bread and grill over medium heat until bread is golden brown and cheese is nicely melted.

Tomato soup


I can coconut milk

I can diced roasted tomatoes

4 or 5 basil leaves chopped

Salt to taste

Simply combine ingredients in sauce pan, heat and simmer on low for about 15 minutes, puree by hand or in a blender until smooth.

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