Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tomato Pie(non-vegan)

Good morning, and welcome back. How has your week been going? Mine has been ok, nothing out of the ordinary, which, altho boring, is also nice, because it means I'm not in any kind of a crisis, and THAT is wonderful, lol.

One of my favorites, on the left of the page, is "," and I get a daily newsletter from there. Two times lately, the author has posted recipes from an NPR(National Public Radio?)contest called "How Low Can You Go?" Folks have sent in all kinds of recipes, all supposed to be under $10 to prepare, for a family of, I think, four. Anyway. I followed a couple links from one of the recipes in his newsletter, and one of them took me to the NPR contest site, which is where I found this Tomato Pie recipe, from Kathy Lloyd, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. If you're interested, the link to NPR is, but you'll have to do a search for the contest itself.

Kathy Lloyd's Tomato Pie

Make one biscuit recipe from a boxed biscuit mix. Use it as a pie crust and bake it. Place either ceramic baking beads or another pie plate on top of it to keep it from rising out of control.

Layer in the pie crust sweet onions[such as Vidalias]piled high and sliced thin, generally one big one. Then use fresh tomatoes, not too thinly sliced, about two pounds. Season each layer of tomatoes with salt, fresh cracked pepper, and fresh basil.

Make a top crust with two cups shredded cheddar cheese and one cup mayo. Mix the cheese and mayo with your hands and squish it all over the pie like a top crust. Bake at 350ºF for 45-60 minutes. On the crust, I used half goat cheese, half mayo, but you have to have the mayo to make the crust.

Now, I don't know about you, but to me, those directions are a little confusing in places. "Each layer" of tomatoes? How many layers? And what temperature should the biscuit crust bake at, for how long? Are the directions on the box? I'm sure the end product is good, but I'm NOT sure about how to get there.

So. Here's what I did, instead of Ms. Lloyd's pie: tarts...sort of, lol. A couple years ago, one of my customer's kids was selling stuff for his school, so I ordered a dozen of the silicone muffin cups from him, and have been so glad that I did, many time. These babies are wonderful: you can bake them up to 500ºF, they sit on a baking sheet all by themselves and don't need liners or to be greased, and they wash easily, too. So I used those instead of an actual tart pan, which I odn't have anyway, and instead of regular muffin tins...which I do have, but prefer not to use.

My crust recipe comes off the box of Kroger brand biscuit mix, and is actually for a pizza. I think I've posted it here before, but I'm not going to take the time to hunt for it. Just know that it's a very, very acceptable substitution for a real pizza crust, but no yeast, and very easy.

1 1/2 C biscuit mix
1/4 C HOT water
1 Tbs. oil

Mix all together to form a soft dough, and then mix well for about 20 strokes. Then let the dough rest for about 8 minutes. Then, after the 8 minutes, I put the dough on a floured cutting board, greased my hands well with olive oil and slid them up and down my rolling pin, so it wouldn't stick to the dough, and rolled it out until it was about 1/4 inch thick, close to a six by six inch square. I used a drinking glass to cut six rounds from the dough, and pushed the six rounds down into six of the silicone muffin cups(if you don't have the silicone cups, just grease six regular muffin tins, and after you've got the dough in the muffin tins, weigh it down with the ceramic thingies or even dried beans), and set the other six cups inside these, to keep the crust from rising too high. I had already preheated the oven to 450ºF...and btw, the cups were sitting on a small metal cookie sheet...and so I put the cookie sheet in the oven. Ok, even tho the cups are good to 500ºF, I didn't like the smell coming from the oven, so I turned it down to 450ºF, and that took care of the smell. After about eight minutes I checked on the little crusts, but the were too soft. Ultimately it took about 12 minutes to brown them a little bit, but they didn't get crisp, which was fine with me.

Ok, now. You'll need one large tomato, and about half of a large onion, some oregano, about 3/4 of a cup of mayo, and as much cheese as you like. We're working with a smaller amount than the pie would be, so you won't need the full two cups of cheese, or the full two pounds of tomatoes.

First, I lowered the oven temperature again, down to 350ºF. Then I diced the onion finely, and put about two teaspoonsful into each little pastry cup, and sprinkled them well with oregano. On top of the onion and oregano, I laid a good slice of tomato, sort of folding it if necessary to keep it inside the cup. I sprinkled the tomato slices with black pepper. Now for the fun part, lol. I can't use dairy cheddar, even tho I love it, and I do NOT like the vegetarian cheddar, so I totally used goat cheese, probably about a cup in all. Use whatever cheese you have and like, crumbled up to mix well with the 3/4 cup mayo. After you've mixed them together, spoon the resulting glop(good stuff, tho)on top of each cup, put the whole shebang in the oven, and wait about, oh, 30 minutes, I think. The whole thing should be hot, and the mayo and cheese should be oozing and lightly browned.

Ok, are these good? OH HELL YEAH! LOL! I ate three of them, one right after the other, and I've eaten another one, cold out of the 'fridge, this morning. If you and your family like pizza, you will like these, I assure you. And you can experiment with them until the cows come home, too. Don't like oregano? The original recipe calls for basil...try thyme...try tarragon...add some minced garlic...use different cheeses...whatever you think you'll like. I don't think you can screw these up. And I also think that instead of the biscuit dough crusts, you could use...ohhhhhhh, no, senior moment, know, it's the flaky crust on Napoleons, on Baklava, I can't think of it, sigh. And I love it. Anyway, if you figured out what I mean, I think it would be good, too, lol. HAH! Phyllo! Got it, lol. It's rough getting'll find out for yourself one of these days, lol.

Now, will I make these again? I honestly don't know. They were fairly labor intensive, but not all that bad, so yes, I think someday I'll make them again, and I think that I will do it as a pie next time. These would make good appetizers for a party, I think, whereas the pie could be sliced and served at dinner as a side dish.

Until next time, Happy Eating!!!

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