Wednesday, July 24, 2013

heirloom tomato pie

I wanted to write you a post about the ultimate southern, beautiful, heirloom tomato pie.  It's one of my most favorite things to eat, especially with gorgeous ripe ugly tomatoes in July.

There's a local bakery in Durham that makes a killer tomato pie for sale at the farmer's market this time of year.  I purchased one last summer and ate the entire thing the same day.  Frighteningly delicious.

So I set out to make one of my own, using all my favorite ugly tomatoes.  My mom taught me to love Cherokee purple heirloom tomatoes especially, which have a delicious flavor and beautiful deep color,  She doesn't mess around with the pie-- just peels the tomatoes and eats them with mayonnaise.  But a tomato pie will accommodate all shades and all varieties of tomatoes.

Here's the snag to my plan for the perfect tomato pie post:  I'm pretty sure this recently published Southern Living recipe can't be improved upon.  The crust is more like a biscuit than a traditional pie crust, loaded with butter, sour cream, and bacon.  (I made a version without the bacon and it worked fine, too, so vegetarians don't be dissuaded.)  The filling is easily modified to incorporate your favorite herbs, maybe some vidalia onions.  It can't be topped.  It's not that I'm not eager to try, or that I'm giving up so easily, but I'm impressed.  A friend of mine made it first and the next-day leftovers blew me away.

Let's not make this any more complicated than it needs to be.  I'm going to direct you to the Southern Living recipe, if you haven't already seen it, and you let me know if you think we can do better.  Enjoy.

The Southern Living recipe is available here:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

catching up

I've been quiet lately, but I've been cooking up a storm.  In between working, beaching, and repairing replacing the official blog camera, a pile of great summer recipes have collected in my kitchen.

Here are a few to keep you inspired in these hottest days of the year.  I hope you can use your imagination and bring these recipes to life at home.

Poppyseed Kale and Cabbage Slaw

1/2 head napa cabbage
2 bunches kale
medium vidalia onion
1/4 cup (or more) poppyseed dressing (storebought is fine-- I like Briana's)
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
splash red wine or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Thinly slice all the veggies.  Then submerge in a large bowl in cold water to remove the dirt.  Allow to sit for a few minutes, agitating the veggies to remove dirt.  Drain, rinse, and spin dry.

Meanwhile, whisk together poppyseed dressing, orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and vinegar.  Pour mixture over clean and dry kale, cabbage, and onions.  Toss.  Allow to sit 20-30 minutes to wilt the greens slightly.  Toss with slivered almonds and serve.

Chipotle Shrimp Marinade 

4 chipotles in adobo, plus 1 tablespoon sauce from the can
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon honey

Spray the inside of small vegetable chopper with cooking spray to prevent staining.  Puree all ingredients together to make marinade.  Skewer shrimp and brush both sides with marinade, then allow to marinate in the fridge 20 minutes before grilling.

Grilled Eggplant Rollatini

1 large eggplant
8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 pound good quality deli ham, thinly sliced
1 cup marinara sauce
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1/4 olive oil

Slice eggplant lengthwise in 1/4- to 1/2-thick slices.  Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning.  Grill eggplant until golden and pliable.  Allow to cool slightly.

Layer each slice eggplant with mozzarella cheese, thin a layer of ham.  Roll together and place in a greased baking dish, seam side down.  Secure with a toothpick if needed.  Continue to layer and roll each slice until you've used up the ingredients.

Top with marinara sauce and remaining mozzarella, or sprinkle parmesan cheese over the top if you've used all the mozzarella.  Place under broiler (I used my toaster oven!) until cheese melts and top turns golden, about 7 minutes.