What are you up to this weekend? We're
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laying low and taking it easy .. with nary a plan in sight
Admittedly .. I can't wait for some extra downtime. I'm really stiff and sore after a fall from my bike this week
It was nearing midnight as I packed up my things and headed home from the library. Such a beautiful summer evening to ride across campus beneath the glow of the walkway lights. A wave to the college kids sitting on their front porch. Two shiny eyes of a kitty cat crossing the road. It froze. I swerved and toppled over (ps: there was absolutely no grace involved)
As I slowly regained my composure .. assessing what hurt and where .. hurried footsteps and voices in the darkness “Dude, the lady. Did she just fall? Wait, she's in the middle of the street. Watch for cars”
“Are you ok?”
There aren't words big enough .. to express how grateful I was for a ride home .. the kindness of a stranger's helping hand guiding me to the front door. (If not words .. a double batch of chocolate chip cookies will be in order)
Whatever you're up to this long Labor Day weekend .. I hope it finds you out and about enjoying the last of these summer days
Let me tell you about something that happens a lot .. and it’s the best thing ever
A month or so ago .. a neighbor asked if I’d ever tried a tomato pie. Nope .. not the Italian-American tomato pie .. thick, bready pizza dough slathered with sauce and broiled with Romano cheese on top .. before being served in squares. Instead .. one closer to something you'd find in the south. Baked in a pie shell.
To which I responded that this was the first time I'd heard of such a thing.
— — —
Sure enough .. tomato pie is definitely a thing.
Everyone from Paula Dean to Elsie at Simply Recipes has their signature version. As do my tried and true cooking magazines like Saveur and Bon Appetit. Not to mention the classics .. such as James Beard’s nearly 20-year-old version. It includes summer corn, mayo .. and crust with a biscuit-like dough
Then there's the spectrum they come in. There are tomato pies that think of themselves as double-crusted apple pies .. savory, spiced, and very very wet
Then there are those that should probably be called Cheese Pies. And truly .. is there anything wrong with this?
There's the part tomato pie .. part quiche .. going heavy on the ricotta version. Similiar to the one featured here. What better way for your end of summer tomatoes to shine .. bound in creamy eggs and herbed cheese
This .. this one is so good
There’s no way to describe the surprise I felt when I lured my husband to dinner and we approached the ricotta and egg filled concoction .. knowing it would be good. But not really how good. We proceeded to finish almost half of it(!) There was barely the willpower to talk myself out of thirds.
Thirds(!) Who am I?
So if you're looking for some culinary inspiration this weekend .. head the nearest marked .. grab yourself some cherry tomatoes .. ricotta and herbs. Then breathe a sigh of relief that you already have milk and eggs on hand (you do? yes?) .. and go home to make this for dinner.
If you’re lucky .. you’ll have a slice leftover for breakfast. If your friends are lucky .. you’ll share with them. But I wouldn’t bank on it. Really, they can make their own.
- Parmesan Crust
- ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup unsalted organic butter, well chilled + cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 4 oz chunk of good fresh Parmesan, microplane-grated (you should end up with about 2 cups loosely packed grated cheese. Save any leftover grated cheese for sprinkling on the crusts when they come out of the oven.
- 2 T. ice cold water
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, skin removed and cloves smashed
- 1 Tbsp fresh thyme
- about 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup whole milk (any nut milk will work great too)
- fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (heaping)
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
- Make the Parmesan Crust
- Place both flours, butter, and Parmesan in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. (You're looking for a sandy textured blend with pea-sized pieces of butter)
- Add the ice water and pulse again a few more times (the dough should stick together when you pinch it between two fingers)
- Transfer the dough to the tart pan.
- Working quickly, distribute the dough by pressing across the bottom, towards the sides, and up to form a rim.
- Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes
- Bake the Parmesan Crust
- Pull the crust out of the refrigerator and poke each a few times with the tongs of a fork.
- Cover the tart with a square of aluminum foil and fill generously with pie weights (or dried beans)
- Place it onto a baking sheet and slide the tart onto the middle rack in the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes before pulling the shell out of the oven.
- Very gently, peel back and remove the tinfoil containing the pie weights.
- Place the uncovered crust back into the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 10 minutes, or until it is a deep golden brown in color.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with a little shredded Parmesan (this will act as another barrier to the tomato filling)
- Let cool to room temperature before filling
- in a skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil.
- Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened and browned about 5 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low, add the smashed garlic, and half of the fresh thyme.
- Cook on low, stirring just a few times, for 5-7 minutes, until the garlic is just softened.
- Remove from heat.
- Slice half of the cherry tomatoes in half. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, remaining thyme, and a good pinch of sea salt and a grind or two of black pepper.
- In a small bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, parsley, and another good pinch of sea salt and a grind of pepper
- Finish and Bake the Tomato Pie
- In the pre-baked crust, layer the onions and garlic across the bottom.
- Add all of the tomatoes, both sliced and whole
- Nestle ricotta in four or five dollops across the tart.
- Place the tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Carefully pour the egg mixture atop the tomatoes and ricotta and place in the oven.
- Bake until egg mixture is firm and not wet, about 40 minutes.
- Remove and allow to cool to warm or room temperature.
- Serve room temperature or chilled.