Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tomato Pie

I think really fresh, ripe tomatoes might be my favorite food. So wait to make this recipe until you can get the best tomatoes. If you must, use decent tomatoes and supplement with some good canned diced tomatoes (I like Muir Glen). This recipe is adapted from the The Tomato Festival Cookbook (Storey pub., here in the Berkshires), and the recipe comes from Chaiwalla restaurant in Salisbury , Connecticut (which is not that far from me, so I really must get down there and try this in person!). The biscuit-y crust is a key component, though it can overwhelm the tomatoes so I like to pile the tomatoes really high. I often skip the chives since the ones you find in the grocery store can be rather insipid; I think thinly-sliced shallots would work well instead.

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, cold & cut into several pieces
2/3 cup milk, more or less
1 pound (or more) ripe tomatoes, skinned and sliced
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons slivered basil leaves
1 tablespoon snipped chives
1 + 1/2 cups grated sharp Cheddar cheese (I threw in some Parmesan as well)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until crumbly. (Some people uses forks, I use a pastry blender.) Stir in enough milk to make a springy dough. Spread some flour on your counter and roll out two-thirds of the dough to a size large enough to fit into a 9" pie plate. Place in pie pan, then put in a layer of tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, basil, chives, and some cheese. Repeat layers until all the tomatoes have been used. On the last layer, spread the mayonnaise over the top (a squirt bottle helps with this) before sprinkling on the remaining cheese.

Roll out the remaining dough and cover the pie. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the crust is golden. Serve warm.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

This is another favorite from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book (slightly adapted). The key is the almond extract, which I think goes wonderfully with chocolate.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Cream together butter, sugar, egg and extract. Blend in chocolate. Stir in dry ingredients, then oatmeal and nuts. Drop rounded tablespoons on the baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Slide parchment paper off the baking sheet and on to racks to cool cookies.