TOMATO AND CHEESE PIE

Tomato and Cheese pies have been something on my bucket list to prepare for quite some time. I had the pleasure of making this vegetarian delight for good friends and fellow fooderati at the Sanibel Community House when I was asked to speak about tomatoes at our monthly potluck dinner lecture series a few months ago.  The Sanibel Community House is in the process of raising funds for a major renovation which will include a large professional kitchen to accommodate food crafting and cooking classes for islanders, vacationers and everyone interested in the Sanibel and Captiva Island community. For more information, check out their efforts on www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net.

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This pie is so simple to prepare that I tried making several versions the next day for my bakery on Sanibel Island, Geppetto’s Beach Foodies. It is a vegetarian favorite and a new staple on our menu. Even more exciting is that I shared the recipe with a close friend from  New York. Fedela Kessler tried the recipe and sent me a pic of her craft (see below). Thanks Fedela for trying it out and sending your feedback. I miss our diner chats.

 

FedelasTomatoPie

 

Enjoy!

Donna

 

 Difficulty                                                                                                        1 FORK

INGREDIENTS:

  • In a hurry and you have no time to make your own pie crust?  Try Pillsbury Pet Ritz brand frozen pie crust shells. The Pet Ritz crust is flaky, buttery and withstands sweet fruit or savory tomato liquids when the pie is cut.
  • 6 medium beefsteak tomatoes. Note: I mixed in colorful heirloom tomatoes for interest.
  • Sea Salt and Pepper
  • Italian Seasonings
  • Fresh Basil finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped scallions
  • 2 cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 cup Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
  • Colorful Yellow and Red Grape Tomatoes for Garnish

 

RECIPE:

  •  PREP WORK:
  • Preheat Oven to 375.
  • Poke holes with fork tines – 10 to 12 times.
  • Bake frozen pie crust shells for 8 minutes. Remove and Cool.
  • Peel and slice tomatoes to 1/8 inch thickness
  • In a bowl, combine 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella  with 1 cup mayonnaise.
  • ASSEMBLE THE PIE:
  • Layer the tomatoes in the pie shell.
  • Layer the ½ cup scallions.
  • Season with Salt and Pepper, Italian Seasonings and fresh chopped basil
  • Sprinkle with ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • Spread the cheese/mayo mixture on top.
  • Garnish with grape tomatoes, remaining chopped basil, salt , pepper, Italian seasonings.

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BAKE the pie for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned.

Cool and Serve.

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PIE VARIATIONS:

  1. Substitute Cheddar or Monterey Jack shredded cheese or make a pie with a combination of cheeses.
  2. Substitute ½ of the amount of mayo with plain yogurt.
  3. The sky is the limit with a variety of different garnishes ie: pine nuts, dried fruits, spinach & artichoke
  4. Turn this into a one meal pie. Add a layer of cooked and sliced sausage or a healthier alternative of cooked ground turkey meat or fish.
  5. For a firmer bottom crust, layer some cheese slices on the bottom of the pie. Then add the tomato, onions, meat if desired.
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Opening Day at The Famers Market on Sanibel Island

OPENING DAY AT THE FARMERS MARKET ON SANIBEL ISLAND

Guest Blogger: Veruska Koerner, President VK Media. Veruska is a native of Suriname and frequents the Sanibel Farmers Market with her husband,photographer Chris.  Photos for this blog are courtesy of Christopher Koerner Photography.

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It is Sunday, October 5th and the first cool crisp Sunday morning which tells even those of us living in Southwest Florida that it is the beginning of the fall season and even better, it is opening day at the Farmers Market on Sanibel.

The Sanibel Island Farmers Market was established in 2008. It is a favorite outdoor activity for islanders and visitors from October through April. Along with local produce vendors, you will find breads, honey, seafood, meats, flowers, cheeses and many other locally grown organic products that create a well-rounded enjoyable Sunday outing for everyone including well behaved dogs.

This year, a few new vendors were added, which was a nice welcome to the familiar favorites. One produce vendor in particular caught my eye. They imported a variety of exotic fruits to the US, some of which I enjoyed in my native country of Suriname. I have never seen these fresh fruits in any markets or stores in or around Fort Myers and Sanibel/Captiva so you can imagine my excitement to taste a little nostalgia. There were Rambutan, Longan, Knippa also known as Spanish Lime in the USA and Carambola or Star fruit just to name a few. If you are not familiar with any of these, see if your local gourmet market carries them or if you are in Sanibel on a Sunday morning, then stop byand give them a try.

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Another must try was the Dutch vendor called Dutchkinz. He sold all sorts of typical Dutch treats such as oliebollen and poffertjes which are sweet fluffy spongy pancakes made with buckwheat flour. If you have a sweet tooth and never had any of these before, you are in for a treat.

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There is something for everyone at the Sanibel Farmers Market. It has become a meeting place for the crowd of people who frequent this venue each week. The residents are there when the market opens. Vacationers meander throughout the morning and complete yet one more activity on their vacation travel bucket list. The vendors are friendly and the fresh produce will make your next meal a memorable one. Check it out if you are ever in the area. The Sanibel Farmers Market is open every Sunday through April from 8:00 am till 1:00 pm.