Category: casseroles

Wendy’s Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie!

’tis pie season. Tomato Pie Season. And I can’t believe I have never put my Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie here….  

Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie

Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie
Photo by Matt Hulsman for Our State Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As food stylist and recipe developer at Our State Magazine for 5 years, I often prepared and styled recipes from church and community cookbooks they featured each month, while sometimes I created recipes for the magazine. Now those who know me well know getting in one of my kitchens and doing some “throw cooking” creating recipes of my own…. usually with North Carolina goodies, is my mostest favorite thing to do!  And this tomato pie 

Sometimes, ingredients just harmonize and the recipe turns out just right the first time!  This tomato pie is one of those times. I get visions in my head… and can hardly wait to pull together the ingredients and start playing! Although rare, there certainly are disasters and some “what was I thinking” concoctions, but for the most part, I believe this to be a talent given to me by God… there’s just no other explanation.  That, along with just having taste buds that seem to know what tastes good together is my “formula.”  This comes to me naturally, and it is so hard for me to grasp that this simple thing, for others, is terrifying and beyond anything they can or will do.  We had this very conversation this past weekend where I was throwing together my okra salad, a variation of it, and folks there were just mesmerized at what I did, and said in a million years would have never thought to do such a thing… while gobbling it all down!

So when the subject of tomato pies came up, I came here to get the link and text to them. And it wasn’t even here!  So today, I’m fixing that.  

This simple summer pie can be made in a flash… and that’s just what kind of cook’n we all prefer in prime tomato season when adding heat to our lives in any fashion is not on our agenda… at least not here in North Carolina, where the heat and humidity becomes absurd.  July, August and September are prime field tomato months for us, although I’m fortunate to have some farmers near me who grow some pretty darn good hot house tomatoes we start eating about March or April! So “Tomato Everything” graces my menus and recipes, and that’s fine by me… as I’d just as soon eat juicy fresh local summer ‘maters as I had a hunk’o steak!  

You can Google and scour Pinterest for “tomato pie” recipes, and find thousands of them… most claiming to be “the best tomato pie you’ve ever had.”  But I’m here to tell you, I’m laying claim to that title with MY tomato pie. Period.

There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, it has Duke’s mayonnaise, which speaks for itself! And if you live in a place where there is no Duke’s, I have full pity on you… (but you CAN order online from them or have friends and relatives visiting you from The Land of Duke’s bring you some). Many of y’all know by now that my “little” (back then) nephew Wyatt and I had the opportunity to be featured in several Duke’s commercials a few years back. We became something akin to “celebrities” for a few years as they would run starting in spring and tomato sandwich time, right on through the end of tomato season in fall.  And he was BMOC2G (big man on campus in 2nd grade). So anytime I can throw some Duke’s in a recipe, I do.

Nextly… most tomato pies you see use mozzarella, or cheddar cheese.  Nope, not around here! I’m a Swiss cheese fanatic, and when others are using the same old kinds of cheeses in recipes, you’ll likely find Swiss in mine…. like my Swiss Pimiento Cheese (another recipe I throw together and need to throw here too)!

And lastly…. you will typically see herbs from what I call the “Italian Family” in tomato pies, but you haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed a meaty juicy tomato pie…with fresh DILL!

So those couple of things married together make my taste buds do a culinary happy dance. And I’m sure they will do the same for yours.  So without further babble…. I bring you, my Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie! I do hope you will make one soon, and come back here and share your review with me… and that you and yours love it as much as me and mine do. And since I have all the ingredients on hand, I think I shall throw myself one together now too. One can never have too much tomato pie, right?

Dilly Swiss Tomato Pie

Most tomato pies will feature cheddar or mozzarella cheeses, and typically, herbs and seasonings in the Italian family. This one takes the "usual" to "unusual" and brings the fresh flavor of dill to the table, with the rich creaminess of Swiss cheese... finished off with the crispy crunchy onion topping. You can even make this crustless.... for more of a tomato pudding than pie!

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Side Dish
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 6 (or sometimes, just 1!)
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 1 store bought deep dish pie crust (or your own)
  • 3-4 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2" slices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • several turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 whole green onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Duke's mayonnaise
  • 1 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup canned French-fried onion topping
Instructions
  1. Place the tomato slices in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Let tomatoes drain for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Dry any surface moisture with a paper towel.
    NOTE: The longer you let the tomatoes sit the better as the more moisture you can pull, the meatier they will be. I sometimes slice and salt in the morning for cooking my pie later in the day.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350º. Prick the bottom and sides of the piecrust with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes.

  3. In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise and cheese. Fold in the chopped dill.
  4. Layer the tomato slices in the piecrust. Season them with black pepper. Scatter with chopped green onions. Dollop the mayonnaise and cheese mixture over the tomatoes and onions.

  5. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melting and starts to brown. Scatter with fried onion topping, then bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes. Slice and serve warm.

Recipe Notes

Variation: You can use a variety of tomatoes for added color and flavors!  

Your pie will have more onion crust topping than this picture.... sometimes "things" have to be done in the name of food styling for better photos, and this is an example.  Too much of the onion and you wouldn't see the beautiful meaty tomatoes underneath!

Recipe originally published in Our State Magazine ~ July 2015

Cooked any good Groundhog lately?

groundhog-pirate2

To celebrate the day, the lazy blogger is sharing this annual post originally from 2011!  However, that’s about to change and routine blogging is about to commence this week.  I’m ready  with all sorts of goodies for you and I hope you are too…

So, what exactly IS a groundhog?  As I researched to see exactly what they are, I learned that they are also ‘woodchucks’ (huh?) or ground beavers!  Oh great, that tells me a lot.  I’m not sure, but I don’t think we have this particular specie of hog in my vicinity here in central North Carolina.  We have hogs with snouts and hogs with tailpipes, but pretty sure no ‘ground’ hogs.  However, I’ve been known to be wrong so somebody correct if that be the case.  This is a really good pie.  I have made it, just was fresh out of ground hog, so I used ‘regular’ hog instead.  I hope you will give it a try… with good old NC Sweet Potatoes and some good local pork from wherever you are.

That whole shadow thing has always confused me…  as I already have brain overload and remembering this is not of vital importance so I never saw fit to ‘file’ this up there.  If he (or she?) sees a shadow, which is it?  More winter or less?  And best I remember, predictions of weeks of future weather offered up by a ground beaver is about as accurate as our local weather folks when they say those proverbial words… “we’re on the line and don’t think there will be significant accumulation,” only to wake up to a FOOT of snow!

So since groundhogs aren’t worth much when it comes to weather forecasting, I wondered if they may, perhaps, be edible.  Always one to explore new culinary adventures, a-googling I went!  Turns out, this hog is dark meat, similar to squirrel or rabbit.  Now I haven’t cooked either one of those lately either… so I dig deeper.  If you get yourself a hog that’s been hibernating, you are gonna need to remove the layer of fat that has piled up under the skin… and while in there, you’ll need to yank out their ‘stinky’ glands.  If your hog is a senior citizen, parboiling is going to be necessary before cook’n.  (Apparently inspecting the hog’s teeth will give clues as to age, but unless you’re a wildlife dentist, I’m not sure how to know this!).

So, since PIE is on top of all the 2011 trend Lists as ‘hot stuff’ this year, I salute thee, Pie… Groundhog Pie!  If you have a favorite Groundhog recipe, do tell… and share it!  And MY prediction… Sunny Skies ahead for all… whether you’re east, west, north or south of me… especially to my friends in the midst of Snowpocolypse this week… better y’all than me!

(still learning all the bells and whistles to the new recipe print feature… a few kinks to get worked out…stay tuned!)

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

TOPPING:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I cook mine in the micro)
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt

FILLING:

  • About 2 pounds lean ground groundhog
    (if you must, you can sub ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken)
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoon garlic oil, divided
  • 1-14 ounce can Mexi-Corn, drained*
  • 2-15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-7 ounce can diced roasted chilies
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
  • fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375°.

TOPPING:

Combine (cooked) mashed potatoes, milk, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon  and salt.  Mix well; set aside.

PIE FILLING:

In oven-safe skillet or small roasting pan, brown ground groundhog and onion in 2 tablespoons garlic oil; drain and set aside.  Add remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and corn, stirring several minutes to lightly toast corn.  Stir in tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, cumin and oregano.  Cook until hot and well-blended and juices reduce.  Remove from heat and mix in meat-onion mixture.  Add 1 ½ cups cheese into mixture.  Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading to edges.  Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese.  Bake in 375° oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

Servings: 4-6 depending on your eaters

Southwestern Groundhog Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Tater Topping

What to throw together...

  • TOPPING:
  • 3 large sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed (I cook mine in the micro)
  • 1 tall can evaporated milk
  • 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, coarsely chopped (more if you like it hotter)
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
  • FILLING:
  • About 2 pounds lean ground groundhog
  • _ (if you must, you can sub ground beef, turkey, pork, chicken)_
  • 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoon garlic oil, divided
  • 1-14 ounce can Mexi-Corn, drained*
  • 2-15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1-7 ounce can diced roasted chilies
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
  • fresh cilantro
  • Preheat oven to 375°.
  • TOPPING:
  • Combine (cooked) mashed potatoes, milk, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, cinnamon and salt. Mix well; set aside.
  • PIE FILLING:
  • In oven-safe skillet or small roasting pan, brown ground groundhog and onion in 2 tablespoons garlic oil; drain and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon of garlic oil and corn, stirring several minutes to lightly toast corn. Stir in tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Cook until hot and well-blended and juices reduce. Remove from heat and mix in meat-onion mixture. Add 1 ½ cups cheese into mixture. Top with sweet potato mixture, spreading to edges. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake in 375° oven for 25-30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro! Serve with side of black beans topped with a dollop of sour cream.

Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro!  Serve with side of black beans topped with a dollop of sour cream.

* Put corn juice into your freezer soup pot…more on that to come!

Counting blessings ~ what we take for granted…

bless·ing  [bles-ing]
the invoking of God’s favor upon a person

I should rename this “The Molasses Blog” since that’s about the speed I do blog posts!  So many things get ‘in the way’… work, new projects and clients, having fun with my incredibly fun-funny-wondermous nephew Wyatt and just life in general…
What a blessing to have Wyatt in my life!

Determined to throw out one more post before flip’n my calendar to 2012 (!), I squint as I write this as my left retina decided to just randomly detach itself from my eyeball days before Christmas… I ended up having emergency eye surgery on Christmas Eve eve, then having more (laser) surgery at my recheck the next morn on Christmas Eve… I was ordered to stay flat on my left side until today, and still must spend as much time as I can stand sideways a few more days for proper healing.  (For the record, should you ever find yourself sideways for long periods of time, you can do Control/Alt/Left or Right Arrow and your screen will magically turn that way for horizontal computing!)

I did get a great report at my follow up yesterday and am (knock-on-wood) healing nicely!  Before I get back to the topic at hand, I would like to sing the praises of all the docs that took care of me… from Eye Care Associates in Zebulon to Retina Associates in Raleigh and right on over to those at the Kittner Eye Center in Chapel Hill… what a grand bunch of well-trained folks… INCLUDING caring ‘bedside manor.’ I’m so grateful to all these folks and happy my sight is still intact in my eye… all the docs told me that had I waited even a day longer, it was probable I would have lost sight in my left eye… gosh how we take so many things for granted, like being able to SEE what’s around us!!
What a blessing it is to have sight!

And a quick hug to my sis too… for being my chauffeur and ‘patient advocate’ staying right by my side thru all of this and letting me recoup at her house too!
What a blessing to have a SISTER!

Do things in your freezer appear to be from outer space?

As we rush off into the new year, if you are like me, you feel the need to tidy things up a bit… organize and reorganize and have a fresh start.  Now, more than ever, so many of us continue to slide the old budget belt a bit tighter and I’d like to help you with that, starting, of course, in your kitchen.  When was the last time you took inventory of what’s in your freezer?  Have you EVER taken inventory of what’s in your freezer? I take for granted the fact that my freezer (make that freezerS) are full and hunger or the lack of money to feed myself  (or children if I had any) isn’t a worry as it is for growing numbers of those around us.  I admit I hoard food… another topic for another post… but ,
What a blessing it is to have a pantry, fridge and freezer(s) full of all sorts of foods at arm’s reach!

This weekend is a perfect time to take stock of your food blessings, starting in your freezer.  It really doesn’t take very long… here are just a few tips to get you going as you look to SEE what’s in yours! Be sure you have plenty of time to do this right and are not rushed so halfway through you abort the mission and have to go do something else.

The things in BOLD will give you a quick glace to see what you will need to gather and have ready in advance… now GO “git ‘er done” then come back and add your comments about your freezer adventure and let me know this post inspired youBearShareV10!

  • Put on some fun peppy music that will get you in the mood… stuff you like to sing in the shower or car…  or just plug in your iPod and let ‘er rip!
  • Sit out supplies:
    • name brand zippered bags, assorted sizes (based on my experience, store brands SUCK in this category)
    • dry erase board with markers
    • notepad/pen
    • some way to make labels (label maker, freezer tape and perm marker, your own paper labels with tape, etc.
  • Clear countertop and/or table so as you take everything out you can organize the ‘stuff’ into categories and like-items into piles for repacking.
  • Remove everything from your freezer.   If a small freezer, you can work fast enough so foods won’t thaw.  I do not recommend doing this on a hot day.  If you have a big freezer(s), do this on a cold winter’s day when you can simply sit the foods outside in shaded cold area.
  • Give it a quick cleaning by washing out with warm soapy water.  “Rinse” with a mixture of water and baking soda.  This will remove soap residue, remove odors and give a fresh start.  To keep it smelling fresh, I prefer a few lumps of charcoal.  I find they absorb odors better than other options.  Just put them in a cup somewhere in the freezer and I think you will notice the same.
  • As you get ready to restock foods into the nice clean freezer, toss out any with freezer burn (ice crystals…that stuff you can no longer recognize) or is so old you wouldn’t feed it to stray dogs or throw in a pond for fish!  And always remember…
    Never risk the plight of food poisoning over a little pack of old food… a regret you should never have!
  • Using the ziplock bags and other supplies, repackage anything that needs it.  Mash things flat for easier stacking or for sliding into small spaces in your freezer.  Freeze in a pile, then you can leave that way, or stack like this upright, depending on what works for best use of space for you.
  • As you repackage/replace your food, write each thing on the dry erase board.  As you menu plan for the week and make your grocery shopping list,  you can quickly glance at the list and see what you have to use.  As you use, simply wipe off the board, and as you buy and add new things or add leftover tidbits, write on this board (while also dating and labeling the package).  This system will greatly reduce your freezer waste (but only if you use it).
  • I have a couple of outdoor refrigerators with small top freezers and a chest freezer… i keep ‘inventory’ on those by writing on the freezer door with a dry erase marker (just like a dry erase board)… and at a glance I can see what’s in there… wipe off with my finger when something comes out and keep a pen on top of the freezer to add what goes in.

For tips on freezing foods, I’ll point you to a recent online article where I was consulted and provided helpful information on this topic.  You can read that at DinnerTool…

“How To Prevent Freezer Burn”
by Amber Greviskes

Now that you have your nice inventory list… here are a few sites where you can visit to plug in ingredient(s) to find recipes to create with them, or… simply “Throw Cook” something yourself.  If you need help or suggestions, post for me over on my “Throw Cooking” facebook page and I’ll throw you some ideas.

Now… sit back, relax and enjoy ringing in the New Year with your freshly cleaned freezer and ‘whatever’ you pulled out to cook up!  And “just in case” our superstitions hold true,  I hope you’ll ‘throw’ some Southern Traditions on the table…

Black-Eyed Peas for prosperity and good luck… greens (cabbards for this gal-see recipe) for money and fortune… and of course, cornbread, which represents gold!  I’m having thoughts of a Bloody Mary BE Peas and Greens Soup… kept warm in the crock pot for anybody who wants to drop by… throw in your fav bloody mary mix, drain/rinsed canned or frozen, greens (cabbards, collards, cabbage, etc.), some chopped onions and celery if you have… and whatever seasonings strike your fancy!  Serve with Cornbread Cookies or your own cornbread recipe… iced tea or a real cold beer!  Now wipe that drool away, get ready to clean out your freezer for a fresh start… and have a safe and fun weekend with your friends and family… see y’all NEXT year.


What a blessing it is to be here today, writing this blog post, with ‘saved’ eyesight looking towards a new year!

Happy New Year Y’all…
Wendy… aka “Dee Dee”