Tuesday, July 14, 2009

George's Tomato Pie

Nick's friend George came over for the day, and he taught us to make tomato pie. George likes to put bacon in his, but we didn't have any, so ours was vegetarian. It was so good, it disappeared almost as soon as it came out of the oven!

George's Tomato Pie

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup flour
pinch salt
3 large plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green onion, sliced very thin
pinch oregano
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
4 tablespoons mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the vegetable oil, milk, flour, and salt and mix until it is pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If the mixture is too sticky, add small amounts of flour until it forms a ball. Grease the bottom of an 8" x 8" brownie pan with a little oil. Push the dough into the bottom of the pan to cover. Bake the dough for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 375 degrees.

Meanwhile, combine the chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic, onion, and oregano in a small bowl. Combine the cheese and the mayonnaise in a separate bowl. Dump the tomato mixture on top of the crust and spread to cover. Plop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture on top of that, and spread with the back of the spoon to cover the tomatoes. Cover loosely with tin foil. Cook for 1/2 hour. Remove tin foil, and cook for an additional 1/2 hour. Serve.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Crepe Madness

Here's why you should make some crepes:
  • You have all of the ingredients already on hand. Two cups of milk, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 stick of butter, melted, and a pinch of salt. Couldn't be simpler. Whiz the batter in a blender, and let it rest for 30 minutes before cooking.
  • They are fun to make. Heat a medium saute pan over high heat, brush with a little melted butter, and pour about 1/3 cup of batter into the pan. Swirl it around to make a thin, even layer. Cook until the edges begin to brown and look dry. Flip with a spatula and cook on the second side for a few seconds. Slide onto a waiting plate. You can stack them like pancakes.
  • They can be used in so many ways. Stuff them with cottage cheese and fresh fruit for breakfast. Spread them with Nutella and line them with banana slices for lunch. Dress them with sauteed vegetables and ricotta cheese for dinner. Fold them up and nap them with some cheese sauce for a snack.
Last nigh, Nick and I made Tyler Florence's recipe for crepes suzette with orange-butter sauce. I was surprised at how easy it was--although our first crepe tore into several pieces, the subsequent efforts came out of the pan flawlessly. Nick learned how to handle a hot pan, swirling and flipping and sliding the finished cakes onto a waiting plate. He also had his first taste of Grand Marnier, which he pronounced "strong" but "tasty."

The final dish was delicious, sweet and rich, bright and citrusy. Next time, I'd use less butter in the orange-butter sauce and maybe cook it down a bit longer. I'd also add a sprig of mint to the ice cream for fun.

The next morning, this is what Nick made himself for breakfast: crepe stuffed with scrambled eggs and garnished with fresh chives from the garden. You know you've got a budding cook in the house when he starts to garnish his breakfast!