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Heirloom Tomato Pie

13 Aug

I fell in love with this recipe immediately when I saw it in one of last summer’s Food Network Magazines. I made it for a family get-together last summer. It was such a big hit, I kept it in the repertoire and decided to bring it back for Supper Club dinner recently.

Crust ingredients

It’s important before you begin ANYTHING else, to cut up all of your tomatoes, lay them out, and salt them generously on each side. Allow them to drain for a lengthy amount of time. I let them drain for more than an hour while I made everything else.

Salted Tomatoes

I prepared to make the cornmeal crust. It’s so simple to make – it all comes together quickly in the food processor! Then you just have to roll it out. The directions say to let it chill in the fridge for a while, but I usually skip that step. I guess it depends on how quickly you move and how “workable” the dough is.

Food processor crust

Ready to bake

You have to pre-bake this crust with pie weights so that the crust doesnt bubble up. You can either buy pie weights in the store or you can do what I did and buy a bag of dried beans in the supermarket 🙂 You can re-use the beans for all of your pie endeavors!

Pie weights while baking

Crust is ready

Now to make the filling…..

Filling ingredients

How are those tomatoes doing?? Flipped them over and salted the other side. I got 2 heirlooms from my favorite farm down the road, Skippack Creek Farm. The rest came from my garden!

Salted Tomatoes

The filling comes together so easily. Sautee, the onions, chop up the herbs, and combine everything with the cheese.

Filling mixture

Filling laid in the pie

The fun part is arranging the tomatoes on top of the filling! I like to make a pattern and distribute the colors as evenly as possible. DORK!!!

Tomato Design


I know that the recipe says to bake the pie as-is with the tomatoes on top, but I can never resist sprinkling some manchego cheese on top halfway through baking. Come on, everyone knows – the more cheese, the merrier!

With this crust, I have noticed that you definitely need to check it halfway through baking. It gets very brown, and to prevent from burning, you have to line the crust edges with tin foil. It’s a pain in the neck to wrap little pieces of foil around the crust, but it’s imperative in order not to burn your crust.

Look at how beautiful this is!!!!!!!!


Here you can see what the inside looks like.

Inside of pie

This pie is a real treat. It’s definitely a little bit of work, but it’s a special side dish to bring to a summer/early fall dinner. It will be the highlight of ANY meal, trust me!

Heirloom Tomato Pie


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • ¾ cup plus 3 tblsp shredded manchego cheese
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 ¼ pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 3 tblsp breadcrumbs
  • 3 tblsp chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme


Make the crust:

Pulse the flour, cornmeal, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter and 3 tblsp manchego cheese. Pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 4 tblsp ice water and pulse until the dough comes together. Add 1 more tblsp ice water if necessary. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm – about 15 to 30 minutes.

Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9.5” deep-dish-style pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat overn to 350.

Line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and the beans/weights and continue baking until golden all over, 10-15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Make the filling:

Heat 1 tblsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice tomatoes, toss with 1 tsp kosher salt in a colander. Let drain, gently tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 375. Combine the remaining ¾ cup manchego, mozzarella, mayo, breadcrumbs, 2 tblsp each of chives and parsley and thyme, ¼ tsp each of kosher salt and pepper, and the sautéed onion in a bowl. Spread in the crust. Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tblsp olive oil and season with pepper.

Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes. Top with remaining herbs.


Patio Picnic Burgers

10 Aug

This is an old family favorite. My mom’s been making these un-burger burgers since before I was born. I think it was in old cookbooks from the 60s and 70s. I dont even know and it doesnt matter.


What I know is these burgers are amazing. Everyone always raves over them. Robbb doubted me when I told him I was making this. As soon as he had it, he asked me to make it again within the week!

Assembled sandwich

I made them recently for my Supper Club dinner. As I said in that entry, my mom made them for my 8th grade graduation party and then took a pic of me eating one mid-bite…..oy!

Cheese on top – not mixed through

These “burgers” are, in fact, NOT burgers. They are more of a loose meat pseudo-sort of cheesesteak on a roll. And I use my own ground meat as an added flavor-boost.

Just out of the oven

I’m not sure I can accurately describe the taste. The evaporated milk makes the meat a smidge creamy, but yet the spicy mustard and hot sauce add a twang to it. And then you mix the meat with pickles and american cheese and tomatoes….so there is a fabulous pickle-cheese flavor going on.

Here is another unburger-burger weird factoid: you dont need any condiments. The meat mixture has all the vegetable fixins and there is mustard and ketchup in the meat and it doesnt beg for any additional condiments.


I just made them again for dinner tonight. I switched up the bun a bit and this time mixed the cheese, pickles, and tomatoes into the meat – as the directions say. And it was just awesome. I served it immediately – I didnt warm it in the oven this time.

Ready to take a bite

Holy smokes! Try this for your next outdoor get-together!

Patio Picnic Burgers


  • 1 pound ground meat
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ¼ cup chopped green pepper
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 1 tblsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tblsp hot mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Few drops of hot pepper sauce
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 8 french rolls (or whatever shape/size you like)
  • 1 cup grated American cheese
  • ¼ cup dill pickles, diced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced


Combine meat, onion, green pepper, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt, pepper, hot pepper sauce, and evaporated milk in skillet. Mix well and cook until beef is browned. Drain off excess fat.

Slice individual rolls and scoop out bread on inside.

Combine American cheese, dill pickles, and tomato with meat mixture. Spoon into rolls, packing well, but lightly. Close up roll and wrap in foil. Refrigerate until serving time. Before serving, place on grill or in oven to heat up thoroughly (oven is best). Or, just serve warm!

Homemade Pizza Dough and Pizzas

7 Aug

I dont know why, but I’ve always had a hangup about making pizza. You know how you have that ONE thing where you feel nervous and intimidated to do? It was pie crust and pizza for me. Last fall my mom helped me conquer pie crust. This summer I was bound and determined to conquer my fear of homemade pizza.

During my trip to Iowa/South Dakota with Keri, Jen, and Jess, in October we made pesto pizza on the grill. I was able to see it in action and see the “pros” make pizza on the grill. And taste it!!! It tasted amazing….I couldnt wait to make it myself. But I still had this stupid fear.

Sausage and mushrooms

Dough ingredients

This summer I decided to get over it. I worked up my courage this summer and read a LOT of homemade pizza recipes. And this weekend we finally decided to try it. We wanted to start small – just our fave regular toppings of Sausage and Mushroom to start out with. Then we figured we could experiment further with different combinations in the future once we mastered the basics first.

Frothy dough mixture

Sauteeing Creminis

Robbbb wanted his pizza in the oven. He didnt trust the grill method. So I agreed to make a large pie for him in the oven. But I knew I was making my pizza on the grill! I had to have that taste again and the thin, crispy crust. All throughout the afternoon, my friend Jen was texting me motivational support about making the pizza and reminding me of little tips and tricks that she does when making the pizza. She gave me this crust recipe and said it was the best-tasting one out there. I agree with her.

Robbbs Pie – before baking in the oven

Freshly baked

I spent the majority of the time making the dough, letting it rise, separating it out, letting it rise…..then it was SHOWTIME! I got Robbb’s together nicely. Except I let the pizza stone heat up, then took it out of the oven to top it. That was a mistake. I should have topped the dough first and then slid it right onto the freshly-hot pizza stone from the oven and put it back into the oven. The crust on the bottom didnt turn out as crispy as it should have.

Closeup of baked pizza

First slice!

Now for the grilled one: The important thing to remember while your grill is heating up – move alllllllll of your pizza toppings/sauce/cheese and TONGS to the grill area so you are ready to go quickly. I arranged all of my accoutrements around my grill area so I could quickly make my pizza directly on the grill.

Dough on the grill

Then I got to work on my two little mini-pizzas for the grill. They rolled out well. I took a baking sheet and flipped it upside-down, and sprinkled it with corn meal. I was able to put my rolled out doughs onto the baking sheet and was assured they wouldnt stick! I oiled the grill with olive oil. Then I slid my doughs, one at a time, onto the grill. I cooked it on medium heat for a few minutes until the under side was done to my liking. Meanwhile, I basted the top with olive oil.

Grilling sausage/mushroom pizza

Finished Sausage Mushroom on grill

I flipped the dough over and quickly got to work topping my pizza. Sauce, cheese, sausage, mushrooms, and basil! Then more cheese. I thought it wouldnt take as long to cook as it did. It took about another 5-8 minutes for the underside of the crust to be done. Then I slid it off the grill and onto the baking pan again to repeat the process with my other pizza: Pesto, cheese, and tomato. And more cheese. I like cheese.

Pesto Mozzarella on the Grill

Sliding pizza off the grill

We were very happy with our pizzas!!!! It was delicious and easy. We will FOR SURE be making them at least once a month from now on.

My minis next to each other….delicious

Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza Dough


  • 1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ tsp yeast)
  • 1 ½ cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing the pizza crusts
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bread bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Add the honey and stir together. Let sit 2 or 3 minutes or until the water is cloudy. Stir in the olive oil. Let sit 5-10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Using a stand mixer: Combine the flour and salt and add it to the yeast mixture all at once. Mix it together using the paddle attachment, then change to the dough hook. Knead at low speed for 2 minutes, then turn up to medium speed and knead until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.

3. Turn out onto a clean work surface with plenty of flour and knead by hand for 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should  be smooth and elastic. When you press it with your finger it should slowly spring back, and it should not feel tacky.

(If you are kneading the dough by hand: Mix together the yeast, honey, water and olive oil as directed in a medium-size or large bowl. Combine the flour and salt. Fold in the flour a cup at a time using a large wooden spoon. As soon as you can scrape the dough out in one piece, scrape it onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary until the dough is smooth and elastic.

If you are using a food processor: Mix together the yeast, honey, water and olive oil in a small bowl or measuring cup. Place the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once or twice. Then, with the machine running, pour in the yeast mixture. Process until the dough forms a ball on the blades. Remove the dough from the processor and knead it on a lightly floured surface for a couple of minutes, adding flour as necessary, until it is smooth and elastic.)

  1. Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, rounded side down first, then rounded side up. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm spot to rise for 30 minutes (you can leave it for up to an hour). When it is ready the dough will stretch as it is gently pulled.
  1. Using floured hands and surface, divide the dough into 2 to 4 equal balls, depending on how large you want your pizzas to be. Shape each ball by gently pulling down the  sides of the dough and tucking each pull under the bottom of the ball, working round and round the ball 4 or 5 times. Then, on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball around under your palm until the ball feels smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Put the balls on a tray or platter, cover with pan-sprayed plastic wrap or a damp towel, and leave them to rest for at least 30 minutes. (At this point, the dough balls can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 1 to 2 days. You will need to punch them down again when you are ready to roll out the pizzas.)
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Place a pizza stone in the oven to heat. In the meantime, press out the dough. Place a ball of dough on a lightly floured surface. While turning the dough, press down on its center with the heel of your hand, gradually spreading it out to a circle 7 to 8 inches in diameter for small pizzas, 12 to 14 for larger pizzas. Alternatively, use a rolling pin to get an even circle. With your fingers, form a slightly thicker raised rim around edge of the circle. Brush everything but the rim with a little olive oil, then top the pizza as you like. You can transfer the pizza to a lightly oiled pizza pan if you like, or bake it directly on the stone.
  1. Depending on your taste, spread the dough with marinara sauce or pesto sauce (about 2 tablespoons for small pizzas, 1/4 to 1/3 cup for larger ones). If you don’t have sauce, a can of tomatoes, drained, chopped, and seasoned with salt and chopped sautéed garlic, will do. Top with the shredded or grated cheeses of your choice. Add thinly sliced vegetables such as Roma tomatoes, pitted olives, red peppers, or red onions; sautéed sliced vegetables such as mushrooms,      eggplant, zucchini, or artichoke hearts; thinly sliced cured meats such as pepperoni or prosciutto; or small pieces of lightly cooked chicken or shrimp. Add a lightly sprinkling of grated Parmesan or crumbled goat cheese or blue cheese and some minced or julienned fresh herbs such as basil or oregano or dried herbs such as thyme, oregano, or herbes de Provence.

My toppings here were:

Pizza 1 – Pizza sauce, sautéed cremini mushrooms from the farmers market, sausage, and mozzarella.

Pizza 2 – Pesto made fresh from basil at the farmers market, locatelli, tomato from my garden, and mozzarella.

  1. Dust a pizza paddle (also called a pizz peel) with corn meal and slip it under the pizza. Slide the pizza onto the baking stone or into the pizza pan (or place the pizza pan on the stone – the heat from the stone will help it achieve a crisp      crust). Bake until the cheese topping is bubbling and the rim of the crust is deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. (NOTE: it took about 20-25 minutes for my pizza to be to our liking)
  1. Use the pizza peel to slide the pizza out of the oven and onto a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the pizza into slices and serve immediately.

Chris’s Bay Area Burgers

1 Aug

You know the saying “Simpler is better”? That is so true for these burgers. Sometimes people think good burgers need to contain multiple ingredients in order for it to taste so good. Wrong!

Look at those 7 ingredients!

For the past year, I’ve been making pickle burgers. They’ve been amazing (I’ll have to post the recipe as well just for something different) but we were burnt out and looking for a different burger.

Mix this by hand

Up Close Goodness

Robbb found this recipe on and I was game. I had all the ingredients (I have 9 HUGE basil plants) and wanted to try it out. I dont know who Chris is, but I imagine he lives in the “Bay Area”…..wherever you are, Chris, you had it RIGHT!!!! These burgers are just so delicious.

I make a bunch ahead of time to freeze

You can TASTE the olive oil and basil. It tastes so fresh and good. I usually make a couple pounds of meat and triple/quadruple this recipe so I can stash some in the freezer for quick weeknight meals!

Robbb’s Burgers on the Bun

My lone burger with no bun

Cut open juiciness

Thank you, Chris, from the Bay Area!!

Chris’s Bay Area Burgers


  •                     1 pound ground beef
  •                     2 cloves garlic, minced
  •                     2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  •                     1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •                     1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  •                     1/2 teaspoon dry basil leaves (I use some shredded fresh leaves)
  •                     Dash of worcestshire sauce
  •                     4 hamburger buns, split

Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.

Mix together the ground beef, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and basil. Divide into four balls, and flatten into patties.

Cook the patties for about 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or to desired doneness. The internal temperature should be at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Remove from grill and place onto hamburger buns. Top with desired toppings and condiments. I’ve found that basic ketchup does this burger a lot of justice!

Basic Breaded Chicken Cutlets

29 Apr

This “recipe” is so basic it’s not even funny. But I figured there are some people who didnt grow up eating this chicken so I wanted to share. This was a basic chicken recipe my mom would start with and then maybe make a mushroom and wine/sherry sauce for the top. Hers always tasted great and was nice and moist.

This is also the base for some of the more popular, yummy italian chicken dishes: parmigiana, francaise, scallopini, etc.


Flour, egg wash, breadcrumb station

The key is dipping thin pieces of chicken into egg wash, then flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs or panko. I prefer bread crumbs (Robbb prefers panko)iugoyp.pp.

Yes, butter AND olive oil

Since you are using thin cuts of chicken, it wont take long to sautee. When you sautee, remember to use butter AND olive oil for a richer taste.

Raw breaded cutlets

Cutlets sauteeing

This is an easy weeknight meal. You can do a number of things to make this meal as basic or as lavish as you want. We tend to keep it basic. Robbb enjoys either plain or sometimes with ketchup (gross). I prefer mine with a lot of lemon juice on top. Tastes fresh!

Yummy plate o'chicken

Closeup of Yum

Breaded Chicken Cutlets


  • 1 package of chicken breasts, pounded thin (or buy the pre-pounded package)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (more if needed)
  • butter and olive oil


Put flour, salt, and pepper in a plastic bag (or dish). Beat eggs in a wide bowl. And put breadcrumbs in casserole dish or plate. Put butter and olive oil in a large sautee pan.

Take chicken and dip into egg wash, then place into flour mixture and mix well. Then dip back into egg wash quickly, and then dip into the breadcrumbs and coat well.

Place chicken in hot sautee pan and cook well on both sides on medium heat. Top – or finish as you like.

Homemade Sloppy Joes

2 Apr

I saw this recipe in an issue of Rachael Ray’s Magazine in the fall. It looked easy and something that I could quickly put together on a weeknight. It also looked tasty and accessible with ingredients anyone would have on hand – which is key for me!

Ingredients - notice, i had already chopped up the onion and pepper

Originally it called for Bison meat since bison meat is very low-fat and delicious. I just tried a bison burger for the first time in South Dakota in October when I was out on a road trip with my girlfriends, Keri and Jen! It tasted just like beef – but it is healthier! When I make this recipe though, I usually just use beef because it’s easier to find. Although I am trying it with bison meat for the first time tonight!


I tweaked the recipe slightly and added some Dijon to it. We felt it needed some “umph” – not a spicy kick, but some umph!  Once I added the Dijon the next time I made it, it was perfect. This is an EXCELLENT weeknight meal – I highly recommend it!

Off the bun

I eat it off the bun – Robbbbb eats it on the bun.

On the bun

Sloppy Joe   (makes 6)

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tblsp EVOO
  • 1 lb ground bison (I used beef the first time and it’s yummy….i also just used bison and it was great)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cups no-salt-added tomato puree
  • 1.5 tblsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tblsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tblsp worcestshire sauce
  • 1 tblsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • (hamburger buns)

Using a food processor, coarsely chop the onion and bell pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the onion/pepper mixture and cook until softened – about 3 minutes.

Add the meat, breaking it up with a spoon and cook until it loses its redness.

Stir in the chili powder. Add the tomato puree, brown sugar, vinegar, worcestshire sauce, dijon, and salt. Simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5 – 10 minutes.

Maureen’s Meatloaf

25 Mar

I am not sure why, but I HATED meatloaf growing up. Then in my mid-20’s I started coming around. And when Robbbbbb moved in with me, I decided to make it for him since he loved it. Lo and behold, I started liking it, too. For the longest time, I was using my mom’s meatloaf recipe. She got her recipe from Joy of Cooking. It was a good basic meatloaf. It tasted good, it was easy, and always pleased.

I believe I was on Facebook talking about how I was about to make some meatloaf. And my dear friend, Maureen Schoolman, chimed in and challenged me saying HER meatloaf was the best. I scoffed at the idea, but asked for her recipe to give it a whirl. Let me tell you, this recipe is NOT to be doubted. I knew after making it the first time, that this was the BEST meatloaf I’ve ever had (except for this amazing Italian stuffed meatloaf recipe my mom has). The mixture of sautéed veggies, spicy sausage, and ground beef is just to die for. I tweaked her recipe ever so slightly to satisfy our tastes.

Maureen’s meatloaf starts off by INSISTING that you chop the vegetables for this recipe VERY FINE. And I put mine through the food processor to ensure they’re REALLY ground up.

Simple ingredients...

Veggies Sauteeing

Then the veggies are sautéed for a while to get them all soft and release all their flavors.

Add Spices

Then you add some seasonings and sauce to the sauteéd veggies.

The mixture

Meanwhile, you combine the beef, sausage, oats, eggs, and parsley in a bowl. Then you add the sautéed vegetable mix into the bowl of meat and combine thoroughly.

Ready to Bake

Pour a lil ketchup on top of the loaf, and put into the oven!

Mmmmmm, Loafy Goodness

Meatlaf with a Yorkshire Pudding

Check out that yummy goodness. I have it paired with a Yorkshire Pudding which was a perfect choice! Dont worry – I’ll post the yorkshire pudding recipe soon enough.

Thank you so much for challenging me on my boring, basic meatloaf, Maureen. Your meatloaf totally kicks my meatloaf’s butt – and I am glad 🙂


Maureen Schoolman’s Meat Loaf

• 1 ½ cup of finely* chopped onion
• 1 celery rib, chopped fine*
• 1 Tbsp minced garlic
• 1 carrot, chopped fine*
• 2 Tbsp canola oil
• 1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
• 2 tsp Worscestershire sauce
• 2/3 cup ketchup
• 1 1/2 pounds of extra lean ground beef
• 1/2 pound of spicy hot sausage (I usually use a pound)
• 1 cup fresh rolled oats
• 2 large eggs, beaten slightly
• 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. In a large heavy skillet cook the onion, celery, carrot and garlic in oil, over medium heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Cover the skillet and stir occassionally until the carrots are tender, about 5 more minutes. Stir in pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and 1/3 a cup of ketchup. Cook for 1 more minute.
3. In a large bowl, combine the meats, eggs, vegetables, oats, and parsley. Form into a loaf and put into a rectangular baking pan with 2-inch high sides. Cover the loaf with remaining ketchup.
4. Bake the meatloaf in the oven for 1 hour.

* When it calls for ‘finely’ chopped, really, really finely chop. it makes a difference! I use my food processor.

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