Heirloom Tomato, Cheddar and Bacon Pie

 

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Photo: Hector Sanchez; Styling: Heather Chadduck, 2013

Southern Living Magazine raised the ante on classic tomato pie with a sour cream crust studded with bacon, layers of colorful tomatoes, and plenty of cheese and herbs to tie it all together. Nobody wants a soggy tomato pie, so for best results, seed the tomatoes and drain the slices before baking.This recipe is a bit time consuming and may take up to three hours to prepare,  but it is sure worth the effort!

RECIPE BY SOUTHERN LIVING
June 2013

Serves 6 to 8 

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
2 1/4 cups self-rising soft-wheat flour , such as White Lily®
1 cup cold butter, cut up
8 cooked bacon slices, chopped
3/4 cup sour cream

For Filling :
2 3/4 pounds assorted large heirloom tomatoes, divided (*See Cook’s Notes)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) freshly shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh dill sprigs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons plain yellow cornmeal

Directions:
Prepare Crust: Place flour in bowl of a heavy-duty electric stand mixer; cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or fork until mixture resembles small peas. Chill 10 minutes.

Add bacon to flour mixture; beat at low speed just until combined. Gradually add sour cream, 1/4 cup at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Spoon mixture onto a heavily floured surface; sprinkle lightly with flour, and knead 3 or 4 times, adding more flour as needed. Roll to a 13-inch round. Gently place dough in a 9-inch fluted tart pan with 2-inch sides and a removable bottom. Press dough into pan; trim off excess dough along edges. Chill 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare Filling: Cut 2 pounds of tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Stir together Cheddar cheese, next 10 ingredients, and remaining 1 tsp. salt in a large bowl until combined.

Pat tomato slices dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle cornmeal over bottom of crust. Lightly spread 1/2 cup cheese mixture onto crust; layer with half of tomato slices in slightly overlapping rows. Spread with 1/2 cup cheese mixture. Repeat layers, using remaining tomato slices and cheese mixture. Cut remaining 3/4 lb. tomatoes into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and arrange on top of pie.

Bake at 425° for 40 to 45 minutes, shielding edges with foil during last 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 1 to 2 hours before serving.

 

*Cook’s Notes:
To learn more about how to seed and drain tomatoes, please see Tori Avey’s tutorial at the following link: How to Seed Tomatoes

And a method is briefly outlined below:

  1. Place your tomato on a cutting board, stem side facing up.
  2. Roll the tomato sideways so the stem faces to the right, and cut the tomato down the center “equator” line into two halves.
  3. Use a small spoon or a quarter spoon melon baller to scoop the tomato seeds and any tough white core out of the four seed cavities. Discard the seeds.

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Crab Mac ‘N Cheese

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Wow!

I cannot believe it.  This is my 500th Post on this Blog and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate with my favorite comfort food.

I absolutely love Macaroni and Cheese and this is a very special dish meant for any occasion. The homemade bechamel sauce compliments the sweet jumbo lump crab meat perfectly. Serve it as a side dish or as an entree it’s a fantastic and budget friendly way to serve crab meat to a crowd with style.

Serves 6

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds conchigliette pasta*
1/4 cup butter
1 shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic,finely minced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded Asiago cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat, picked over
Chopped fresh parsley or crushed dried parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and return to pot.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add shallot and garlic and cook until fragrant and softened,for 3 minutes. Add flour and whisk until combined and golden, for about 1 minute. Add milk and season with salt and pepper. Simmer 2 minutes, until sauce is thickened and smooth.

Stir in 1/2 white cheddar, the mozzarella and Asiago until slightly melted, then remove from heat.

Add the bechamel sauce and crab meat to pot with cooked pasta and gently stir with a wooden spoon until completely combined.

Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheddar and 1/4 cup Parmesan and bake until bubbly, for 20 minutes.

Garnish the dish with parsley and serve immediately.

*Cooks Notes:
Conchiglie [koŋˈkiʎʎe], is a type of pasta in which the name is derived from the Italian word “conchiglia” .Commonly known as “shells” or “seashells” , this pasta is usually sold in the plain durum wheat variety, and also in colored varieties which use natural pigments, such as tomato extract, squid ink or spinach extract. The shell shape of the pasta allows the sauce to adhere to it. A miniature variety called conchigliette is also available.

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Cheesy Cauliflower Dippers

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Photo Credit: Super Health Kids, 2014.

Cauliflower is kind of a rockstar when it comes to eating well. Not only is it a delicious side veggie to include with dinners or a great veggie to serve raw on a veggie platter; it can also turn many of your favorite guilty pleasure foods into healthier, but still tasty, options. This idea from Super Healthy Kids is another great way for cauliflower to shine as a snack or meal. Check it out.

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 cup Mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided in half
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 ° F.

Rinse a head of cauliflower thoroughly. Then, roughly chop. Put chopped cauliflower into the food processor until it has broken down into very fine bits.

Heat an inch of water in a pot until it boils. Put the cauliflower mixture into the water and steam for 4-5 minutes. Cover with a lid while it cooks, but be sure to keep an eye on it so the water doesn’t boil over.

Once steamed, put cauliflower through a fine mesh strainer to drain the water. Use a spoon to squeeze as much water out as you can. Then, use a clean dry towel to squeeze out the rest of the extra water. Be careful though – water will be hot!

Combine cauliflower with the rest of your ingredients (using half the mozzarella and none of the Parmesan). Mix until well combined.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Spoon cauliflower mixture onto parchment paper and form a kind of “loaf” with your hands – recipe should form a rectangle that’s about 8 1/2″ x 11″.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Bake for another 10 or so minutes, until cheese is bubbly.

Remove from oven, slice and serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

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Mushroom and Fontina Stuffed Roasted Potatoes

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Are you bored with you ordinary loaded baked potatoes. Why not dress them up with an elegant topping of  buttery mushrooms and a wonderful ooey gooey melted cheese? The perfect comfort food for a Meatless Monday!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
4  russet baking potatoes
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds mixed mushrooms (i.e. maitake, oyster and enoki), cut into small pieces
Kosher salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup Italian Fontina cheese, shredded
Chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Wash or potatoes  thoroughly with a stiff brush and cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.

Using a fork, pierce the potatoes several times all over. This will allow the moisture to escape during cooking.

Place  the potatoes in a large  bowl and coat lightly with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet, and bake the potatoes for about 1 hour, until tender or until  the skin feels crisp but flesh beneath feels soft.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the olive oil. Cook the mushrooms over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Slice halfway down the length of each potato, then crack  each of the spuds open by squeezing the ends towards one another. It will pop right open. Be very careful; there will be some steam released. Spoon 1 tablespoon of butter and 2 tablespoons of cheese into each one. Season with salt. Top with the mushrooms and the remaining cheese. Bake for 3 minutes, until the cheese melts. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.

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Sautéed Mushrooms with Polenta

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A savory appetizer or main dish full with of flavorful mushrooms sautéed in herbs and a rich balsamic vinegar sauce, spooned over creamy polenta with melted  smoked gouda cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the  mushrooms:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Baby Bella  mushrooms, sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt, to taste

For the  polenta  (See Cook’s Notes):
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups instant polenta
8 ounces  smoked gouda  cheese, shredded (See Cook’s Notes)
Salt, to taste

Directions:

For  the mushrooms:Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add mushrooms; and cook stirring occasionally for 7 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, pepper and garlic; continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in balsamic vinegar, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan, stirring constantly about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, reduce to low. Stir in butter.  Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Keep warm.

For polenta: In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups milk and 2 1/4 cups chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; gradually stir in polenta; cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add more liquid (broth, milk or water) as needed to achieve desired consistency. Remove from heat. Add shredded cheese; stir to combine until smooth. Salt to taste. Serve polenta warm topped with mushrooms.

*Cook’s Notes:
Other cheeses may be substituted. A few recommendations: Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Fontina,  or Cheddar.

For a homemade polenta, follow the link here: Creamy Polenta

 

 

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Thank you so much!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Croque Madame

Bonjour !

Je vous présente la tartine du petit déjeuner ultime… la Croque Madame!

The croque madame, the classic French ham and cheese sandwich covered in cheesy bechamel, with a fried egg placed on top of it.  Ham and cheese never tasted so good!

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Hello Friends!

All photographs and content are copyright protected. Please do not use these photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this photograph and all other contents, then we kindly ask that you link back to this site. We are eternally grateful and we appreciate your support of this blog.

Thank you so much!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Truffled Lobster Macaroni and Cheese

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This is the perfect dish for when you want to indulge and eat like royalty! This Truffle Lobster Mac n’ Cheese is filled with succulent chunks of lobster meat, black  truffle butter, and packed with an assortment of cheeses.This is the pinnacle of elevated comfort food. It’s sophisticated, yet  laid back; a grown up mac n’ cheese!

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients:
1 pound dried macaroni pasta
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 pound  cooked lobster meat, chopped*
8 ounces Gruyere cheese, cubed
½ cup Mozzarella cheese, cubed
1/3 cup Fontina cheese, cubed
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup smoked Gouda cheese, cubed
1/2 cup heavy cream
½ cup D’artagnan Black Truffle Butter
All-purpose flour, if needed
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 º F.

Grease a 3-quart baking dish and set aside.

In a large stockpot, bring the water  and chicken broth to a  boil.Add  the  pasta  to the  boiling liquids and cook 12 to 15 minutes, or to desired tenderness.Drain pasta, return to the same pot and set aside.

Meanwhile,  add  the oil to a large skillet and heat on medium heat. Add the  onions,leek, thyme and a pinch salt and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent and the leeks are tender. Remove from  heat and set aside.

Heat a large  saucepan over medium heat, and add the cook pasta. Stir in the onion and leek  mixture, lobster meat, the cheeses, heavy cream, truffle butter,salt, white pepper, cayenne pepper and parsley into the cooked pasta. If the mixture is loose or too soupy stir in the flour if needed. Stir gently and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

Bake, covered, for 20 minutes, or until mixture is heated through. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

*Cook’s Notes:

For 8 ounces cooked lobster meat, start with two 8-ounce fresh or frozen lobster tails. Thaw lobster, if frozen. Preheat broiler. Butterfly the lobster tails by cutting through the center of the hard top shells and meat. Spread the tail halves apart. Place lobster tails, meat sides up, on the unheated rack of a broiler pan. Broil 4 inches from the heat for 12 to 14 minutes or until lobster meat is opaque. Remove meat from shells.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor