A couple of summer’s ago, I posted a blog on Tomato Pie, a recipe that had roots from my hometown of Benton, Tennessee. The story is quite interesting so I encourage you to read how I came to learn about tomato pies from some old friends by following this link:
Since then, I have been making a lot of tomato pies, even miniature versions..here are some I made for a “Girl’s Night In” recently for a friend about to go in the oven!
Over the course of time, I have “tweaked” the recipe even more by adding in some Pancetta and replacing the onions with shallots. I love Pancetta which is basically an Italian bacon without the smoking process and shallots have a little milder flavor than onions so its a nice compliment to the tomatoes. I also mixed in my basil with my tomatoes just to avoid getting too big of a basil bite…just my preference but one that I really like. Here is my newer and most favorite version!
Tomato & Pancetta Pie
*To slice basil, chiffonade them by stacking the leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a cigar, starting at one end slice the “cigar” crosswise in thin slices.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Follow package directions and bake the pie crust…your goal is to achieve a light golden brown color (about 12 minutes).
Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the chopped tomatoes and place in a colander to drain in the sink. Salting helps bring out some of the moisture.
After allowing to drain for about 5 minutes, spread on paper towels remove even more moisture.
While pie crust is baking and tomatoes are draining, saute the pancetta until crisp and golden brown. Remove from pan reserving the excess fat; set aside.
Add the shallots to the pan and saute until translucent. Add the pancetta back to the pan and mix well. Remove from heat.
After removing the pie from the oven, brush Dijon Mustard on the bottom and sides of the crust.
Place your tomatoes in bowl and mix with the basil. Place tomato/basil mixture in the pie crust, spreading evenly.
In a medium bowl, mix together the grated cheese, mayonnaise, Hot Sauce or Tabasco, a sprinkling of salt and freshly ground black pepper. The mixture should be the consistency of a gooey snow ball.
Spread the cheese mixture over the tomatoes.
Place in oven and bake until browned and bubbly, around 30-40 minutes or until you reach an internal temperature of about 150 degrees. This can also easily be made ahead, just make sure you bring it to room temperature before baking and it may need a few additional minutes of baking. (If your pie browns too much on top, before it reaches the desired temperature in the middle, just place a loose piece of foil over it.)
Garnish with additional basil and allow to sit on counter for 5 minutes before slicing…Ready to serve!
Temperatures here in East Tennessee have been hovering in the 90’s for weeks and standing in a hot kitchen is just that…HOT! So I have been testing recipes that gets me in and out of the kitchen in a jiffy but still gives my family a wonderful, tasty meal at dinner time.
Of course, everyone loves a good pasta dish but when you add in crisp bacon and freshly grated parmesan cheese…well, you have a superior dish to serve! Spaghetti Carbonara (or actually any pasta Carbonara..ha, ha) is delicious simplicity at its best. What is so great is that it only has a few main ingredients that you usually have on hand in your own pantry and fridge. You probably won’t even have to go to the market for this one!
*Salt and Pepper to taste
Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with some additional parmesan cheese, if desired and serve this beautiful dish with a side salad and dinner roll….Yummy
This is the most decadent weeknight dish ever! I will be making this again and again..It would even be nice as a small side dish with some shellfish or chicken. Let me know how this recipe works with your family. I am Chef Frankie…always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with Wild Abandonment!
When I was growing up in the South, potato salad was at every church potluck or family gathering but I was never a fan. In a child’s mind, something crunchy like raw onions and celery mixed in with your favorite smooth ingredients just didn’t mesh with me. The only version of potato salad I would even remotely eat was my mom’s because she left the potatoes a little bigger and included two of my personal favorites, mustard and boiled eggs. She did put raw onions in her version but not celery and I was able to pick around just those. Obviously, one would assume I would grow out of my “no crunch” in my potato salad but I never did, so I took her recipe and adapted it to one that I now love! So in honor of Mother’s Day…thanks for the inspiration, Mom!
This version omits the raw onions but does include chives which gives that “oniony” flavor along with a splash of green color. My husband’s mother always included sweet pickle relish in her version so that was a must for him if I wasn’t going to put in onions and celery so I compromised. Since I am not a sweet pickle fan, I added dill pickle relish as well to give it a tangy kick with just a tiny bit of crunch. Both relishes have bits of red pepper in them which again adds a touch of color to the white potatoes. Top it with a sprinkling of paprika, and not only do you have a tasty dish but an eye pleasing potato salad. Dig in!
Place potatoes in a large pot, cover with chicken broth then add enough water to completely cover. Add in parsley and bring to a boil. Bring to simmering boil and allow to cook for 10-12 minutes until tender. Drain and allow to cool. (I like to add the chicken broth because it adds another level of flavor to the potatoes.) Season with salt, pepper, and onion powder.
In a large bowl, add your chives, potatoes, and eggs.
Add in the mayonnaise, mustard, and pickle relish..stirring well
Place potato salad mixture in one of your favorite serving dishes.
Sprinkle liberally with paprika and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Serve this with your favorite burger, hot dog, or BBQ….Dig in!
Bottom Line: I could eat this by itself with nothing else…it is that good! It is so easily adaptable to your own tastes…add more or less mayonnaise and mustard. Make it your own. It will be hard to find another true Southern Mustard Potato Salad to beat this one! Let me know how it works at your next BBQ! I am Chef Frankie…always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with Wild Abandonment!
For the Ponzu Dipping Sauce (If you have a huge sauce lover, double the recipe!)
Mix first 9 ingredients together.
Pulse lightly in a food processor to chop shrimp and blend the ingredients.
Make one dumpling at a time placing a little of the filling in the middle and folding up like a little purse. Moisten the ends with water to keep them sealed.
Prepare your steamer by placing in a wok or a deep pan that is filled with enough water to almost touch the bottom of the steamer. Place your choice of leaves in the bottom of the steamer and brush lightly with olive oil. (This will help keep the dumplings from sticking.)
Place dumplings on the leaves, making sure they aren’t touching and place lid on steamer. You can have 2 levels that will steam perfectly. Bring water to a boil then steam for about 10 minutes.
Make the ponzu sauce by whisking together all the ingredients. I like to make this a couple of hours ahead so the flavors will meld.
Gently place them on a small plate and serve with Ponzu Sauce.
Jeff and I have recently been talking about doing a little downsizing. My idea of downsizing may be different than most…I want to downsize my square footage but UPSIZE my kitchen and that is where BlueStar Cooking has come in to help me in planning my Dream Kitchen! It might look Ok a little like this….
I visualize a smaller home on at least 10 acres with not only an indoor kitchen but an outdoor one as well with a fireplace. I know, that probably sounds like more upkeep, but when you love to get creative with food like Jeff and I both do, it makes perfect sense.
This range from BlueStar’s new Platinum Series would be a perfect addition to my indoor dream kitchen…(I might even consider adding one of these into my existing kitchen…Wow!)
It even comes in 750 colors! Oh, the visions of delight that are going through my head in just the idea of picking the exact color combination!
Imagine all the tasty bites I could create on that baby!
If it is good enough for Michael Symon, it is good enough for me! Check out his kitchen in this video….
What I love about BlueStar is the ability to go on to their site and customize their products right down to the knobs! It was a lot of fun playing around on this page, to say the least. Try it for yourself!
I hope my dream kitchen does become reality someday! If you could build your dream kitchen, what is on your wish list? I can’t wait to hear your ideas!
For more information on BlueStar, visit http://www.bluestarcooking.com/
Sometimes, I think back to my time when I was just starting out and had my very first kitchen…in an apartment of course, and not gourmet by any means! There weren’t as many wonderful kitchen tools and gadgets to choose from like there are today so I started thinking about what kitchen items I couldn’t live without and would suggest for someone trying to build their own “kitchen essentials” list.
So here are my 5 Kitchen Essentials…..I wonder if some of them are yours, too?
5. The Spiralizer
Now, this is a fairly new addition in my kitchen but one I now use often! It is perfect to create beautiful works of art on the plate by using everyday vegetables such as zucchini, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, and much more! It is compact, inexpensive and it has no limitations to make a variety of light recipes such as my Thai Shrimp with Zucchini Noodles…yummy!
4. A Flat Whisk
Sure, regular whisks do the job but there is something about my favorite silicone coated flat whisk that always makes my gravy and sauces come out just a little smoother. It also gets into those corners of the pan where the good stuff tends to gather (which always makes those sauces just a little bit better). Try it next time you are making a roux for your gumbo!
3. Le Creuset Dutch Oven
If you have been following my blog, you often see this big red pan in the pictures. It is my Le Creuset Dutch Oven and it is my favorite of all my Le Creuset cookwear (I love the whole line!). Of course, it is lovely to look at while on the stove (and comes in a variety of colors) but its interior enamel helps distribute the heat evenly when cooking and makes browning, simmering, and cleaning a snap! It also goes straight from stove top to oven up to 500 degrees (not sure I have ever cooked anything at that temperature!). I use it for braising short ribs, baking a pot roast, and making soups and stews like this recipe:
2. Wusthoff Tomato Knife
You may not have ever heard of a tomato knife and neither had I until a couple of years ago. My favorite vegetable is the tomato and my husband, Jeff, and I have long argued over whether or not use use a serrated knife to cut a tomato. I said yes…he said no. He was proven wrong one Christmas when I opened one of my gifts from him and it was a tomato knife….with a serrated edge, of course! Yes, I use this knife to slice tomatoes but as you may know, I process my own Italian Sauce every summer and this knife has a little tip that help pierce the tomato after blanching to help remove the skin before chopping. It’s also great to slice bread, meats, and cheese….and, since it’s so small it’s portable. Can you say PICNIC!
1. Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
I saved the best for last! I use my cast iron skillet for everything from searing meat to making an incredible southern cornbread. I probably have 10 different shapes and sizes…I love it that much! My very first Cast Iron Skillet was given to me by “Grandmother” when I got married back in 1985. She was my husband’s grandmother but she became mine, too, and has always been an inspiration to me in the kitchen!
Valentine’s Day is coming up soon so here is one of my favorite recipes using the cast iron skillet:
That is my list of the “Kitchen Essentials”….what are some of yours and would you add anything on my list to your kitchen? I can’t wait to hear from you!
Coming tomorrow….My Dream Kitchen compliments of BlueStar Cooking!
For more information on BlueStar Cooking visit http://www.bluestarcooking.com/
Chicken Noodle Soup….there is a reason there is a series of books called Chicken Soup for the Soul because that is what this soup is all about…reaching into your soul and providing comfort. It is known for curing colds and providing warmth and often many have a memory behind their favorite chicken soup. My recipe goes back to a 1995 issue of Southern Living Magazine and the most amazing picture of a tureen of chicken noodle soup that made my mouth water. Since my mother has given me the annual Southern Living Cookbook every year since I was still married, I do still have the picture that caught my eye!
Over the years, I have made this recipe many times and tweaked it along the way, so I thought I would share my updated version with you. It will come out perfect every time and go a long way in warming a lot of winter souls this season!
I don’t exactly have the photograpy staff that Southern Living does but this is one good looking bowl of soup!
Bottom Line: My version does take a little longer but great things take time and you will love the smell of this soup simmering all day in your kitchen. If you like your soup more brothy, feel free to add equal parts of water and chicken broth and it will maintain its superb flavor! I can’t wait for this to become one of your family’s favorite recipes! I am Chef Frankie…always in the kitchen, having fun, and cooking with wild abandonment!