Friday, August 12, 2016

Homemade Tomato Pie Is Summertime Favorite

Back in the 1940s when tomatoes were at the height of their growing season, California restaurants served fresh tomato pie. They were made using a traditional pie crust and were filled with fresh juicy slices of tomatoes and topped with a creamy cheese sauce. People raved about these pies and would drive long distances just to get a slice of pie! And wouldn't you know? This fabulous tomato pie was the precursor to one of our most popular dishes, the Pizza Pie. 

Here is my rendition, a long time family favorite.

For optimum flavor, I prepare a homemade crust, but if you’re crunched for time, buy a good frozen 9-inch pie shell. Wholly Wholesome makes a great tasting pie crust.


½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons white wine
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
1 (9-inch) baked pie crust
3-4 medium tomatoes, sliced (enough to fill the pie ¾ full)
About 15-20 fresh basil leaves

   1.  Preheat oven to 350°F.
   2.  In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise with ¼ cup  Parmesan cheese, white wine, dry mustard, garlic  powder, salt, pepper and parsley. Set mixture aside.
   3. Arrange half of the tomatoes in the baked pie shell. Top  the tomatoes with fresh basil leaves and top the basil leaves with remaining tomato slices.
4.      Dollop the Parmesan/mayonnaise mixture over tomatoes. (Don’t worry about perfection as the mixture will even out while baking.)
5.     Top the pie with the remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until lightly brown and bubbly. Serve immediately.

4 to 6 servings

Friday, August 5, 2016

Summer's Cold Creamy Cucumber Soup Satisfies

Many years ago on a sweltering summer night, my mother served bowls of cold cucumber soup from vessels she had placed in the freezer earlier in the day. The velvety consistency was so refreshing; spoonfuls slipped down my throat like a sweet, cold, creamy milk shake. So satisfying was this palest of green soup that serving it has become a summer tradition. 

When cucumbers are in season, this recipe takes center stage whenever my husband and I entertain. Complementary accompaniments are deviled eggs, slices of summer tomatoes and cornbread. This soup must be prepared a day in advance.

CUCUMBER SOUP                                               

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced (about 3 cups)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon salt
A few grindings of fresh black pepper
Snipped chives for garnish

In a medium pot over moderate heat, melt butter and sauté onion until transparent. Whisk in flour and slowly add chicken broth. Continue whisking until mixture is well combined. Add cucumbers to broth mixture. Cover pot and bring mixture to a boil, decrease heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until cucumbers are fork-tender. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool completely. In a food processor, puree the cucumber mixture until smooth. Add the yogurt, parsley, salt and pepper, and puree until velvety smooth. Refrigerate overnight. Serve cold with snipped fresh chives.

6 servings

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Peaches Turn Brie Into Memorable Appetizer

After I've preserved summer peaches, I can't resist making this supper simple, crowd-pleasing appetizer. Serve this tasty combination with a crispy, unembellished cracker.

Marinated Brie with Peach Preserves

1 round (6 inches) of Brie
2 tablespoons peach brandy
½ cup peach preserves

      Place Brie in a 6 inch round baking dish. With a sharp knife, slice the top of the Brie as though you were drawing the lines for a game of Tic-Tac-Toe. Drizzle peach brandy into cheese incisions. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

            1.      Remove Brie from refrigerator about 1-2 hours prior to baking.
      2.      Preheat oven to 350°F.
      3.      Spoon peach preserves over cheese and bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow the Brie to cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving.

About 8 to 10 servings

Friday, July 22, 2016

Super Simple Summer Salad


This is great for a summer luncheon or supper because it's light, super simple to put together and it's a tasty combination of flavors. I love to serve it with a good-quality French or Italian bread to use for sopping up the dressing.

½ teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
Several grindings of fresh black pepper
¼ cup white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup neutral oil

2 pounds cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into chunks
1 medium sweet onion, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 generous handfuls of assorted lettuce leaves

     1.      In a large bowl, combine celery seed, salt, sugar, pepper, vinegar, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Slowly add oils to vinegar mixture and whisk until well blended.
      2.      Toss shrimp with dressing. Transfer shrimp to a  large rimmed serving platter and gently toss with tomatoes and onions.
      3.     Divide lettuce leaves among 6 rimmed serving bowls. Evenly distribute shrimp combination over lettuce leaves. Serve immediately.

6 servings

Friday, July 15, 2016

Classic Deviled Eggs

1 dozen hard-cooked eggs, cut in half, yolks removed
½ teaspoon salt
A few grindings of freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, or more to taste
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
½ cup mayonnaise

  1. In a large bowl, mash egg yolks. Add salt, and pepper. 
  2. In small bowl combine Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and mayonnaise. Fold the mixture into the egg yolk mixture and mix well. Adjust seasonings and add more mayonnaise if necessary.
  3. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate until serving time. Sprinkle with paprika.
Yield: 24 egg halves