Category Archives: Baking

End of Summer Tomato Pie & Homemade Pie Crust

Are you ready for this? No seriously, are you ready for this? You’re going to go nuts over this pie. First, pie crust. Buttery, flakey, a tiny pinch of salt for flavor. Topped with tomatoes, basil and an unearthly mixture of cheese, melted and golden brown, fresh from the oven. Two words, my friends, tomato pie.

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This recipe has been in my family for years. My mom cut it out of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s food section ages ago – the original clipping is still tucked away in her personalized recipe file. Every summer, just as the tomatoes in our garden turned from green to a yellowish red, they were picked and this pie was made. My sister and I would beg my mom for this pie at the first sign of tomato growth, prod her to make the plants grow more quickly, but this pie was always (and I mean always) worth the wait.

The great thing about this pie is that it makes a hearty vegetarian dinner that yields plenty of leftovers. There are, thankfully, gluten free adaptions for the recipe to, though you may want to use a store-bought crust rather than a homemade one…it’s a bit easier to deal with that sort of dough.

Tomato Pie (With Homemade Crust)
Free of peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, shellfish. Gluten free adaptations below

Ingredients:
Crust:
1 and 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
7 to 8 tablespoons ice water

Pie:
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (NOT FRESH)
1 handful fresh basil, cut in ribbons (about a cup)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Begin with the crust: combine the flour in salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the shortening until the dough resembles tiny peas. Add the tablespoons of water one at a time, working them into the dough as you go.
3. Once the dough forms one large ball – and is not too sticky – spread flour on a flat surface and roll out until the crust is larger than your 10×10 pie plate. Fold the crust in half, then in half again to transfer it to the pie plate. Unfold.
4. Put the crust in the oven for eight to 10 minutes, until it’s slightly brown. Take the crust out of the oven and sprinkle with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
5. While the pie crust rests, cut the tomatoes into discs, then dry using paper towels. Arrange the discs on top of the melted cheese on the crust.
6. Next, sprinkle the julienned basil on top of the tomatoes.
7. Combine the mayonnaise with the remaining cheese in a small bowl. Spread this mixture on top of the basil and tomatoes.
8. Sprinkle the pie with the Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
9. Put it in the oven to bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Enjoy!

TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Sub a gluten free pie crust (store bought) for the homemade crust and follow the instructions the same way!

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Mocha Granola (for snacking!)

Unff granola. My addiction to the stuff is oh so real. I shared my favorite granola recipe last year, but my mom and I (both granola lovers) started branching out since then. I have a bomb gingerbread granola recipe to share with y’all when the holidays get closer (put that on ice cream with caramel sauce…perfection!), and I’m hoping to try a tropical version with some dried pineapple and apricots soon. But for today, we’re eating mocha granola.

Granola

This recipe isn’t too sweet, and I prefer it as a snack rather than in milk just because of that. And, as usual, the recipe is not only nut free, but also gluten free. Double win! I am no genius, though. I was inspired by Amy’s Healthy Baking on this one, though I switched it up to fit my family’s allergies.

Let’s get baking!

Mocha Granola
Peanut, tree nut, egg, milk, soy, sesame and gluten free

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup gluten free oats
1 1/2 cup corn Chex cereal
6 tbsp. strong coffee (made from 1 1/2 tsp. instant coffee disolved in 6 tbsp water)
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. maple syrup (add extra if need more sweetness)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan.
2. In a large bowl stir together the oats and Chex. In a separate bowl stir together coffee, cocoa powder, canola oil and maple syrup. Pour over the dry mixture.
3. Spread on a pan and cook for 40-45 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Enjoy!

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Multigrain Bread with Quinoa and Oats

I am a hopeless carb lover. All my comfort foods are carb based – homemade pasta, macaroni and cheese, pierogies, the list goes on. To me, especially as a child, there was nothing better than a slice of bread with butter and a glass of water for a snack. My grandma joked that I liked jail food, but it was really just that I liked carbs.

Cut to today. My newest bread addiction (until about three days ago) was Trader Joe’s quinoa bread. It’s basically like a good honey whole wheat, with the added benefit of protein from the quinoa. Then I saw this recipe over at A Couple Cooks and thought, I can do that. One problem though – their version of the bread contained pumpkin seeds, which I’m allergic to. Not to mention, it had rye flour, which wasn’t around the house. So I did what any good baker does – I adapted. And you know what? I ended up with best, most filling, rustic bread I’ve had in awhile.

Bread

Let me tell you about the moment it came out of the oven. It was pretty late for our family – my dad and sister (the two celiacs) were already asleep. Thankfully for them, quinoa bread is something they wouldn’t have eaten prior to celiac anyway, so this bread event didn’t seem so special. Anyways, the moment the oven buzzer went off, my mom and I peaked inside and found our dough mass had turned into a luxurious crusty loaf – beautiful! Soon after we took it out of the oven, we sliced it and slathered it with real butter, which is somewhat of a rarity in my house. It was a special moment between us. No guilt, of course, just pure enjoyment over something we felt bad reveling in around our family members.

Bread

So isn’t baking bread like super difficult? Well, sometimes. Luckily, this recipe is no-knead, so you can mostly just chill while the yeast does its thing. Let’s get baking!

Multigrain Bread with Quinoa and Oats
Peanut, tree nut, sesame, egg, milk and soy free

Ingredients:
1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup quinoa, uncooked
1/4 cup water
3 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
1.5 tbsp. salt
4 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour

1. Soak the oats and quinoa in 1/4 cup of water for one hour.
2. Combine the yeast and 3 cups of lukewarm water in the bowl of a standard mixer.
3. Mix in the salt, flours and mix-ins until just combined. Place that mixture in a warm place, covering with wax paper and a towel. Let the dough rise.
4. On a floured surface, split the dough in two. Form it into two loaves.
5. Sprinkle cornmeal on a pan, then place the two loaves on top of it. Slice a few cuts in the top of the loaves. Let rest for 40 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Ten minutes before baking the bread, place a baking sheet in the oven and cover with water. Close the oven quickly to create steam.
7. Put the bread in the oven and cook for 35 minutes until brown and crusty. Remove from oven, slice and enjoy.

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