Tomato Basil Pie

Years ago, I started teaching cooking classes in my kitchen.  At that time I belonged to a welcoming group called “New Neighbors of Germantown”.  This group was a great way to  met new people in the community.   We had LOTS of different activities in this organization.

One of my “new neighbor” friends was traveling to Connecticut for a visit.  I asked her to bring me a couple bottles of faucet water, yes water (for my pizza, of course).  As a thank you I made her a pizza, brought it over to her home nice and hot.  Here reply was “you have to teach us how to make this”.  So, I became an activity for New Neighbors, “Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina” (Gail’s Kitchen).  I had NO idea where that path would take me!

"Cooking Adventures in Galena's Cucina"

“Cooking Adventures in Galena’s Cucina”

Classes in my kitchen became out of control…I would have more than 25-30 ladies in attendance and not enough room for them.  Another friend from this group recommended me to the owner of a quaint gift store in Germantown (Gift Horse) that also hosted cooking classes.  I was so excited to teach there and having the opportunity to met so many wonderful people!

One recipe that really reminds me of that school is  “Tomato Basil Pie”.  I can remember teaching that class almost 10 years ago; people are still talking about it! This recipe is perfect for this time of the year.  Fresh garden tomatoes and basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, yum!  I hope you enjoy it as much as my “Gift Horse” class did!

Pie Crust  (You can also use a frozen store-bought crust or mini pie crusts)
4 tbsp. butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sour cream
4-5 basil leaves
couple dashes of salt

In food processor with knife blade process butter and basil leaves until smooth.
Add flour, salt and sour cream. Process until mixture balls up. Chill for 1/2 hour
for better handling of the dough. Place on floured pastry sheet or board and roll
out to fit a 9” pie pan. Place shield or wrap edges in foil to prevent over browning
during the baking of the pie. Cook in pre-heated 425° oven until slightly golden,
about 10 minutes.

Tomato Basil Pie

Filling
1 9” pie crust
2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup freshly grated Romano, or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
10 Roma tomatoes, or garden tomatoes, skins removed*, chopped and drained
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive
Salt & Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

While pie crust is warm, place 1 cup mozzarella on top of crust. Layer tomatoes
and sprinkle with, salt & pepper. In separate bowl mix basil, garlic, remaining
mozzarella, romano or parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Place on top of tomatoes and drizzle with olive oil.  Bake in a preheated oven at  375° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Let pie cool at least 15 minutes for easier cutting.

*Cut an X on the bottom (pointy end) of the tomato and place in a pot of rapidly boiling
water.  The tomato skin will begin to peel, about 1 minute. Remove from heat
and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Peel skin under running cold water.

You can always add wonderful ingredients to the filling, fresh sautéed mushrooms, some cooked bacon, black olives, red pepper flakes.  You are only limited by your imagination!

Tomato Basil Pie

Tomato Basil Pie

 

 

Mini Pie

Mini Pie

Recently I made this wonderful recipe for my “Live at 9” demonstration, here’s the link:

The only bad thing about being a member of New Neighbors is so many friends move away, but I guess that’s part of life!

New Neighbors Board Members 1998

New Neighbors Board Members 1998


Butter Poached Lobster

This week is a special one….hubby Bob has a birthday.  Being born in Connecticut and living on the ocean almost all his life has made Bob a lover of seafood.  Especially shellfish!  We use to live on the coast of Long Island Sound and Bob’s favorite hobby was tending to his “40” lobster pots.

Lobsters

Lobsters

I can remember the times when Rob and Jenny would ask me what’s for dinner, when I replied lobsters they would say “lobsters again”….those were the days!

I thought I was the queen of lobster cooking, always trying new methods and recipes.  It wasn’t until we watched an episode of Master Chef that I discovered “poaching lobster”.  WOW…..what a great way of cooking lobster…why didn’t I think of that?????

On Father’s Day  I tried poaching lobster in a  beurre monte sauce.   Probably the best lobster I have ever eaten.  Guess what I am making for Bob’s birthday?????  Here’s how you do it.

Purchase lobsters from local grocery store.  Place them in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Lobsters

Lobsters

In a LARGE stock pot bring 4-6 quarts of water to a boil.  Once the water is rapidly boiling, put lobsters to sleep ( you will feel better before you kill the little guys).  Just massage their head over his eyes for a few seconds, like this…

“go to sleep lobster”

Place lobsters (head first) into the boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes.  In a large bowl add water and ice cubes (ice-water bath) and place the lobsters into the pan.

DSC_0047Using a good pair of kitchen scissors cut the lobster shell and remove the meat, trying to keep the lobster in tact as much as possible.

In a medium size pan bring 1 tablespoon of water to boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and whisk in butter, one tablespoon at a time.  This method will help it emulsify, which means mixing two liquids together that normally don’t mix well (water and oil).

Butter Poached Lobster

Butter Poached Lobster

Add the lobster and cook over medium low heat (do not let butter boil) for 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the lobster meat reaches 140-145°F using a Thermapen thermometer.

Serve with your favorite side dish and enjoy!

Happy Birthday Bob!

Happy Birthday Bob!

Ingredients:

2 one and a half pound live lobsters (or one lobster per person)
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), cut into 1 tablespoon chunks

Directions:

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil. Turn off heat and add the lobster. Cover with lid and let cook for 3 minutes. Place lobster into a large pan of ice water (this cools down the lobster to the touch and stops the cooking process).  Remove all lobster meat from shell trying to keep lobster in tact.

2. In a sauce pan, bring 1 tablespoon of water to simmer over medium-low heat. Whisk in 1 piece of butter. When butter had melted, add another piece. Continue with remaining butter pieces, one at a time. Make sure the mixture does NOT come to a boil, otherwise the butter will separate.

3. Keeping the heat on medium-low, add the lobster pieces and cook for 5 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 140-145° is reached.  Serve immediately!