My Potager + Recipe for Tomato Cheddar Pie

FRESH_FROM_THE_GARDEN-TOMATO_PIE_IN_QUINOA_CRUST-3I wish I could prep meals fresh from the garden everyday. The summer is about as close to this as I get, and not everything very little  is from my garden. For the month of July, the Recipe Redux challenges us to show how we’re using July  FRESH fruits and vegetables. This includes produce from the Farmers Market, CSA shares or a plot of dirt out back (let’s see if we have any green thumbs in the group!)

Did you ever notice that the  folks with gardens always seem to be the  most generous? That’s how I scored the tomatoes for today’s recipe (because I haven’t had my own bumper crop just yet, haha).  This year is actually the first year I’ve had  my own garden. In my opinion,  it’s been successful, but not for reaping an abundance of vegetables.   Rather, for helping me to learn about growing your own food. Before I share my recipe, I want to share  a little bit about how my kitchen garden evolved: I scoped out a sunny spot in my yard (front side) and planted some seeds in cowpots…

PicMonkey Collagegarden2

My husband agreed to making a raised bed and I filled it with gold  a mixture of vermiculite, peat moss, mushroom compost, and black cow.  (My first lesson  learned: gardening is $.)  With a late start, the planting was complete in the beginning of June…photo-294But the  plants looked so lonely.. and  I wanted more than a utilitarian plot (especially since the bed is in my front side yard and partially noticeable from the street).  Does it surprise you, I  found inspiration from the French, who are known for their style in all things?   So  I added some flowers …

photo-298And my potager grew, and grew…IMG_garden3

While it may  look like it’s rockin… it honestly hasn’t produced very much (the handful of cherry tomatoes I used in my Salad Nicoise were delicious, btw). There is this one robust zucchini plant (do you see it in the  front?) that looks like it’s trying to usurp the entire garden!  Perhaps that’s why,  there are an abundance of these..IMG_2161 Yes, zucchini blossoms! How pretty. How poetic. How edible? Yes they are, with delicate notes of, well.. zucchini! (Another lesson prompted by my garden.) Why let them go to waste? So you know where this is going, right?  Ah, the twist to my tomato pie;  I integrated them into my recipe, along with some of my own fresh herbs (planted in a separate window box).

Make no mistake, I was pushing the envelop with this one, and wondered,

How receptive will my family be to zucchini petals on top of their tomato pie?

No problem… they goobled the pie up so fast, they never realized they were eating flowers! That should assure you this pie is delicious. What about healthy? I’ve got that covered too! The nutrition facts are posted below the recipe and here’s  how I got here: The regular pie shell was scraped and instead I made a  crust with quinoa (this adds protein and fiber to the pie). Of course I wanted a light  pie filling, so I substituting half of the mayonnaise with nonfat Greek yogurt and also used my favorite light cheese,  Cabot’s award winning Sharp Light reduced fat cheddar. This summer, if you find yourself with tomatoes  (and zucchini blossoms) to spare, bake my tomato cheddar pie! Bon appétit! Please be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post to see how my colleagues are getting fresh.

Have you ever eaten zucchini blossoms?

What have you made from what’s growing in your garden?

IMG_2109_edited-1Tomato Cheddar  Pie

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

    for the crust

    • 2 cups cooked quinoa
    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1 large egg
    • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
    • cooking spray

    for the filling

    • 2 3/4 pounds assorted large tomatoes, divided
    • 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided
    • 6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) shredded Cabot’s reduced fat cheddar
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan  cheese
    • 1/4 cup Canola oil mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
    • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
    • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
    • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons sugar,
    • 6 -12 zucchini blossoms, stamens removed

    Instructions

    for the crust

    Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

    2. Combine quinoa, pepper and egg in a bowl, stirring well. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool.

    for the filling

    3. Cut tomaotes into 1/4-inch thick slices and remove seeds. Place tomatoes in a single layer on paper towels and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let stand 30 minutes.

    4. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Stir together cheddar cheese and next seven ingredients, and remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt in large bowl until combined. Shred zucchini blossoms and add to mixture.

    5. Pat tomato slices with a dry paper towel. 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 3/4 pound tomatoes into 1/4 inch slices and arrange on top of pie.

    6. Bake  for 35 – 40  minutes shielding edges with foil during last 20 minutes to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 1 to 2 hour before serving.

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    Tomato Cheddar Pie Label


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