Vacation Tomato Pie by Ivey Levy (with creative contribution by Vicky Ziluck)

Vacation Tomato Pie by Ivey Levy (with creative contribution by Vicky Ziluck)

Some things are just too good to keep to yourself, do you know what I mean? I know it is not very “predictable, professional, or sticking to format” to introduce you to a recipe that uses ingredients which were mentioned just last month. I’ll agree with my critics, as I have
never claimed to be any of the above-referenced things. What I am, however, is a girl who is REALLY into food. When I had my first business cards made up for Ivey’s In My Kitchen, Inc., my title was Sick & Twisted Foodie. I couldn’t, and still haven’t, found an appropriate description of precisely what my job entails. Something like President or CEO on any business card of mine would be simply ridiculous once you’ve met me. Truth is that Sick & Twisted Foodie still suits me just fine, but I find that it makes my clients considerably more comfortable with Professional Foodie on my business card, now that I am a big girl. The way I see it, is, that while putting together last month’s column, we stumbled onto something heavenly. I’m not waiting until ‘same month, next year’ (as most food magazines lay out their format) to share with you this incredible delicious, super duper easy, hearty dish that will satisfy many or just one. When you come across something this good, this yummy this easy, you just gotta share the wealth. SO get ready to drool. (If by chance you are rolling your eyes thinking to yourself, “she did tomatoes last month” – than you probably are an @$$#ole and wouldn’t appreciate this article or recipe anyway, so turn the page and let me get on with it!)Vicky and I were on Mommy Vacation (a term of which I will explain to you later) and discovered this recipe.

Cooking and eating is a very big part of MV, second only to leeping and more important than comedian watching. We cooked every day and loved it. We were experimenting with lots of new foods being in a different region of the country. There was fresh goatcheese from a local farm, tomato varieties of which we had never seen before, and garlic so hearty it looked like a big fist. While playing with our new finds, we found ourselves with lots of “ingredients”. And hungry. We had roasted a whole tray of tomatoes, the garlic had been happy to slowly roast alongside them in the oven, gathering it’s own golden butteryness. The goatcheese was sitting on the counter at perfect room temperature and we had a freezer full of pre-made piecrust. Now, don’t be judgy about pre-made piecrust, it is a lifesaver. It is also a money saver, a time saver and dishwashing saver. I have to say that my best friend Vicky makes the best piecrust I have ever eaten, hands down. Hey, her pie won first place at the Grange Fair and lemme tell you, that’s a tough crowd! But even she will admit that for convenience sake and when the crusts not the thing, those pre-made pie shells can really get you outta a jam. $#!t, they can make pie outta jam! But I digress. We just needed a form to put all our random ingredients together and whammo, tomato pie! We blind baked the crust, which is to pre-bake it lined with parchment paper and some kind of weight. There are fancy ‘pie weights’ and beads in the baking section. I have used the same bag of kidney beans for almost twenty years and they still work just fine. Make sure the parchment paper is long enough to give the beans lots of room to settle down. This will allow the piecrust to cook without the bottom bubbling up. If you were going to make a cold, sweet, pie you would blind bake the crust first.

Always best to follow the instructions on the package you buy, however, I was using an unfamiliar oven and decided to use my own formula: pre-heat oven to 425 ° and check after 8 minutes. It usually needs 12 but you don’t want to risk burning something so thin. The crust should be golden brown around the edges. Let the piecrust cool with the parchment paper and beans in it. Once you are ready to work with the crust, remove the parchment paper and use it to cone-funnel the now-cooler beans back into their bag for next time. The dish has four main ingredients: piecrust, roasted garlic, goatcheese and roasted tomato. You can do that! Assembly as follows: spread soft roasted garlic all over the bottom of the crust. I like to drag it upwards towards the outer edges if there is enough. Goatcheese – goatcheese is spreadable but tricky. Once it is soft, slice it and lay the slices in a circle around the bottom. Once they are all placed it is easier to spread them around from there for better coverage. Seriously, your hands are the best tool for the job. I use nonlaytex, non-powdered, food grade gloves. They are a pretty robins-egg blue and when I wear them, I feel like a super hero. There is nothing I will not grab or do with those gloves on. I feel an incredible sense of control over whatever I am dealing with when I am wearing my invincible blue gloves. Go, get a box, try ‘em on for size, disassemble a chicken, and see what I’m talkin’ about.

Lay out the roasted tomato, use the largest or prettiest in the center and place them working outward and upward until all the goatcheese and piecrust are covered. Sprinkle the whole thing with a little grated Parmesan cheese (or any hard, good cheese.) and fresh chopped chives for garnish and put it back into the 425° oven for 5 minutes. Add a little drizzle of the oil left behind by the roasted garlic. It’s one of my favorite tricks, try it, you’ll like it. What will come out of your oven will be sheer heaven. Let it cool for a few minutes before you eat it because heaven has the ability to scorch the living daylights out of the roof of your mouth. A pizza cutter is the best tool for slicing the pie, however in the absence of a pie cutter, a serrated knife with a supportive fork should be used to slice. The tomatoes, being so deliciously soft will want to shimmy around for you. I am going to reprint the ‘how to roast a tomato’ recipe. Yes, I know you have seen it before. However, as I am learning quite quickly with our readership increasing so dramatically, we really do have new people every month. So cut your girl I some slack. It’s more important to make sure everyone is properly informed.

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