Cook's Corner: Pies not always sweet

Published 4:55 am Wednesday, July 12, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
I hope that you have tried a piecrust recipe from the choices in this column last week. If you have found one that you like and can handle making, this week will give you something to put in that crust.
Savory or sweet, pies are a wonderful way to serve up a little slice of heaven. This week I'll give you some ideas, some new and some not so new, that you can try out on your family.
This first recipe is one that will incorporate a few vegetables that some folks in your family may not willing eat. However, when you disguise it with cheese, I'll bet you can get Little Johnny to eat a green pepper without blinking an eye.
Vegetable Cheese Pie
1 (9 inch) deep-dish piecrust
3 vine-ripened tomatoes
1 small onion
One-fourth cup chopped green bell pepper
Three-fourths cup mayonnaise
One-half cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
One-half cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 slices bacon
2 slices bacon, for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the pie shell for 9 to 10 minutes or until browned. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside. Cut the tomatoes into bite size pieces. Dice the onion and the green bell pepper. In a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, cheeses, vegetables and bacon and Spoon into the baked pie shell. Top with additional crumbled bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until edges brown.
This next recipe is one that I've used many times. If you like tomatoes, you'll love this one. I may have shared this one before, but with putting it in when I'm filling the page with savory pie fillings, I simply had to include it again.
This recipe is one that is better served warm with a little dollop of sour cream on top, but is pretty good cold as well. I have made this recipe using ripe tomatoes as well as half-ripe/half-green tomatoes and both are really good. A pie made with half-green tomatoes will give you a tart and tangy filling. If you decide to use mostly green tomatoes in this pie, don't worry about peeling them. It is best to peel the ripe ones, however, since the peelings become tough and stringy after being cooked.
Tomato Pie
1 (9 inch) deep-dish piecrust
4 large tomatoes, peeled and sliced
One-half cup chopped fresh basil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
One-half pound bacon - cooked, drained and chopped
One-half tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried oregano
One-half tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
One-half cup mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). In alternating layers, fill pastry shell with tomatoes, basil, scallions, bacon, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper. In a small bowl, mix cheese with mayonnaise. Spread mixture over top of pie. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil from top of pie and bake an additional 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.
This next recipe is another one that may give you an opportunity to serve a vegetable to those picky eaters at your house. The recipe calls for a top and bottom crust, which makes having all those crust recipes from last week a bonus.
Spinach Pie
2 boxes frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
1 onion, chopped
One-half pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cups ricotta cheese
2 tbsp. dried basil
2 eggs
1 cup feta cheese
Three-fourth cup butter, melted
2 pie crusts (top and bottom)
In a medium skillet heat the oil until hot and saute the onions and mushrooms. Stir together with the spinach. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs well. Stir in the ricotta, feta, and basil. Brush piecrust with melted butter. Spread the ricotta mixture over bottom of crust. Spread spinach mixture over cheese. Place additional crust on top of filling and brush with butter. Trim dough to the edge of the pie dish. Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour, or until pie is golden brown.
I hope that you find some of these recipes interesting. The first time I heard of tomato pie I was appalled. Tomatoes, I thought, were best served on white bread with mayonnaise or laying on the side of a plate full of peas, butterbeans, squash, corn and corn bread. Little did I know it would become one of my favorite recipes. So give something differnt a try. You may be glad you did.
I'll be passing along some sweet fillings next week. so until next then, Happy Cooking!

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