Southern Tomato Pie

In that flaky crust is a whopping three and a half pounds of tomatoes, cooked down with caramelized onions and herbs and cozily blanketed with an oh-so-Southern hit of mayo and a not-so-Southern-but-really-really-good dose of fontina and parmesan. More tomatoes sit on top—fresh instead of roasted—for a pretty visual touch alongside some leaves of basil. It’s a gorgeous pie, and to be perfectly honest, one of the best things to come out of our test kitchen all summer.

MAKES 1 10-INCH PIE
2 HOURS, 30 MINUTES

For the pie crust

1 14 cups all-purpose flour
2 12 tsp. granulated sugar
12 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. cold butter cut into 12-inch cubes
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. ice-cold water
12 tsp. white vinegar

For the filling and topping

3 1⁄2 lb. vine-ripe tomatoes (about 12), cored, seeded, and cut into 1⁄2-inch dice, divided
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. sugar, divided
1 tbsp. butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced with the grain
1 tsp. picked thyme
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
14 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
13 cup packed whole basil leaves
12 cup mayonnaise
13 cup grated fontina
13 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 large Roma or heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced and blotted dry with paper towels

Instructions

Make the pie crust: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium for a few seconds. Begin adding the butter one cube at a time. Continue until the flour is speckled and crumbly, about 4 minutes. With the mixer still running, add the water and vinegar until just combined. Do not overmix. Press the dough into a 6-inch disk, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator overnight.
Bring the crust to room temperature and lightly butter a 10-inch metal pie pan. Preheat the oven to 400°. Dust your counter and rolling pin lightly with flour and roll the crust slightly larger than your pan. Lay the crust in the pan and press gently into its edges. Cut off the edges that hang over and discard. Freeze for at least 15 minutes or until you’re ready to blind-bake.
Lay foil or parchment paper on top of the crust and weigh that down with dried beans or rice. Blind-bake the shell for 30 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil or parchment and bake 5 minutes more. Set the cooked crust aside as you prepare the filling.
Make the filling: Toss half of the diced tomatoes with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1⁄2 teaspoon sugar. Set them over a colander to drain while you get everything else ready, at least an hour.
Lower your oven to 375°. In a medium sauté pan or skillet, melt the butter and then add the onion and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat until deeply caramelized. This will take about 45 minutes. If the onion gets away from you and burns a little, add 1⁄4 cup of water to the pan, scrape up the overbrowned bits, and keep going. In the end, you have a scant 2⁄3 cup caramelized onion.
Toss the remaining diced tomatoes with 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, thyme, and olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a sheet tray with as much room separating the individual pieces as possible. Slide the tray onto the middle rack of your oven and roast for 30-35 minutes. You’re looking for the tomatoes to dry out and brown slightly.
Once all the individual components are done, stir together the onion, the fresh and roasted diced tomatoes, the remaining salt, sugar, black pepper, and basil.
Make the topping and finish the pie: In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, fontina, and Parmigiano. Spoon the filling into your blind-baked crust. Top with the cheese mixture and tomato slices. Bake in the middle of your oven for 30 minutes. You can serve this warm or at room temperature. Both have their virtues.

Why Whole Foods Wants A Slower-Growing Chicken

Whole Foods recently announced that it wants all of its suppliers, even those raising large numbers of broilers indoors, to shift over to slower-growing breeds of chickens.

The shift will take eight years. Whole Foods and the Global Animal Partnership, an organization that Whole Foods set up to create welfare standards for its suppliers, say that this will apply to 277 million birds annually. That represents about 3 percent of the country’s broilers.

The slow-growing bird “is a much better, healthier chicken, and at the same time it’s a much [more] flavorful chicken as well,” Weening says.

Austin Fermentation Festival 2015

Austin Fermentation Festival 2015

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT: Kate Payne, 347-933-0403 events@texasfarmersmarket.org

Austin Fermentation Festival, October 25th, 2015, Austin, TX

Keynote Speaker: Jennifer McGruther of Nourished Kitchen

October 25, 2015 (AUSTIN, TX) – Texas Farmers’ Market and Presenting Sponsor Barr Mansion announce the 2015 Austin Fermentation Festival with keynote speaker, blogger, author, and traditional foods advocate Jennifer McGruther.

The Austin Fermentation Festival is an educational event that celebrates all things fermented in Central Texas and will run from 9am – 4pm at Barr Mansion (10463 Sprinkle Road, Austin, TX 78754). Proceeds from this event will benefit the Texas Farmers’ Market Farmer Emergency Fund, which offers financial assistance to TFM farmers and ranchers in times of environmental, personal or other crisis.

The day will include a series of fermentation workshops (covering topics such as kimchi, kefir, cheese making, charcuterie, beer, sourdough, vinegars and lacto-fermented vegetables); a community culture swap; a kraut mob; fermented foods and product vendors; book sales; festival-inspired lunch for purchase from local purveyors; fermented beverages and alcohol; a mini farmers’ market; and live music.

Attend by securing general admission or VIP tickets at http://fermentatx2015.eventbrite.com, where online donations to this fundraiser event are also accepted. Vendor applications are accepted here bit.ly/AFFVendorApplication2015 and workshop presenter applications accepted here bit.ly/AFFWorkshopApplication2015.

For more information, please visit http://texasfarmersmarket.org/austin-fermentation-festival/.

Chef Rick Bayless’ Stewardship Helps Farm to Table Take Flight

By Bob Benenson and Jim Slama, FamilyFarmed

Rick BaylessChicago on Monday hosted the annual James Beard Foundation culinary awards ceremony for the first time, and Rick Bayless — one of the city’s most decorated and highest profile chefs — was frequently on the stage as one of the event’s co-chairmen.

He has a long-running public television show (Mexico: One Plate at a Time), won the Bravo network’s Top Chef Masters competition in 2009, and has written several cookbooks, including More Mexican Everyday, which was just released on April 27.Famed for popularizing regional Mexican cuisine in the city at his Frontera Grill and Topolobampo restaurants, Bayless won his first James Beard award — Best Chef Midwest — at the organization’s inaugural ceremony in 1991, and his most recent this year for Best Podcast (The Feed, which he co-hosts with Chicago food critic Steve Dolinsky). In between, he received James Beard medallions as National Chef of the Year in 1995 and Humanitarian of the Year in 1998, and Frontera Grill received the organization’s Outstanding Restaurant award in 2007.

Yet it is Bayless’ role as a pioneer in helping establish a market for local, sustainably produced — and delicious — food in the Chicago region that, to advocates of the Good Food movement, is one of his greatest lifetime achievements.