Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No Tomato Left Behind: Tomato-Feta-Herb Pie

My mom is a flower child. What does this have to do with tomatoes? She's been green since before the time I was born, not just now that we've come to terms with the fact the world will come to an end if we don't hurry up and buy that sea foam colored Prius and BYOBag to Whole Foods/Paycheck. Nope. My mom has been planting Victory gardens (undoubedly learned from original recession child Grandpa), composting, and concocting bizarre experiments alla Bill Nye the Science Guy since I can remember. Maybe I was a little embarrassed in elementary school pulling out a full peeled cucumber, half an avocado and bag (the ghetto bags, we didn't splurge on the cool yellow and blue make green zip-lock ones) of semi sweet chocolate chips during recess, while my friends had cool bags of Doritos and bright red Squeeze Its. I don't feel sorry for myself because a friend of mine who grew up in a 3rd world country had her school snacks packed in previously folded pink wrappers (that would be her mother's maxi pad wrappers). It wasn't till puberty that she realized where those cute little pink wrappers came from. Ignorance is bliss and the earth was spared that many plastic bags.

Nowadays when I venture home to my Significant Mother/Father (thanks Diana!) a routine has emerged: As I begin packing up my bags (laundry) to head back to La La Land, my mom grabs a knife and heads out to the backyard, barefooted, rain or shine, day or night, to make harvest for her daughter. She hacks down her basil plants, saws off shoots of swiss chard, rips the best looking tomatoes off the vine, lacerates edible flowers, and whacks whatever promiscuous squash has emerged at that time off its umbilical cord. Mom packs it nicely in a bag and throws in a grab bag of fridge donations, ie. miscellaneous blocks of cheese and stray fruits.
On this particular occasion I combined the greens (and cheese) Mom gave me: baby swiss chard, basil, mint, and dill with tomatoes into a savory pie. I cleaned the greens thoroughly and chopped them down in small bite size pieces, this is very important because when you cut the pie you don't want long pieces hyper extending out of the deep realms. Meanwhile I made a crust of corn meal and oat bran combined with corn oil (I know, know I didn't use olive oil, but I find the corn oil goes great in the crusts of savory pies) and patted down into the dish. Next, in a separate bowl whip together 4 eggs, quarter to half a pound of feta (or whatever delicious crumbly cheese you have on tap) and whatever other cheese you want to use up. For this particular pie, I used feta and grated parmesan. Add a little milk to lighten up the batter. Then combine with your greenery and pour into pie shell. Decorate with tomatoes. Ok so these tomatoes were not from my Mom's garden, but they were rescued from my fridge and provide a nice "popage" factor during consumption. I sliced extra tomatoes from the garden on top at the end.I got a little jiggy with it and decided to add an entire sliced red onion on top. I love red onion, especially when it gets crispy and slightly burnt. Almost like bacon, but better :) Top with more cheese (fresh grated parmesan) and pop her into the oven at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Put the broiler on at the end to crisp up the top. Enjoy for breakfast with coffee or dinner with salad and glass of red or white wine( goes with both, trust me on that).

I made this up and eyeballed everything so here is a list of approximate ingredients (results will vary):
3 cups loose greens (swiss chard, spinach, basil, dill, mint, whatever is in season) chopped in bite sized pieces.
1 basket baby tomates
1 red onion thinly sliced (optional)
4 eggs (organic - hormones are bad!)
1/2 lb feta
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesean
1/4 cup whole milk
1 cup cornbread mix or cornmeal
1/4 cup oat bran (if you like that extra nutty crunch/fiber)
1/4 cup corn oil (or less until the mix is crumbly enough to press down)



Shelley said...

Wow, that looks amazing Anna! I woukd really love to be present for one of your culinary experiments... with a bottle of red, of course! : )

Double WOW. I can't believe your friend's mom was wrapping her snacks in THOSE pink wrappers. Didn't the power-fresh smell permeate the food?!

Diana said...

Like Shelley, I'm really disturbed by your friend's mom's wrapping style. Almost so disturbed that I'm not sure I can say anything about that fancy dancy pie you got goin on there. But I will. I approve of this message. And I approve of the signficant mother!

Anna A. said...

Shelley: I'd be glad to make it again and call you over for some vino service beforehand ;)I know, gross about the pink wrappers but I don't think they have the powdery scented perks like we do, fortunely for my friend's snacks.

Diana: A little disturbing, yes, I was almost thinking I should just leave it out. But I thought people should know =) well at least you and Shelley who read my blog. My significant mother aparently hasn't!

Ruth Abatzoglou said...

You know green composting mothers are busy, or maybe it was those 150 lab books I graded this week. But really I want to save something great to read at the end of a long week.

Excuses aside, I loved your post. It was intereting, entertaining, and educational. Your pictures inspire me to clean up the kitchen and start cooking. I learn of a new item and way to recycle too. What a great idea!

You have become an expert cook, creating your own dishes and techniques. You make a mother proud!

I am proud to be your mother....
love as always mom

fam. Constantinides said...


Dear Anna, I send you the blog address because I cannot add photos to my comment. Please vitit the blog with the "special" for you!!
Kisses Marion

Anna A. said...

Aaaaaawwwwwwwww thanks mom!I learned my resourcefullness, creativity and to "throw out the cookbook" from you =)

Marion...WOW! You made my blogger week! Wow I will now comment on your blog. THANKS SO MUCH!

fam. Constantinides said...

Dear Anna, it is nice to tease a little. But I really lit a candle for you. We like your blog very much and many times I send one of your recipes to a friend. I am very sorry to hear that you lost your job. I hope you will find an other, maybe better, job soon. My opinion is that you must write a book about cooking. What I've seen till now is that it might become a bestseller. Use your roots and temperament because this is what I find in your recipes. You cook with flair. Bravo Anna!!! Wishing you success finding a job.
Kisses Marion

Peter M said...

Anna, love the pie...cherry tomatoes are already sweet but after being baked...look out! Feta cheese always makes my day!

Anna A. said...

Thanks for stopping by Peter. I love your blog! Feta always makes it betta!