Fresh tomatoes produce 'pizza' goodness

The ingredients in this Garden Tomato Pie came together and resulted in a meal tasting like pizza. (Photo by Darlene Montague)

A couple of things came together last week that resulted in this recipe:

Firstly, after the wonderful rains we had, our raised-bed garden just popped. One evening I fought off hundreds of mosquitos and gathered 14 tomatoes off of our four tomato plants along with my first green pepper and eight  yellow squash. 

So far, I, as the only tomato eater around our house, have been keeping up with the tomatoes by eating them at every breakfast and lunch, but now, I realized, I had to make something that used up more tomatoes.

And secondly, I had in the refrigerator four different kinds of cheese that I needed to use up. I don’t like cheese to hang around my refrigerator too long as I was raised by a mom that cut off the mold from cheese and told us it was just fine. I didn’t believe her.

So, I used up the cheeses, half of the tomatoes and anything else I could think of to make this tomato pie.

Now if you should attempt this, please don’t go out and buy exactly these flavors of cheese. Use what you have. Next time I will leave off the cheddar and put in mozzarella, if I have any on hand.

This pie ended up tasting like my favorite toppings on a pizza. I will warn you, there are many steps to this recipe. Even though it didn’t come out of the pan in a perfect slice, I enjoyed it just the same. 

The rest of the tomatoes went to Bil’s breakfast buddy that he meets in town every morning as I could see more tomatoes just about ready to pick.

Garden Tomato Pie

• 1 refrigerated pie crust, prebaked

• 6-8 medium tomatoes, peeled

• 4 slices cheddar cheese

• 4 slices Swiss cheese

• 1/2 cup Culinary Cowgirls queso dip

• 1 onion, chopped

• 1 small green pepper, chopped

• 4-5 cloves garlic, minced

• 3 slices meaty bacon, cooked

• 10 large black olives

• salt, pepper and dry Italian herb seasoning

Topping:

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise

• 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

• 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

• 5-6 shakes of hot sauce

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the pie crust in a pie plate that has been sprayed with an oil/flour spray and crimp the edges. Criss-cross two pieces of aluminum foil on top of the pie crust and fill half way with ceramic pie beads, dried beans or raw rice as pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven, take out the foil and pie weights. Let crust cool completely.

Next, peel about 6-8 medium sized tomatoes, removing the hard core and pockets of seeds. Cut them into chunks and place in a colander to drain for at least 30 minutes. (Save the juice to just drink.) You should have about four cups of rough chopped tomatoes.

Meanwhile, bake or fry the bacon and let it cool. Put the chopped onion, chopped green pepper and minced garlic in a frying pan along with the bacon grease and fry until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the crumbled bacon to this mixture.

Drain the olives on a paper towel. Grate the cheddar and swiss cheese and combine them.

To assemble the pie:

Spread the queso onto the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Top with half of the tomatoes; sprinkle with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Top with half of the sliced black olives. Top with half of the bacon/onion/green pepper/garlic mixture. Top with half of the grated cheeses. Repeat the last four layers.

Mix together the topping ingredients and put dabs of it all over the top of the pie until it is all used up.

Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Put the pie on a cookie sheet and bake for about 40 minutes. Tent with a piece of aluminum foil about 20 minutes into the baking time. Test with a knife point to see if the center of the pie is hot before removing from the oven. Let rest 15-20 minutes before serving.

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