Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2 isn't enough [+ PIE]


For the last four years I've planted my yearly vegetable garden with two tomato plants. And then these two tomato plants have grown to gargantuan sizes and imposed their overabundance on us with unrelenting ferocity.

They taunt us, basically, and it gets out of hand.

And so, we've spent the last four years coming up with (delicious) ways to handle the burden oh what WILL we do of overly productive tomato plants so that we don't waste any so that I don't then have to throw myself headfirst off the roof.

I don't do waste.


I'm very proud of us now though because two tomato plants totally don't even scare us anymore. We don't even get all oh what will we do when the tomatoes start to ripen because we know exactly what we'll do. We'll consult The List (it's a mental mind list thing) and get to eating.

We have cultivated The List of Things We'll Make From The First Tomatoes over many cold tomato-less winters to the point where we know precisely the fate of every tomato that pops loose from the plants. It's very pre-meditated and we like it that way.

Some of the things from this list (because it's a mental mind list, some things might have been misplaced. It happens.) are:

Tomato sandwiches
Canned tomatoes
The Best Tomato Sauce Ever. Yep.
Tomato Pesto Pie w/ Italian Sausage

And while we don't necessarily account for the tomatoes we'll eat freely from the plants when they're still warm from the summer sun, we expect to have those too, while also having plenty to hand out to coworkers and our nice neighbors. (Shitty neighbors get NONE.)

BUT, if this season is any gauge, two tomato plants is just not enough anymore. We've managed to mastermind the tomato season to the point where we've made all the things from The List and are ready to settle into casually tossing up a tomato salad or handing a bagful through the dutch gate except we've caught up to production.


That is correct. Our wintery masterplanning has resulted in an overly efficient consumption of tomatoes. Even after going on two summer vacations during which time we were convinced they'd all ripen and rot before we could enjoy them and thus be wasted *YIKES* we've managed to consume each tomato from the plants either with our own mouths or by giving them to the mouths of others leaving us with a lull between crops.

Usually I don't even notice this lull because I'm too busy sweating my life away in the kitchen canning the winter's supply of tomatoes and wondering why it doesn't even look like I made a dent in the plants, but this year I'm like hey, there's the lull, we're right in it and oh it isn't as fabulous as I'd imagined.

Anyway. The lull is here and we're waiting on about 6 orange-ish red-ish fruits to get the second wave started and I bet you're wondering why I brought you here if there aren't any tomatoes to talk about.

Well let me tell you. I brought you here to talk about the completion of The Tomato Eating List and more specifically the most recent addition to The List and then to show you pictures of this recent addition and to also declare that it's All Food in Pie Form time again at our house WOO!

So, the most recent addition to The List, after the crucial addition of crumbled Italian sausage, is Farmgirl's Savory Tomato Pesto Pie which we call The Best Tomato Pie Ever. Yep. because I'm not creative nor do I have the energy to invest in original names and once we added the Italian sausage to this otherwise quite delicious pie it became The Best in so many ways mostly because it now included meat and that is a bonus.

In order to honor this momentous occasion, I thought I'd walk you through A Day In the Life of The Best Tomato Pie Ever. Yep. so that you could see for yourself what a fucking weirdo I am and also better imagine how delicious this pie is so that you can make it for yourself.

I won't recount Farmgirl's recipe for you because, unlike every other recipe in the whole wide world, I barely fucked with it because it's perfect (except for the meatless part), so you can go over to her site which is awesome in and of itself and get the How-tos from the Farmgirl herself. If you want to make it MEATY you can add the following ingredient/step:

Ingredient: 4 Italian sausage links

Step: After making the pesto and before making the crust (OH MY HELL THE CRUST IS SO GOOD), crumble and brown the sausage in a pan. Set aside. When you go to compile the pie itself, just add crumbled sausage between the tomato and cheese layers *swoon*.

A Day In the Life of The Best Tomato Pie Ever. Yep.
Recipe by Farmgirl, see above notes for changes.

Early in the morning, or before getting lunch tacos whatever, go to a decent meat counter or butcher (We like Lunardi's for our meats) instead of the crappy grocery store and get some legit Italian sausage. Like this here:

And when you get this meat home, slice it out of its grody casing (I spared you the photographic evidence of the grodiness, don't you love me?) and crumble it in your newly unsticky pan with your $1 wooden spoon from Target like so:

Then go out to the garden and pick a bunch of tomatoes (I think I used about four or five) and a hooge bunch of basil and bring them in to slice and from which to make pesto, respectively:

Then recall briefly how it IS so worth it to make the biscuit crust (PEOPLE, THERE IS PARMESAN IN IT YUM) and then make it because it only takes a few minutes:

When you then roll it out, you can feel so proud. Plus you know it's going to be very good.

Once you have all your fillings ready, start by lining your pie pan with the larger crust (the eyefucking method works nicely when deciding which crust is larger. I find anyway.) and start by shmearing the first layer of pesto right on there with your teeny orange spatula from CB that you love. Or whatever:

Then crack into those tomato slices and layer them on top of the pesto without even feeling guilty about how many tomatoes you're using because OH it's so worth it:

Then AND THIS IS THE ONLY CHANGE I MAKE TO THE RECIPE SO WATCH OUT add a layer of your crumbly sausage yum:

Then put the cheese on there without even thinking about how much you're using. It's better than way:

Then try to shmear on some more pesto. Don't be concerned about how neat it is or if the cheese sticks to your spatula because it'll all melt together and be glorious very soon:

Then add more tomatoes because you're frivolous:

Then do the sausage again because it's there and brown and ready to go. Does that sound bad?:

Then more cheese. I doubt you need a reason to add more cheese:

Then put the other crust on top of the whole thing, thus concealing your gluttonous shame if only but for a short time. Also try not to tear it and then cut in some air holes so that your tomatoes don't suffocate:

When you take it out of the oven, it'll look something like this or maybe more brown because you're more patient than I am. Oh isn't everyone:

And then you eat:

And don't even feel ashamed for making sexy noises when you eat this pie because it is that good.

So good, in fact, that you'll totally not at all mind eating the rest of it as leftovers for the next three days. And also don't feel bad if you have leftovers that you end up freezing because I hear that it freezes beautifully. Not that I can confirm those rumors because we don't ever have any leftovers of this pie due to its awesomeness.

So now The List is complete and we're experiencing the lull between crops, but since it's supposed to warm up again this weekend, I'm hoping we'll get at least another pie out of the deal.

And then next year the plan is to double our tomato plants (we like Better Boy, but I won't judge you if you plant some fruity heirloom kind that looks like an anus) up to FOUR so that I can go back to freaking out about what will I do with all these tomatoes because that is the way I prefer to live my life, OK.

Happy Pie.


  1. Oh thank you, thank you! I put my tomatoes in VERY late this year, so our abundance is just beginning. 21 plants, yes, that's right, 21 plants for the two of us. Fine.

    Anyway, I will be making this pie. Over and over, I suspect.

    Tonight I'm doing pizzas on the grill with lots of fresh tomatoes instead of pizza sauce.

    P.S. I love growing basil because you can use it unsparingly while gloating that you aren't paying something like 5 bucks for a little plastic container of it which wouldn't even make a thimblefull of pesto.

  2. Hey! I clicked on your first reference to that pie and it only provided a luscious picture so I was going to beg you for the recipe and then you outdid yourself and provided it anyway! That pie looks AWESOME. As you know, I'm in search of pesto recipes due to my recent pesto experiments (dingdongs notwithstanding.) THANKS for the recipe -- YUMMMMM!!!!

  3. That tomato pie looks awesome! slurp (is that a sexy noise?!?)

  4. I love that you added meat to the pie. Perfect. It seems like a celebrity posted a comment on your blog when I saw that comment from Farm Girl Susan. wow.

    Anyway, tomato pie never occurred to me and I will try it.

    Did you make squash pickles?

    Have I told you I adore your new blog header?

  5. After reading through this post several times and drooling all over my keyboard,(thank you very much, now I need ANOTHER new keyboard)I had to add this particular post to my favorites list, because I JUST HAVE TO TRY THIS RECIPE. I'll let you know how much weight I gained after I cook it up and eat the whole thing all by myself, cause I don't think I am sharing this with my daughters...neither one of them!

  6. I love the recipe and the how to put it all together pictures... wonderful... It sounds so yummy... Thank you for sharing...

  7. I meant to make this when I saw it on Farmgirl Fare last year. Then I didn't. The MiL can't eat wheat, so I have to wait until she's not home for dinner to make it. But this year, I swear by my Moonglow tomatoes (an heirloom variety that does not, thankfully, look like an anus, but also does not, unfortunately, taste like much) that I WILL MAKE IT. And you know there will be meat, because you know our motto here at Blackrock: "Everything is better with meat."

    And if I don't, feel free to mock me, okay?

  8. I am extremely sad. Bereft, even. I have 2 HAYUGE tomato plants with some nice looking tomatoes on them. Why so sad then? BECAUSE THEY ARE NEVER GOING TO TURN RED. They have been on there for close to 2 weeks and I fear they will rot on the vine WHILE STILL GREEN.

    ANy ideas of what I should do?

    If these don't turn red, I will be FORCED to use supermarket tomatoes for my Pesto Pie.

    Now you REALLY understand the sadness.

  9. Hey Finny - fun site! I'm commenting that I would love tomato plants that taunt; they could swear or even throw overripe fruits at me as I pass by - as long as I had some ripe ones!

    Sadly, my little 'maters are still green due to our unusually cool Michigan June this year. Major bummer.

    Glad you're finding ways to enjoy your bounty! My situation gives me a good excuse to over-buy at the farmer's market.

  10. Kathi - 21 plants? You're awesome. AWESOME I SAY. Your pizza sounds delish. I think Bubba wishes I'd make pizza, but I'm so busy with pie.

    I also love grabbing a giant handful from the garden in lieu of those sad droopy bunches you get from the store in their sad little plastic coffins.

    Thimble - You make a good point. I always wonder whether people would rather have things linked to photos or posts with explanations. I guess I assumed that people would rather see the pie than hear about the pie. Either way, I'm happy you're happy ;0)

    Half baked - If that goes for a sexy noise in your house, then I'm OK with it.

    Dig - Yeah, so the first time I made this pie, I did it without meat. And while it was good, it wasn't PERFECT. And when I say PERFECT, I mean MEATY. The sausage is fabulous.

    Farmgirl is my favorite blogger and I refer to her as my friend when I talk to Bubba and he thinks I'm a nutter.

    I haven't made squash pickles (which I realize ARE pickles, tee hee) because I ripped my squash plant out. Next year?

    Thank you! I waited a long time for the header, but hey, there it is.

    Claudia - Don't share. Bake it and spend 20 minutes alone in the closet with this pie and a fork. And then hide the dish. Any food eaten this way is automatically fat and calorie free, btw.

    Shelly and Hope - Dudes, make this. I promise you will not regret.

    Kristin - If you see my original post on this pie you will know that Everything is Better With Meat is a motto to which we also subscribe around here.

    Make it and enjoy it and then tell me all about it.

    Jen - At the end of the season I do one of two things with my green tomatoes: Pick them and let them ripen on the counter (OK) or pick them and slice them and fry them. When I do this, I'll post something on it, but for now there's a good recipe for green tomatoes in the Grow Your Own Round-up from earlier this week. Enjoy!

  11. How do you do it? In my present condition, your ungodly-yummy looking tomato pie would probably kill me and yet I'm craving it. Here I am, gamely trying to force myself to choke down (and keep down) a cup of dry Cheerios and I'm longing for Italian sausage and fresh tomatoes and basil. You are evil.

  12. I got that fucking pressure canner thing on my site, too. What IS that?

  13. Thanks Finny for sending me a heads up email to your version of this amazing pie. And I loved spending a day in the life of the best tomato pie ever. Even if I don't make the pie (which I will!), the post was a great read, and love the pics!


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.