Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks ago. I got quinoa, wasabi peas (love’ em!), kumatos, avocados, teeny, tiny new potatoes, mascarpone, fresh herbs, several cheeses, flavored vinegars, fish sauce: you get the idea. I had a ball! If I would have brought freezer packs, I would have bought some of the fish --oh, the scallops! -- and the meat --lamb! -- I was drooling over. But I was still a couple hours away from home and a little wary of what traveling might do to my precious cargo.
I love my life in the country and I can pretty much get all the things I really want to cook with, if I plan ahead, if I rely on friends and family to get some things for me, if I order stuff via the internet sometimes. (Pretty big ifs.) I have to admit even to myself that I have collected a pretty odd variety of pantry fare that gives Mr. Rosemary an opportunity to pretend he’s a comedian just rummaging through sometimes.
But that kind of shopping doesn’t satisfy my desire to do some cooking spontaneously. And every once in a while, there ain’t nothing like the real thing! Like picking up a magazine as opposed to just reading the on-line version. Seeing, touching, smelling. So inspiring! I felt just a little bit like a wide-eyed country bumpkin and I got a few sidelong glances as I’d pick something up and go, “Wow!”
I loved my trip to Trader Joe’s because of the variety and the value. Nothing seemed outrageously priced, even to the frugal me.
But now I had to do something with all the stuff I bought without a plan!
The kumatos ($1 for a box of eight!) were pretty ripe and had to be used first. A tomato pie has always been on my “wannamake” list and after looking around a bit, I was inspired a tomato and cheese tart from The Meaning of Pie. Kelly’s tart was elegant looking, with homemade pastry using lard. My pie (sans tart pan) was more rustic looking and lacked the pretty touch and sensuous taste of basil. (At the store I told myself that was one thing I could get at home often enough, and anyhow, I’d be growing it soon.) But it sure tasted good and was head and shoulders above what I imagined some of the other mayo-ed recipes I’d looked at would be.
So here’s my “Kumato and Chevre Pie.” (I’m calling it chevre instead of just goat cheese, so maybe my mother-in-law won’t wince at the word. I doubt she’ll cozy up to the quinoa.) Shame on me for not making my own pastry, but I still had some dough in the freezer, so this is a Sandra Lee version.
Kumato and Chevre Pie
Inspired by The Meaning of Pie
One sheet of refrigerated pie crust
6 ounces of goat cheese
3 to 4 kumatos (or use tomatoes)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and cracked black pepper
fresh basil leaves, if you are lucky
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the tomatoes, core them if needed, and lay them out on paper towels. Lay paper towels on top of them and press down very gently. Leave the tomatoes this way for a few minutes. The paper towels will absorb a lot of moisture and seeds.
Place the pastry in a pie pan and finish edges as you like.
Take the goat cheese and crumble it into the bottom of the tart pan. Place the tomatoes on top of the goat cheese in a slightly overlapping pattern. Lightly drizzle olive oil on top of the tomatoes, and season them with sea salt or kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper.
Bake until the edges of the pie are golden, about 45 minutes. Place on a wire rack and allow it to cool a bit. Serve warm or at room temperature.