Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kumato and Chevre Pie and Trader Joe’s

My bags were bulging with delectable goodies after my first in-person trip to 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.


  1. Wowsers! That's an awesome looking pie! With some really cool ingredients :) I've never been to Trader Joe's but everyone always raves about it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. That sounds heavenly! I really need to try to go to Trader Joe's too (never been). Just recently heard of quinoa and would like to give it a try. See you soon!

  3. Oh how this beckons to me. Love a goat cheese pie (we used to call it chevre for my father who otherwise would balk). And just change the vegetable according to the season!

  4. This looks delicious! I love Trader Joe's. Fortunately we are close enough to purchase some of the frozen items. Their wild salmon is delicious. I'll be looking for kumatos.


  5. Whoa is me - I've never been to Trader Joe's :(

  6. This looks so comforting and yummy!

  7. Oh, boy does this look delicious! I'm now yearning for some fabulous summer tomatoes...I will make your tart as soon as they appear :)

  8. Oh, wow, I really like this. So simple but with super delicious ingredients. Must taste amazing! We have a Trader Joe's about 30 minutes away. I think I should take a trip soon and see what goodies I can find too.

  9. awesome pie and love trader joes I can get British weetabix there he he

  10. Gorgeous! Bravo! I had never heard of kumatos, and now I must find some.

  11. I really,really.really like this... simple but with super delicious hum?
    your blog is so yummy!

  12. This looks gorgeous. One of the best things about spring is getting to use all of that lovely fresh produce. What a great way to use it!


I realize you don't have to take the time to comment . . . but it makes my day! So glad you decided to stay.