Friday, June 4, 2010

"we're gonna build something this summer"

the food: Tomato & Corn Biscuit Pie
the song: "Constructive Summer" The Hold Steady

AHHHHH. I can't believe we're finished with yet another school year. Each year, my mom (also a teacher) always tells me there is no moment sweeter than leaving school on that last day. Before the summertime blues set in. Before you start thinking about next year and counting the weeks and worrying about having the most fun with the time you have left. Driving away from school on that last day you have only good things ahead of you and maximum summer to look forward to.

This is an extra huge day for me because at this moment, I'm also finished with my job. I am extremely grateful for the last four years spent at a wonderful school, but I'm also happy that it is over. As I start the Summer of George Emily, I want to share with you my current favorite summertime recipe. We kicked off summer a little early last night with some friends of ours. We shared good wine and conversation and this tomato and corn biscuit pie. 

I originally ran into this recipe over at the super cute Canadian food blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches a while back, who instructs in the post title to make this now. Stupidly, I did not take that advice and missed my chance to make this pie last summer. But I have now made it twice in the span of one week, and I would have no problem making it again next week. This recipe screams summertime. It tastes special and delicious without weighing you down. The ingredients are in season right now, so I'm going to advise the same thing and tell you to make this now. Like...over the weekend. It is that good. 

I've changed a few things here, mainly just to suit our tastes. The first time I made this I used cheddar cheese, which was wonderful. However, last night I made it using Cyrus Grove Chevre Lamb Chopper sheep milk cheese. The final result wasn't quite as budget friendly--I paid $6 for a chunk that turned out to be less than a cup--but it was totally worth it. So...special occasion, I'd say splurge for a high quality shreddable cheese (sheep or goat if you dig that kind of thing). Day to day, it's fine to use a decent sharp cheddar.

A few recipe notes for you... First of all, use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on. I don't have enough tomatoes yet to make this from my garden, but I think that would be ideal. I used garden basil and herbs. This recipe helped me come to the really obvious food discovery that fresh corn on the cob is about a bazillion times better than frozen. Up until this recipe, I've reserved corn on the cob for cookouts. But in the summer, it is completely worth the extra effort to husk your own corn. It makes this pie sweet and crisp. In fact, I will never make this recipe anytime except for summer. The fresh corn and tomatoes are the key.

My only word of caution is that rolling out the biscuit dough is a little bit of an ordeal. But you'll figure it out. Just make sure you have wax paper and plenty of extra flour available for your hands. I tried the first time to use a rolling pin, but it just makes a sticky mess. Just work it out with your hands like any good dough.

Why are you still sitting here? Don't you have a farmer's market to get to!?

Corn & Tomato Biscuit Pie
adapted from Everybody Likes Sandwiches 

For the dough*:
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tsp vinegar)
1 tbsp fresh oregano (optional)
1/4 tsp pepper

For the pie:  
2 tbsp sour cream
juice from 1 lemon
4-5 med-large tomatoes, deseeded & sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped basil
1/2 cup onion, diced
1-2 cups corn (from about 2 ears)
1/2 tsp black pepper
a pinch or two of kosher salt
1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar, sheep, gruyere...anything you like, really)
about 1/2 tablespoon melted butter   

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, oregano, and black pepper. Stir in the milk and oil and mix lightly until combined. Divide the dough in half. On floured wax paper, use your floured hands to work one ball of dough into a circular shape and line it into a pie plate.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream and lemon juice. Set aside.

Layer in half of the tomatoes to line the bottom biscuit dough and sprinkle with half of the fresh basil. Grind some black pepper over it all and a pinch of salt. Add half the corn and half the onions and drizzle with half of the sour cream mixture. Repeat. Sprinkle the top of the pie with cheese.

Roll out the remaining ball of dough and top the pie with it. Seal the edges and cut a few vents to let the steam escape. Brush the top with a bit of melted butter. Bake in a 400 degree preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden. Remove from oven and let rest for a few moments before eating. 

*Or use your own favorite biscuit recipe. This one comes from Bread & Honey, another food blog I love. 


P.S. Because this is the first post of summer, I offer you yet another quote from the most fantastic summer song...nay, the most fantastic summer BAND ever....The Hold Steady.

"This summer, grant us all the power to drink on top of water towers. 
With love and trust and shows all summer. 
Let this be my annual reminder that we can all be something bigger."

Cheers to that. 

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