A very, very rainy Monday and I’ve got a lot of organic chemistry studying… oh, but then I opened up a new vegetarian cookbook from Aunt Debbie & family and saw this upside-down bell-pepper pie and well, you know what happened from there…
The appeal of homemade pastry on a weeknight made so quickly in my food processor was too much to pass up. Plus, I know Andrew likes tomatoes, red onion, and bell peppers, so it seemed like perfect meal after a work day—to make everyone in our little home happy.
The pastry dough was really soooo quick, and rests for the 30 minutes you’re prepping the veggies and pre-heating the oven. The fun thing about this pastry (besides the flour and buttermilk, eggs, baking powder, etc.) is the 1.5 cups of grated cheddar! It came out bready, as I expected, and I loved cheese bread as a special treat growing up.
Our food processor (okay mine, but Andrew’s been taking advantage of it, too) is truly the most phenomenal tool in our kitchen. It takes the mess out of homemade pizza dough, and brought this “pie” dough together in less than 2 minutes. Really, really: If you’re an adventurer in the kitchen, a food processor is a worthwhile investment.
Since I hadn’t tried this recipe before, I stuck with the recommended bell pepper, red onions, and tomatoes. If Andrew was into eggplant, it would be awesome on this pie, but while I was digging in to my dinner, dreaming of eggplant, he confessed to dreaming of a luscious meat topping.
I’ve not taken true advantage of canned tomatoes in the past, but, sick of waiting for summer, I used whole unpeeled organic canned tomatoes here and oh the flavor!! I’ve read that whole unpeeled is the way to go when it comes to canned tomatoes, and here I just chopped them myself. Buying whole tomatoes ensures the prime tomatoes, not the discarded chopped bits, in your dish. Believe me, even in-season tomatoes could hardly compare to this rich intensity.
Though the recipe suggests throwing the peppers and onions and garlic into a high heat skillet, I was not fooled. Even when a recipe calls for sautéed garlic along with the onions or earliest ingredient, wait to add the garlic! Garlic browns to its beautiful fragrance in less than 60 seconds, where onions may take around 10 minutes. And once you burn the garlic, there’s no turning back. In this case, I browned the onions and peppers and added the chopped garlic to the hot oil just before adding the tomatoes.
I added in a bit of the paste-y sauce from the canned tomatoes, which bound the veggies together nicely and deglazed the pan a bit. I love deglazing: we’ll chat about it even more in the future, promise.
The dough, after resting 30 minutes, was sticky, but not elastic at all. Once turned onto some floured parchment paper, it was simple to shape without a rolling pin. I don’t have a ruler (kitchen or otherwise), so I tried to estimate the circumference compared to my wooden spoon (we’re primitive here in Virginia), Well, I overshot just a bit , and made thicker edges once I shoved the dough along the sides of my skillet.
The biggest mistake about my pie (a note in my cookbook may have helped!) is that this dough really needed to be rolled thin. Next time, I would press it out much more and use the leftovers for a little cheesebread dinner roll.
“Sliding” the dough onto the skillet, over the veggies, was an adventure:
Our household dishwasher (often nicknamed Andrew) appreciates a one-pan meal even more than me. You can imagine how thrilling this skillet pie was! Just 20 minutes in the oven… enough time to whip up a quick, creative salad.
So maybe it’s not uber creative, but the quickest 3-ingredient salad is as follows:
1. Grapefruit. If you happen upon an amaaaaazingly juicy red one like I lucked out on tonight, boy are you in for an extra treat. Just peel off the skin and membrane with a small sharp knife—do this over a bowl and keep those juices!
2. Ripe avocado. It’s so tricky to cut an avocado neatly. Yep, I could go into the technique for ya, but tonight I didn’t quite feel like taking my time. Slices of avocado, or chunks, is just fine.
3. Greens. Arugula is ideal, but Andrew isn’t a huge fan, so tonight I just picked up a head of red-leaf lettuce. The combination wasn’t as delectable as with arugula, but it was still a great salad.
Combine the three ingredients on your plate and top with the grapefruit juice and a sprinkle of avocado oil (not as expensive or difficult find at Whole Foods). Chili oil is a great combination, if you can handle it. We can’t, so I omitted it upon this version and it was still light and delicious. Now, this salad was not really thought out to complement this meal, but with grapefruits and avocados so ripe at the store… I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make this salad!
This is a great salad to make as the warm weather makes these delightful ingredients more available. And 20 minutes was more than enough to put it together.
Fully cooked in about 19 minutes, lightly brown and moist inside. But now the flip!