To market, to market to bake a fresh pie

Kitchen Ade

If your favorite farmers market, or nearby roadside produce stand, are not yet open, it soon will. And, once that occurs, you will be inspired by what you'll find. My first trip to the market this season yielded the sweetest tomatoes I've enjoyed in months. Silver Queen corn was there, too, as well as lovely Vidalia onions, from Vidalia, Georgia, where the 35th Annual Vidalia Onion Festival will take place April 26-29 ( With all three in hand, the tomatoes, the corn and the onions, I headed home to bake Market Vegetable Pie, a savory, beautiful dish that can be served for breakfast, with a side of fresh fruit, or for lunch or a light supper, especially nice accompanied with a salad comprised of mixed baby spring lettuce. Besides hooking up with the produce and the makings for your next meal, you'll surely enjoy chatting with market farmers,  vendors and other folks in love with the farm-to-table way of life. Supermarkets and large retail outlets , of course, have their invaluable place in our day-to-day lives, but for wholesome farm fresh produce that is fresher, less processed and far less traveled, check out the farmers market. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also maintains a website with a list of farmers markets around the country, at www., but it doesn't list them all, so if you don't know where to go in your neighborhood, call your local chamber of commerce for locations and times.
Sue Ade is a syndicated food writer with broad experience and interest in the culinary arts. She has worked and resided in the Lowcountry of South Carolina since 1985 and may be reached at   

Vegetable Garden Pie

1 (9-inch) partially baked piecrust, recipe and instructions follow
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch cayenne pepper

1 large, fully-ripened tomato, cored, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices, salted and drained*
1 large Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion), sliced thin and caramelized*
1/2 tablespoon butter, plus more as needed
1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more as needed
2 ears fresh corn, microwaved until cooked crisp/tender*
1 cup (4 ounces) Swiss cheese, grated
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Basil leaves, for garnish*
*Directions for preparing the tomatoes, onion, corn and basil follow

For the filling

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milks and eggs, until well blended. Stir in the salt, sugar, nutmeg and black and cayenne pepper, mixing well; set aside.

For the tomatoes, onion, corn and basil garnish

Tomatoes: Place the tomato slices on a mesh screen set over a large bowl and sprinkle lightly with salt. Allow tomatoes to stand for 20 to 30 minutes as excess water drains from tomatoes, then blot dry with a paper towel.
Caramelized Onion: In a large heavy skillet, set over medium heat, heat butter with oil until butter is melted. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion becomes soft and begins to take on a golden color, about 20 minutes. Lower heat and continue to cook until onion has caramelized, or is done to your liking,  about 15 to 20 minutes more.
Corn: Leaving husks and silk intact,  place corn on a dampened paper towel, then microwave corn on HIGH power for 6 minutes, turning corn over after 3 minutes. When done, let corn stand for 5 minutes. Wearing oven mits (the corn will be very hot), strips husks and silk from corn  and cut corn from cob with a sharp knife. Set corn aside until ready to use. Basil: Stack basil leaves into a neat pile, then roll into a tight, cigar-shaped cylinder. Using a scissor, snip the basil into thin slices. (This is called basil "chiffonade.")

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes on the bottom of the partially baked piecrust. Top tomatoes with caramelized onion, spreading evenly over tomatoes, then distribute the corn over the onions. Sprinkle the Swiss and parmesan cheeses over all, then pour reserved egg/milk mixture into the pie shell. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until pie is set and knife inserted into the pie's center comes out clean. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, before cutting. Garnish with basil strips before servings.
Make 8 servings.

Rich Butter Pie Crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons ice water

In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt, mixing well. Add the butter to the flour mixture, tossing lightly to cover butter with flour. With a pastry blender or two forks,  cut the butter into the flour mixture until mixture resembles small crumbs. Gradually add some of the water to the flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing lightly with a fork after each addition. After pastry is well mixed, press dough with your hands to form a disc; do not overwork dough. Chill dough for 1 hour, then allow to sit out at room temperature for 10 minutes before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough about 1/4-inch thick (lightly dusting it with more flour, if needed) into a circle 1 1/2 inches wider all around than an inverted 9-inch pie dish. Carefully fit pastry into pie plate, then trim overhang dough to 1 inch from the edge of the pan. Roll the dough under so that it sits on the edge of the pan. Flute edges into a generous, decorative border all around pie dish, then refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. While dough is chilling, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Remove piecrust from refrigerator and line bottom of the crust with a piece of parchment paper, or foil, to fit, then fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice*. Bake for 15 minutes,  then carefully remove paper with weights. Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees. Pierce the sides and bottom of crust all over with a fork (this is called "docking," and it will allow steam to escape and keep the crust from puffing up); return piecrust to the oven and bake  for about 5 minutes more, or until the edges are a light golden brown.
Remove from oven to wire rack and set aside until ready to use.   


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