Three weeks vacation is a long vacation and we loved every moment of it. Well, maybe not getting bit by mosquitoes. If I’m thankful for anything about living in expensive Vancouver, I’m very thankful that there are no mosquitoes. Being bug-free, especially when camping for two out of three weeks, would have been miraculous. Highlights included driving the side roads in Quebec along the St. Lawrence, getting our feet mucky in the Bay of Fundy, driving the breath-takingly gorgeous Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, the fairy-tale village of Peggy’s Cove, picking up shells off the red sanded beaches of PEI, and visiting the strangely deserted but beautiful city of St. John, NB.
I also fell in love with Montreal. Fell hard…and not just because of the poutine. It was exciting, relaxed, and perfect and I’m almost ready to pack my bags and relocate. French, do I really need to be that fluent? Honestly, it doesn’t seem so! I also loved the Vermont town of Montpelier. It was beautiful and had everything I could want in a small town…except that it’s not Canada. And as my friend Jason in Montreal beautifully put it, as long as you are in Canada, you are home.
Oh, and the food! We ate some pretty wonderful meals and I even managed to discover a love of cucumbers, peaches, plums and I even tried scallops for the first time (but definitely not the last). And while it was fun trying new foods, eating at new restaurants and beach-side shacks, it also feels good to be in my own kitchen. The first real meal I cooked when I returned was this pie. I had seen the recipe in my August copy of Gourmet magazine and it just looked perfect. Comforting and homey yet full of seasonal, fresh ingredients. It was the perfect meal to come home to.
The beauty of this recipe is that it takes all the complicated pie-making stuff and throws it out the window. Instead of a tricky pie crust, this one uses biscuit dough which is so much easier to roll out into a round-ish shape. If I had some zucchini, I’d even toss in a layer of that for a pretty green, red and yellow pie. It seems like a forgiving dish. And it’s the perfect thing to make on a weeknight and it’s good enough to serve to guests for brunch. If you aren’t in your kitchen now cutting up your fragrant garden tomatoes or gently stirring up a batch of biscuits, you are clearly in the wrong. This meal must be made. Now. Get to it, I’ll be waiting.
tomato & corn biscuit pie
(liberally adapted from Gourmet)
1 recipe of your favorite biscuit dough (minus the dill, onion & cheddar – but add some 1 t fresh oregano if you wish)
2 T mayonnaise
zest of 1 lemon
juice from 1/2 lemon
4-5 med-large tomatoes, deseeded & sliced
2 tablespoons finely chopped basil
2-4 fat green onions (about 1/2 c), sliced
1 c corn (freshly de-cobbed or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
a pinch or two of kosher salt
1/4 c old cheddar cheese, shredded
egg wash, milk or melted butter
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix up your biscuit dough and divide the dough in half. Roll out one ball of dough into a circular shape and line it into a pie plate.
2. In the meantime, mix together the mayo with the lemon zest and juice and set aside.
3. Layer in half of the tomatoes to line the bottom and sprinkle with half of the fresh basil. Grind some black pepper over it all and a small pinch of kosher salt. Add half the corn and half the green onions and drizzle over half of the mayo mixture. Repeat. Sprinkle the top of the pie with cheddar cheese.
4. Roll out the remaining ball of dough and top the pie with it. Seal the edges and make it look pretty like Martha would (or be like me, cross your fingers and just try your best). Cut in a few vents to let the steam escape and brush the top with a bit of egg wash, milk or melted butter. Put in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes until the filling is bubbling and the top is golden. Remove from oven and serve.