Thursday, October 9, 2014

Green Tomato Pie Time

Virginia Rich has been called the originator of Culinary Mysteries. I bought her first book, The Cooking School Murders back in 1982 and then her next two, The Baked Bean Supper Murders, and The Nantucket Diet Murders when they came out. I was sad when I learned she passed away before completing any more books. Later Nancy Pickard was chosen to continue the Eugenia Potter mysteries and she wrote three more.

I identified with Virginia Rich's Eugenia Potter character even though I didn't have a cottage in Maine or a cattle ranch out West. She was my kind of people.

"How I wanted to be a cheerleader,
Mrs. Potter remembered with a pang.
It had been no comfort at all to be able to spell."

The young girl above was one of the prettiest and sweetest cheerleaders pictured in my 1961 senior yearbook. Notice the length of her skirt? There was something so feminine about these modest uniforms and very alluring, R.H. says, when a twirl or jump in the air revealed just a glimpse of shapely legs. And of course I wished I was a cheerleader. Making A's in English didn't help at all.

Want to see a photo in the same yearbook of me and R.H.? I thought you'd never ask….

There we are, all dressed up for Hillbilly Day. I don't know why my mother and I thought that this dress and ruffled pantaloons were hillbilly attire but R.H. had it just right, down to a corncob pipe.

I've wanted to make Eugenia Potter's Green Tomato Pie ever since I read the book and what better excuse than now so I can blog about it. I made the crust out of a cookbook called Old Hundred that my parents gave me back in the 1970s, brought home from a trip to Calgary, Canada, but Old Hundred was in New England. Can you tell that I've used this cookbook a lot over the decades?

Falling apart at the seams but the recipe makes a very tender crust. I had a little trouble with the lattice work of the crust, as you can see…

But it was delicious. Here's the recipe from The Cooking School Murders by Virginia Rich:

Grandmother Andrews' Green Tomato Pie

Slice thinly:
6-8 small green tomatoes sliced paper thin
1 lemon, cut in quarters and then in paper thin shreds

Crumble together:

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
4 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt

Layer the tomatoes and lemon shreds with the sugar mixture sprinkled on each layer.

Bake at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

"Edward made pastry with professional ease and speed.
Mrs. Potter crumbled brown sugar, flour, and butter
to layer with the thin tomato slices Charlotte's knife was producing,
along with paper-thin shreds of whole lemon to be interspersed among them.
Greg amused himself cutting and twisting Edward's velvety pastry dough
into lattice strips to crisscross the top of the pie."

"Maybe, as you say, that pie would be even better cold, Aunt 'Genia,"
was Greg's verdict later as the four ate lunch on the porch,
"but I don't see how."

I don't see how either, but I'm sure going to try a second piece cold from the fridge tonight after supper. 

I know that Fried Green Tomatoes with all kinds of gourmet sauces are on restaurant menus now, but here is 'Genia's simple recipe the way it was done in Iowa in her grandmother's kitchen:

         Fry bacon, bread green tomato slices in cracker crumb, and sauté, keep warm. Make a cream gravy with drippings to serve over bacon and tomatoes.

And for those who asked how the new chickens are doing at Valley View, here is a photo of Sunny and Cher taken yesterday morning peering in the door at me while I was cooking.

They look perfectly at home, don't they? While Gray Girl was in the leaves scratching away, they were up stealing a little cat food. I think they were waiting for a piece of pie though.

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