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Recipe: Savory Heirloom Tomato Pie


Outside of the sweltering summer, my colleagues and I make every effort to host a monthly bake/cook-off; we've done chili, cookies, quiche, dip, to name a few.  This month, we decided to do a "pie-off."

Forgoing a traditional sweet pie, I decided to take a savory route.  And, being that September marks the non-official end of our local tomato season (and summer, for that matter), I decided to make an old-fashioned Southern tomato pie using a bounty of colorful heirlooms.

I spent last Sunday morning gathering ingredients, prepping vegetables and pie dough (pre-made, don't judge), and baking.  This pie was rather simple to make and, aesthetically, resulted in a gorgeous and sturdy masterpiece; but the real question at hand was, how would it taste

To be honest, I don't think I was prepared for just how deliciously delectable this pie came out!  I was pretty concerned about the tomatoes becoming watery and the savory creation morphing itself in to a wet and soggy mess.  However, I could not have been more wrong: The tomatoes remained intact/not watery, the blend of chives and arugla married beautifully, the sauteed onions added a luxuriously rich flavor punch, and the seasoning was spot-on.  My coworkers and I indulged ourselves in seconds and thirds (I think someone had fourths?), literally, until the pie was completely gone (save for a few crumbs of crust).  

Plenty of you have asked for the recipe, so here it is!  I hope that you will love it as much as me and my coworkers. 



Pie crust for a 9 inch pie (I buy the pre-made dough because I’m lazy and lame.  The brand that I use and love is Immaculate.) 


  • 2 1/4 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 sweet white onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. canola or olive oil
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh chives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh arugula
  • ½ cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • Salt and pepper 


Bake the pre-made pie dough/your homemade dough according to the directions.  Set aside to cool.

Pre-heat oven to 350 F.

Cover the surface of a large cookie sheet with paper towels and top with a layer of sliced tomatoes.  Sprinkle with salt.  Place single layer of paper towels atop the tomatoes and repeat the previous step until all sliced tomatoes have been placed atop paper towels and salted.  (This will literally resemble a "paper towel and tomato" lasagna.)  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Heat oil and sauté the chopped onion on medium heat until tender, approximately 5-7 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Combine cheeses and mayonnaise in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine ¼ cup each chopped chives and arugula and set aside.  Reserve one teaspoon of chopped chives for topping.

Assemble your workspace: Pie crust, tomatoes, chives and arugula, onions, black pepper/mill.

Pat tomatoes dry with a (yet another) paper towel.  Layer tomatoes, onion, and herbs in the prepared crust, seasoning each layer with fresh black pepper. 

Evenly-spread cheese and mayo mixture over the pie. 

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until topping is lightly browned, shielding the edges with foil - if need be - to prevent excessive browning of the crust (note that I did not have to do this because my crust did not pop out further than the filling).  Finish by sprinkling the remaining teaspoon of chives atop the cheese.

Serve hot, warm, room-temp, or cold!  You simply cannot go wrong.  Bon apetit, y'all!   


Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle


Greece (Athens/Mykonos): Where to eat and drink

Below, you will find restaurants/specialty shops that have been categorized by their respective cuisines.  I have only included venues where I have personally either dined-in or ordered-out.  


Beach Clubs









Recipe: Kofta Pulao a-la-Instant Pot (Indian chicken meatballs + rice pilaf)

Photo credit: Rinku Bhattacharya

If you don't know, now you know: Indian cuisine slides in second after Mexican as my favorite.  And it wasn't until I purchased my Instant Pot AND came across the cookbook, Instant Indian, that I dipped my toe in to cooking Indian food at home.  While I've got Mexican recipes down pat, whipping together a homemade biryani or lamb curry has always just seemed...super intimidating.  

Upon skimming through the recipes in Instant Indian, the Kofta Pulao (which loosely translates to 'chicken meatballs and rice pilaf') really caught my attention: Its method read with ease - the ingredient list wasn't too long or overwhelming - and the dish just sounded incredibly flavorful, hearty and delicious.  An entree that I could plate alongside a colorful salad and enjoy with a crisp glass of white wine (or three).  

Since my initial attempt, I have made this recipe time and time again, though have amended the original/author's version my own twists (such as cutting down the amount of fat, and subbing water with chicken broth for more flavor).  It is a huge crowd pleaser and even receives high praise from my Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi cronies!




  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger (original recipe calls for freshly-ground, but I used the stuff in the jar)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (seeds and pith removed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • 2 tablespoons canola or grapeseed oil (separated, 1 tablespoon each)
  • 1 sweet white onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 cup basmati rice, washed (<--- soak dry rice in cold water for 30 minutes and drain)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken broth 


1 day prior to eating: Make the meatballs

  1. To make the meatballs: Place the ground chicken, ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, jalapeno and salt  in a bowl and mix together.  Add in the lemon juice, beaten egg and cornstarch.  Blend together.  On a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, form mixture in to 1" meatballs (mixture makes about 18 meatballs).  Store in fridge until you are ready to make the entire recipe the next day.


  1. Turn the IP (Instant Pot) to the Sauté mode and add 1 tablespoon of the oil.  When the oil warms, add in the onion and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Sauté for approximately 8 minutes, until the onion softens, wilts and turns pale golden.  When done, remove from IP and set aside in a separate bowl.
  2. Add the other tablespoon of oil in to the IP.  Working in batches, gently add in the meatballs and let them cook for 2 minutes per side taking care not to stir them.  When all meatballs have been cooked, deglaze the IP with 2 tablespoons of chicken broth.
  3. Return the meatballs to the IP, lining the bottom of the pot.  
  4. Return the onions to the IP atop the meatballs.  Add in the rice, mint, cinnamon stick and bay leaves with 1 1/4 cups chicken broth.  
  5. Close the lid and turn on the Rice setting (it automatically will set for 14 minutes).  When cooking time is complete, allow natural pressure to release for 8 minutes, then use quick release for any residual pressure.  
  6. Open the lid and savor!

*This recipe freezes well, too!


Until we eat again

The Lunch Belle


Recipe: Salted Caramel Matzo Brittle

"You should sell this stuff at the farmer's market!"

"I don't even like sweets, and this shit is amazing!"

"You're my hero!"

"I cannot stop thinking about that Matzo Brittle!"

"It's a Passover miracle!"

"You're a mensch!"

I've heard it all, folks: From every compliment in the book - to more Matzo Brittle bribes than you can imagine. I'm here to tell you that this recipe will make you a hero amongst anyone lucky enough to sample this magical, deliciously life-altering, Passover-friendly treat. Recipe inspired by my dear friend, Meghan Coyne, and based on my amended version of Christine Gallary's.


  • 5 sheets matzo
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) salted butter, cut in to large chunks
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Maldon sea salt flakes


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a rimmed, full-sized cookie sheet with enough foil that it overlaps and you have to fold it under the edges. Top with parchment paper.  Arrange as many matzo sheets that will fit in a single layer on the baking sheet (likely 2). Set aside.
  3. Place butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes, stirring occassionally. Remove from heat and add vanilla (pour slowly, as it may bubble up). Stir to combine.
  4. With care, "paint" the caramel over the matzo with a culinary brush, making sure to coat each piece with caramel.
  5. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes, until small bubbles cover the entire surface of the matzo and the caramel is fragrant.
  6. Remove from the oven. Sprinkle each piece of matzo with chocolate chips and set aside for 3-5 minutes to allow chocolate to soften.
  7. Using a culinary brush, delicately spread the melting chocolate chips over the caramel. Sprinkle each piece of matzo with fleur de sel and refrigerate for approximately 30 minutes.
  8. Repeat steps 1-7 until all 5 matzo sheets have been made!  Tip: Change the parchment paper between repetitions.
  9. Break in to pieces and serve and/or freeze for later use.


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle