Feb 9, 2015

Legions of devoted fans know Vivian Howard from the award-winning PBS series, A Chef's Life - but locals know her as one of North Carolina's favorite daughters. Vivian will be appearing at the Downtown Raleigh Home Show on Saturday, February 14 and Sunday, February 15, where she'll present an interactive cooking demo and discussion. She'll be sharing the top tricks and tips so guests can learn to inject some extra Carolina pride into their culinary repertoire.

One of her Southern specialties can find its way into your Valentine's Day as the perfect red hot side dish: tomato pie. Check out the recipe below and get ready to wow your sweetheart this Valentine's Day.

Tomato Pie


For The Filling
  • 2 Cups diced and drained tomatoes
  • 2 Cups diced and roasted tomatoes
  • 1 Cup caramelized onions
  • 1/2 Cup picked basil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Sugar
For The Topping
  • 1/3 Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/3 Cup grated Fontina
  • 1/2 Cup mayo
  • 1 Pie crust

Step 1: For The Diced And Drained Tomatoes - Seed and dice about 3 cups fresh, high-quality tomatoes. Toss them with a little kosher salt and sugar. Set over a colander while you prepare the remaining ingredients, if possible. If not, drain for a minimum of an hour. You should be left with about 2 cups of tomato.

Step 2: For The Roasted Tomatoes - Seed and dice 4 cups fresh, high-quality tomatoes. Toss them with olive oil (at Chef & The Farmer we use garlic oil), plenty of kosher salt, and several sprigs of thyme. Spread this mix out on a baking sheet and roast at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. You want the tomatoes to be dry and slightly caramelized, but not burnt around the edges.

Sept 3: For The Onions - Peel and slice (with the grain) 4 medium yellow onions. In a large sauté pan, heat 1/4 cup of butter. Add the onions and season them with salt. Let the onions simmer and become juicy. Once the situation becomes a bit drier and much of the onion liquid has cooked out, turn down the heat to its lowest setting and settle in for a long, slow caramelize. To get these onions where they need to be, it could take about 2 hours. You are looking for a medium brown, sweet caramelization.

Sept 4: Assembling The Filling - Combine the onions, fresh tomatoes, roasted tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, and sugar to taste. Keep in mind, the tomatoes take a lot of seasoning to really make them shine in applications like this.

Sept 5: Bake And Serve - Spread the filling over the bottom of a blind-baked crust. Flatten the topping between wax paper or use your good ol' hands to create a 1/3 inch thick round of delicious, cheesy topping that spreads nearly to the edges of the pie. Bake at 375 degrees until the top is nicely browned...20-25 minutes. Serve at just over room temperature.

Treat your loved one to this delicious dish and a wonderful day at the Downtown Raleigh Home Show. The home and garden event of the season takes over the Raleigh Convention Center February 13 - 15, 2015. Buy tickets early to get the best deals and avoid box office lines. Right now you can get 2-for-1 tickets on Facebook.

FEBRUARY 13  - 15, 2015.