March 1, 2011

Start Your Engines, We're In Indiana!

A small amount of snow still sits on the ground, but school is in session, and that's a very good thing on many levels. It allows me to get back to this journey. We last left off when we announced Indiana as our next itinerary.

Thanks to Jay Lemke at Red Gold, an Indiana cannery, who submitted recipes that feature the ever versatile tomato. Jay also sent me a press packet with some of their products, from canned tomatoes to ketchup. (Which I sneak into chili and homemade barbecue sauce when Liz isn't looking.) Which reminds me, if you have unique food products from your state, I'd love to know about them. You can e-mail me at: courseforadventure (at)

I've been so underwhelmed with "fresh" grocery store tomatoes, that in winter I only purchase canned tomatoes. A friend who makes her own salsa says she'll only use Red Gold because it doesn't have a "tinny" taste.

Red Gold Tomatoes has a cookbook that features many uses for the red fruit called "Heartwarming Recipes for the Busy Cook." I've seen it recently at my local grocery store. Page 67 in the cookbook features founder Fran Reichart's Tomato Tart. I'm intrigued with the mayonnaise in the mix.

Fran Reichart's Red Gold Tomato Tart
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell*
2 (14.5-ounce) cans Red Gold diced tomatoes roasted garlic & onion
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salf
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese (I use low-fat when possible)
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Swiss cheese (low-fat)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

* Click HERE for my grandmother's super-easy pie crust recipe!

Prep time: 20 minutes / Bake time: 40 minutes
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Fit the pie shell into a 9-inch pie plate. Prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. (A great way to take out aggravation.) Bake for 12 minutes.
Combine undrained cans of tomatoes, basil and salt in a bowl and mix well. Spread the tomato mixture evenly in the prepared pie plate. Combine the two cheeses and mayonnaise in a bowl and mix well. Spread evenly over the tomato mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown. Cut into bite-size pieces. Serve warm. Serves 12.
Serving suggestions: Works as appetizer or entree. Serve with soup, tossed green salad and raspberry ice.
Calories 230, Fat 18g, Chol 25mg, Sodium 250 mg, Carbs 12g, Fiber 1g, Protein 6g.

Mayonnaise seems to be the family's secret ingredient to pair with their tomatoes. Jay sent another Red Gold family recipe from their CEO Brian Reichart, who says: "This is the greatest pizza in the world."

Brian Reichart's Fresh Tomato Basil Pizza
1 (10 ounce) package refrigerator pizza crust**
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (low-fat if possible)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese (low-fat if possible)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold diced tomatoes, drained
or 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Red Gold petite diced tomatoes, drained
1  bell pepper, chopped
2  Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Prep time: 10 minutes / Cook time: 15 minutes
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease 12” pizza pan or 13x9x2 inch pan. Unroll pizza crust and place in greased pan. Starting at center press out with hands. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, 1 cup Mozzarella cheese and garlic. Spread cheese mixture on crust. Arrange diced tomatoes in a single layer over cheese. Sprinkle bell pepper and remaining Mozzarella cheese over tomatoes. Bake 12-15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Just before serving sprinkle with fresh basil. Serves: 12.
Calories 170, Fat 8g, Chol 15mg, Sodium 370mg, Carbs 16g, Fiber 1g, Protein 8g.

** Here's what I use for making fresh pizza dough or more technically, impasto per pizze. It's from Toscana restaurant in LA.
Makes 8 (10-inch) pizzas, but I always halve the recipe and still have enough for a large pizza and a small dough ball for the next day's after-school snack of savory or cinnamon-sugar-coated mini-pizza round.

Toscana's Impasto Per Pizze (Fresh Pizza Dough)
2 cups warm water
1 1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 cups Italian "OO" flour (a finely ground flour from Italy that makes a crispier crust. I just use my Hudson Cream flour.)

In a mixing bowl, add warm water, yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil. Whisk until yeast dissolves and activates, about 2 minutes. (The yeast should foam up a little bit before disappearing.) Pour the mixture into a mixer using the dough hook and set to slow speed. Add the flour. When all the flour is added, speed up the machine for 1 minute until a dough ball is formed. Remove the dough and place on a floured countertop and allow to rest about 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 8 "balls." (With half the recipe I take two-thirds for the larger pizza ball and make a smaller ball with what's left). Cover with a damp cloth, let rise for 15 minutes. The dough is now ready to use.

Who knew that a trip to Indiana would lead us to Italy? When the girls and I  make pizza we crank up our iTunes Italian Night music folder that features:
"Off to Italy" on A Little Romance soundtrack by Georges Delerue
"Balcony e gondola" and "Tarantela rusticana" on World Music Italy, Vol. 4
"Con te partiro" on Romanza by Andrea Bocelli
"Rigoletto, Act III: La donna e mobile" on Pavarotti's Opera Made Easy: My Favorite Opera for Everyone
"Lolita" on Italy - Famous Italian Favorites by Graham BLVD
"Tarantella" and "Mambo Italiano" on Italian Dinner Party Music
and "La Giocanda" on Italian Favorites by Il Nuovo Canzoniere Italiano G

So as they say in Indiana "Enjoy!" or Italy "Buon Appetito!"

1 comment:

  1. I went to IU for undergrad and, 20 years later, I cannot recall a single native dish to the state that I ate while there. Maybe since I only went to restaurants downtown or at the mall for most of that time. The closest I can get is White Castle, which people from Indiana loved and people from East Coast like me hated. :)