'How Low Can You Go' Winner: Tomato Pie Kathy Lloyd of Pittsfield, Mass., submitted this Tomato Pie recipe in NPR's "How Low Can You Go" family supper challenge. She says it was her favorite dish growing up and she always asked for it for her birthday. The key? Fresh tomatoes and the gooey crust.
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'How Low Can You Go' Winner: Tomato Pie

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'How Low Can You Go' Winner: Tomato Pie

'How Low Can You Go' Winner: Tomato Pie

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Michele Norris.

And it's time to look once again at how to stretch the family food budget. Last month, we asked professional chefs to submit recipes for a delicious meal for four people that cost less than $10. We called it our How Low Can You Go family supper challenge. And we also asked you, our listeners, to send in your recipes, and more than 300 of you submitted your favorite low-priced dishes. It was a culinary cornucopia, everything from pizzas to fish tacos with kimchi to - and I am not kidding here - roadkill deer stew.

Over the next few weeks, we're going to present some of those recipes on the air, and we start today with Kathy Lloyd. She joins us from her home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Kathy, welcome to the program.

BLOCK: Thank you, Michele. It's nice to be here.

NORRIS: Now, tell me about your recipe.

BLOCK: This is tomato pie. It's my favorite recipe from growing up. My mom made it for me, and my granny made it for her. It's a summertime recipe. It uses tomatoes fresh from the garden, Vidalia onions, and generally that's why you have to wait until August to make them because that's when the Vidalias and the tomatoes are ready.

NORRIS: Now, you normally do this in August when you have those beautiful tomatoes that come from the garden, but you happened to do this with store- bought tomatoes. What should you look for?

BLOCK: I bought the nicest, reddest tomatoes I could find. They were hothouse tomatoes still on the vine. They still have a pretty good tomato flavor. You know, nothing beats garden tomatoes, but these came close, I found.

NORRIS: So you used - you actually whipped up one of these this morning.

BLOCK: I did. I had a piece for lunch.


NORRIS: I'm jealous. Now, we haven't - I guess we should get back to the recipe before we talk about lunch because you haven't finished the process. You layer the tomatoes and the onions, and then how do you finish it off?

BLOCK: So you put a layer of tomatoes, fresh basil, salt, pepper, and then a layer of Vidalia onions, thinly sliced. And you napoleon that up and put it all in a biscuit crust. And then what you do - and this is the kicker part - is it's two cups of shredded cheddar cheese with one cup of mayonnaise. And I know that that sounds really vile, but it makes the pie. So you take the shredded cheese, mix it with the mayonnaise.

You have to use your hands. It's like making a meatloaf or hamburgers. It's really gross, but you just have to dig in and get it done. And then you take that mixture, and you squish it on top of the tomatoes like a top pie crust. And the mayonnaise is really what binds the cheese together and gives it a beautiful golden crust at the top when it's finished baking.

NORRIS: Can you do me a favor? Can you describe what it looks like when you reach in and pull it out of the oven?

BLOCK: It's a warm, bubbly, cheesy, brown-golden gooey loveliness.

NORRIS: Gooey loveliness, mmm. We're back to lunch again, aren't we?


BLOCK: We are. It's my favorite dish in the whole world. It's that dish that I asked for on my birthday, growing up.

NORRIS: Well, Kathy Lloyd, thank you very much for sharing your recipe.

BLOCK: Michele, it's just been a treat talking with you today.

NORRIS: You can find Kathy Lloyd's recipe for tomato pie, and you can hear other interviews from our How Low Can You Go budget supper challenge. That's all at our Web site, npr.org.

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