Green Tomato Pie or “Pied Green Tomatoes”

Final Harvest!

Final Harvest!

With a frost settling in, everyone is scrambling to gather whatever tomatoes are left on the vines.

Faced with a basket of lovely green orbs, here’s what I decided to make with them.

"Pied" Green Tomatoes!Be sure the tomatoes are hard and show no signs of ripening or else they will turn to mush when cooked.

Green Tomato Pie or “Pied” Green Tomatoes

  • 4 cups peeled and cut green tomatoes
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons instant tapioca
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Pie crust for top and bottom crusts

Use a peeler to remove the skin from the tomatoes. Because they are green, the traditional method of blanching them in boiling water, shocking and then peeling does not work. The green tomatoes are hard, like an apple, so peel them as you would apples. No need to remove seeds, as the seeds are hardly developed.

Chop the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Put them into a sauce pot with the lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt; bring to a simmer over low heat.

Chopped Green Tomatoes simmering for pie filling

Chopped Green Tomatoes simmering for pie filling

You will notice a lot of juice being released by the tomatoes. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Stir this mixture often. When you see it come to a boil, add the sugar and simmer for 5-6 minutes. You want the tomatoes to become tender but not mushy.

Add the butter and instant tapioca to the simmering tomato mixture, remove from heat and cool. The tapioca thickens the juices as it cools. You want the mixture to be cool when you put it into the pastry shell.

While the tomato filling is cooling, make your pie dough, roll it out and line your pie tins or tart shells. If using already made (store-bought dough) prepare your pie pans.

Pre-heat your oven to 435°F while you fill the pie shell.

Fill the shells with the cooled tomato filling. Be sure to cut vents into the top crust. Seal the edges of the crust; brush the top with milk and sprinkle with sugar. I like to use raw sugar for the larger crystals.

Green Tomato Pie in the oven

Green Tomato Pie in the oven

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. You may need to add a foil shield around the crust edge to prevent it from getting too brown. Do this only after the edges are browned already, not when you first put the pie into the oven.

Additionally, place the pie on a sheet pan to catch any drips that may bubble out of the pie during baking. The sheet pan is easier to clean than the oven.

Believe it or not, I couldn’t find a single solitary pie tin of any kind in my kitchen! I used to be a pie making queen. Where are they? All I could find is the fluted tart pans. So I had to use them and put a top crust on anyway. I tried a strusel topping but I didn’t care for the flavor combination with the filling. So I suggest you use a top crust.

If you have a bunch of green tomatoes hanging around, try this pie. It tastes like apple pie made with Granny Smith Green Apples, the texture is the same too.

Whip up some whipped cream, add a dash of cinnamon and serve.

I still have a full basket of green tomatoes so next I’ll be making my Dad’s Green Tomato Chow Chow. Watch for the recipe!

In the meantime, make a Green Tomato Pie. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

A delicious Green Tomato Pie

A delicious Green Tomato Pie

Another delicious slice of Green Tomato Pie

Another delicious slice of Green Tomato Pie

Green Tomato Pie

Green Tomato Pie

How to Make Mustard

Learning how to make mustard can be as simple as mixing a few things together or as complicated as soaking a few seeds. It’s not hard at all to make.

Make Your Own Mustard

While there are many different kinds of mustard you can make, this is a kinder gentler mustard, not too pungent.

All it takes is mix the ingredients together, heat until thick, bottle and cool.


Make Basic Mustard

  • 1/2 cup dry mustard powder, Coleman’s is my favorite.
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark doesn’t matter
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (non-iodized)
  • 1/2 cup good quality white wine vinegar

Measure and mix everything in a heat-resistant bowl until a thin smooth paste forms.

Place the bowl over a pot of boiling water to make a double boiler, heat the mixture until it becomes thick. As the mustard thickens, whisk so it remains smooth.

Use a silicone spatula to get all the mustard in to a clean glass jar.

Allow to cool, cover, label and store.The mustard needs to sit for at least 2 hours before serving. The mustard will also “mellow” as it ages in the refrigerator.

Homemade Ketchup, Mustard and Relish

Homemade Ketchup, Mustard and Relish

I haven’t had a jar around long enough to tell you how long it lasts.

Use it as you would any mustard but be warned, it will spoil you from buying  processed store-bought mustard.

Dip a tasty sausage into mustard!

Dip a tasty sausage into mustard!

Decorate your hot dog the homemade mustard

Decorate your hot dog the homemade mustard

More mustard recipes coming soon such as whole grain mustard, Dijon style, champagne honey, and pear/apple mostarda.

Learning how to make mustard is an easy thing to do to reduce your consumption of processed foods.

Basic Mustard

Basic Mustard – Got a Pretzel?

Charlotte Cooks Wins a Telly Award!

We won a Telly Award for our Shrimp Creole show!

While I can’t post the video yet, here is the recipe for the dish. I hope they release the video soon on You Tube. I think it is circulating now on the channel so I’m guessing when they air a new show this one will become available. When it does, I’ll update this post to include the video.

Until then, enjoy making this recipe which also features Raw Kale Salad.

Creole inspired by NOLA cuisine.

NOLA Style Shrimp Creole

  • 2 pounds Peeled and De-veined Shrimp, save shells to make Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 3 Tablespoons All- purpose flour
  • 1 Large Onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Ribs Celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small Green Pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 2-1/2 Cups Very Ripe Fresh Tomatoes, Diced
  • 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Cups Shrimp Stock
  • 2 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Cayenne to taste
  • Kosher Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon White Pepper
  • 1 bunch Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoon Tabasco or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Green Onions, green tops thinly sliced, white part sliced into 1/4″ thickness
  • 2 Tablespoons Flat Leaf Parsley, minced

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan with the vegetable oil over medium high heat.

Add the flour and stir so it looks like wet sand on the beach.

When the butter begins to froth add 1/2 cup of the onions. Cook until the onions are golden brown.

Add the remaining onions, celery, and bell pepper.

Reduce the heat to medium and season with 1 Tablespoon Creole Seasoning and a healthy pinch of salt.

Sweat the vegetables until soft.

Add the tomato paste mixing well, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste begins to brown, add the fresh tomatoes. Stir well.

When the tomatoes start to break down into liquid add the white wine, bring to a boil and boil for 1-2 minutes.

Add the Shrimp Stock, remaining Creole seasoning, garlic, bay leaves, black pepper, white pepper, cayenne (to taste), and thyme.

Bring to a boil then reduce to a low simmer.

Simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire, and adjust seasonings.

Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the shrimp.

The key is to not  to over cook your shrimp. Let them slowly simmer in the sauce until just cooked through.

If you boil them, they get tough so just simmer gently. They cook quickly!

Serve with boiled rice and garnish with the remaining green onions and parsley.

Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

I hope you join us in WTVI-PBS Charlotte Thursday evenings at 8:30 to see our new shows.

As always, thanks for watching Charlotte Cooks!


Salt is one of the most used seasonings in the world, yet most people don’t even realize there are many kinds of salt.

The salt most people are familiar with is the simple table salt. Finely ground, iodine added, it is meant to be used as a table seasoning, not for cooking. The iodine adds a bitter flavor that most recipes don’t need. This salt is commonly mined from the ground.

We will leave the concept of table salt behind for this discussion.

My favorite salt for finishing dishes is French Fleur de Sel from the coast of Brittany. It adds a delightful crunch to anything from crisp fresh radishes to scallions and baked potatoes. Various SaltsIts appearance is slightly off pure white and has the appearance of being slightly damp. Being a damp salt, it does not dissolve as quickly as a drier salt would. This is why it is used as a finishing salt. The irregular size of the crystals contributes to different melting times thereby lending a salting flavor on many different levels.

The Fleur de Sel forms when the wind blows across the coast of Brittany where workers hand collect the salt formation off of the top before it sinks into the collecting pans below. Being a hand collected salt, Fleur de Sel is one of the most expensive salts, but well worth it. The absolute best comes from towns of Guérande (Fleur de Sel de Guérande)

Here’s a link by one of the worlds foremost experts on salt, Mark Bitterman. He has authored  “Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, with Recipes” available on Amazon.

Face it, you won’t be salting your pasta water with Fleur de Sel so go ahead and splurge on some. Personally, I like to sprinkle the top of chocolate chip cookies with Fleur de Sel before they go into the oven. As my hair stylist would say,”OMG!”.

French grey salt is similar to Fleur de Sel and is used the same way. It gets the grey from being harvested deeper than just the very top like Fleur de Sel. Still on the pricy side, but should not cost quite as much as Fleur de Sel.

Sea salts are ocean sourced and are dried. You can find crystal sizes from coarse to fine. As an inexpensive salt, it can be used in any application.

Mined salts are cut from the earth. One of the largest salt mines is in Pakistan. From this mine you find Himalayan rock salt which is pink in color from the iron oxide content. Shades vary from light pink to dark reddish hues. Being very hard, the salt can be found shaped into trays, platters, bowls, cooking slabs, lamps, and candle holders in addition to being finely ground for kitchen use.

Himalayan salt

You can use the smaller fragments in a salt grinder just as you would a pepper grinder or use a rasp like a nutmeg rasp or a micro-plane.

I like this salt on popcorn.

Serving food on the slabs is quite interesting. The moist foods will become lightly salted and dry foods do not pick up salt flavors at all.

Salt is not fat soluble so if you oil the slab or serve fatty foods on it they will not pick up large amounts of salt thereby over-salting the food.

If using the slabs for cooking, the slab must get to 600 degrees Fahrenheit so the juices evaporate rather than hanging around melting the salt slab and over-salting the food. Heat the slab slowly. The salt slab will become translucent as it heats.

Salt bowls? I’m thinking ice cream!

If you use a smoker, wrap some coarse crystals of sea salt in multiple layers of cheese cloth or muslin and place it in the smoker. You will get a greyish smoked salt as a result. The trace of smoke flavor is really nice on a piece of fish.

The intention of this post is to simply increase your awareness of salt. If you explore the subject, you will find there are some amazing salt products out there. Try some.

Expanding your salt repertoire can be fun.

Keep your special salts for finishing dishes.

Kosher salt is the staple salt I keep in the kitchen. Great for pasta water, and general all around seasoning. It’s not expensive and available everywhere.

Use this salt to create your own seasoning salts.

Seasoning Salts

Combine herbs, spices, garlic, onion to create your own special blend.

Use a knife or a spice grinder to finely chop the herbs and flavorings you choose. Combine the mix with kosher salt; stir so it gets all mixed up.

Store in glass jars or plastic containers. Use it for finishing vegetables, pasta, potatoes, to season whatever you cook instead of plain salt.

Typically, kosher salt as that is what I have on hand. However you can use whatever kind of salt you want- just don’t use iodized table salt.

If you have health concerns and don’t use salt, get in the habit of using herbs, spices and citrus zest to enhance the flavors of your food. More about that in another post.

Explore something new, have fun and happy cooking!

Chef Pamela