In my home growing up, and in my home today, the kitchen is the true epicentre. After school, when my shoes were kicked off and that weighed down back pack released me from its grips the kitchen is the first place that I would run to and say hello to Mom and grab a drink and catch up on the day’s news. Today, I find that when I have guests we just naturally migrate to the kitchen, make snacks pour a glass of wine and forget that there is a perfectly good couch awaiting us as we stand for hours at the counters laughing, talking and sharing.

The kitchen used to be just a working space to cook in, but over the generations it has morphed into what we know now is the heart of the home. Entertaining over cocktails, long chats with mugs of tea at the kitchen table with old friends, the place everyone gathers to feel the love and congeniality we all want in our homes. Decorating and gift trends are all leaning right now to that throw back time of what was our Mother’s or Grandmother’s kitchen used to look like. Retro plates, green glass tumblers, crockery bowls for pie making. Kitchens have become so important to people that often when they are buying a home they will check out the kitchen first to see if fits with their lifestyle – and if not, no deal. The sale of appliances, kitchen gadgets, design trends are skyrocketing.  Sealing the deal that this trend, both in design and home buying, is going to be here to stay for some time.

Have you thought about how you use your kitchen; does it fit the form and function of the space and your family? Upgrading, or simply changing out a few items can make a great impact. Adding new hardware can perk up a still lovely but dated kitchen, a colour change on the walls or adding an interesting back-splash can change the mood of the room altogether. And new counter tops, and floors – well, now we are talking. Whether you need a big renovation, or simply a few new bright kitchen towels, or a red pottery pie plate that speaks to you – your kitchen should be personal and be a place you want to be. Nourishing both our souls and our bellies, for as we all know – we need to take good care of our ‘hearts.’

In honour of the kitchen and a reason to seek out a great pie plate that inspires you, here is one of my favorite simple summer recipes. Used it so many times I don’t even read the recipe anymore. Thank you Chef Sarah Moulton via the Food Network website!

Tomato Pie

As this pie only has a few ingredients, take care to pick the very best you can. Make this gem in the months where tomatoes are lush and plentiful and you can’t go wrong….the picture is the one I made the other nights – delicious, a real winner.

1 (9-inch) frozen pie shell, thawed
3 large tomatoes, about 1 1/2 pounds, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
Kosher salt, for sprinkling
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Additional kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the shell with foil and fill with pie weights, dried beans, or rice. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and foil. Return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes more or until light golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Turn up the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes. Spread the mustard over the bottom of the shell and sprinkle the cheese over it. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in 1 overlapping layer. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are very soft, 35 to 40 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the parsley, thyme, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste to blend. Sprinkle the pie with this mixture while hot and spread out gently with the back of a spoon. Serve the pie hot or at room temperature.