Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Not Like the Other Ones: Heirloom Tomato Cobbler with Parmesan Biscuit Crust

This is a great time of year for fruit cobblers, crisps and crumbles. Nothing beats that warm, bubbling fruit, flaky, buttery topping and a creamy scoop of vanilla...

Wait a minute: what if there were something else? Something more savory, some other kind of fruit? It didn't take me long to make the connection, and here's the result!

tomato parmesan biscuit cobbler

Heirloom Tomato Cobbler with Parmesan Biscuit Crust

2 lbs. heirloom tomatoes (about 5-6 medium)
1/2 teaspoon thyme or oregano (fresh or dried)
Sprinkle of salt

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely shredded or ground parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease an 8-inch square or similar capacity baking pan. Core and slice tomatoes into wedges, lining bottom of pan and overlapping as needed. Sprinkle tomatoes with a bit of salt and the thyme/oregano.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, cheese, baking powder and salt. Grind in pepper as desired. With a pastry blender, cut butter into dry ingredients until it reaches the texture of coarse crumbs. Add milk and stir together with a fork until just combined. Gently knead the dough against the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate any remaining bits (it may seem dry at first). On a floured surface, roll or pat dough out to size and shape needed and place over tomatoes, leaving a bit of margin for juices to bubble up around the edges. Cut a steam vent in the center as well. Bake cobbler for 35-40 minutes until crust is golden and tomatoes are completely soft and juicy. Let cool slightly and serve!

Notes: The crust is adapted from the Basic Cobbler Biscuit Dough in Joy of Cooking (Seventh Edition), for use with traditional sweet fruit cobblers. For this cobbler, try experimenting with different cheeses and herbs to your taste. Instead of fresh tomatoes, use leftover sautéed or grilled veggies for the filling. The raw dough can also be cut into squares or other shapes before placing on the filling for a slightly less "rustic" presentation :-)


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A New Season

I love watching the seasons change, and the start of Fall is no exception. The days are perfectly mild, the nights are crisp, and the sky seems endlessly blue. There are fairs and festivals of all kinds, and farmers' markets offer you the bounty of the end of Summer coupled with the first harvests of Autumn. It's a soothing and reinvigorating respite before the harsh cold of Winter.

Of course, there are drawbacks as well: the days are increasingly shorter, your heat-loving plants are starting to fade, and there is a gratuitous use of pumpkin in everything from cookies to beer. But there is plenty of opportunity here, too. Greens and peas can have another go in the garden, mums and asters can adorn your front porch, and a good blaze in the fire pit will keep all but the worst evening chill away. Take your friends and family through a corn maze, pick your own apples at an orchard, or simply take a drive when you notice the leaves starting to turn. And yes, eat and drink as many things with pumpkin in it as you possibly can ;-)

But most of all, enjoy!


autumn squash farm market
The markets are ready for Fall.