Be Inspired” Seasonally with Rita Calvert

When I saw found this recipe on a food conglomerate, The Kitchen, I couldn’t wait for a special event to try it. Now that the Labor Day holiday is upon us, it’s perfect for harvesting all of those cherry or grape tomatoes and Sungolds to bury under the rich cheesy biscuits. If you really want simplicity use a biscuit mix which is safe-without a lot of chemicals and add the cheese to that.IMG_0122

And it's not just food for Labor Day that you'll find here, but drinks as well! The patriotic blueberry-raspberry drink calls for a good slug of vinegar which adds a refreshing piquancy. Add more water if it suits your taste.

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Tomato Cobbler with Cornmeal-Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits

Serves 6 to 8

  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), washed and stemmed
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup red wine (or 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

For the biscuits:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
  • 3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk, plus extra to brush.

Heat the oven to 375°F with a rack placed in the middle of the oven.

Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch cast-iron or high-sided stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When warm, add the onions and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onions are very soft and tender, at least 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and cook 60 seconds. Pour in the wine (or balsamic) and cook until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir in the flour and cook until the flour is paste-like. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and 1 teaspoon of salt, carefully stirring and folding until the onions are evenly mixed with the tomatoes.

 To prepare the biscuits, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Cut the cold butter into chunks and scatter it over the flour. Pulse a few times until the butter has been cut into pea-sized pieces.

Transfer the flour-and-butter mixture to a bowl and stir in 1 cup of the cheddar (reserve the other 1/2 cup for sprinkling over the top). Form a well in the middle and pour in 3/4 cup of buttermilk for firmer biscuits, or 1 cup of buttermilk for looser biscuits. Use a spatula to gently stir the buttermilk into the flour; continue stirring until all the buttermilk has been incorporated and no more dry flour remains. 

Drop the dough over the tomatoes, making 7 to 8 biscuits. Brush the biscuits with a little buttermilk. Place the pan on a baking sheet to catch drips, and then transfer to the oven.

Cook for 55 to 60 minutes, until the tomatoes are very bubbly and the tops of the biscuits are nicely browned. About 10 minutes before the end of baking, sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar.

Remove from the oven and let the cobbler rest for at least 15 minutes before eating. Leftovers will keep for about a week.

Recipe Notes

  • This recipe can also be cooked in a 13x9-inch baking dish or other 3 quart baking dish. Prepare the tomato mixture in a skillet on the stovetop, then transfer to the baking dish, top with the biscuits, and bake until bubbly.

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Blueberry-Raspberry Shrub

Makes enough syrup for 6 to 8 glasses of soda

A cool drink straight from your berry bushes. When you replace the water in the simple syrup with vinegar, preferably organic apple-cider vinegar, you've created a shrub, a bracing and very refreshing early-American treat.

  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • ½-1 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries
  • 1 cup organic cider vinegar

Add the fruit, ½ cup sugar, and vinegar to a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until the fruit is soft and the sugar is dissolved. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar as needed, stirring to dissolve. Remove from heat.

When the liquid is cool, mash or puree the fruit in the syrup and strain into a jar. Discard the solids.

To make one glass of shrub, stir 3 tablespoons of syrup into 8 ounces of cold carbonated water. The syrup will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.

Photograph by Mitch Mandel      Originally published in Organic Gardening magazine, April/May 2013

 

 

 

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