I’m back. And I’m worth waiting for.

September 4, 2013

This. Make this, before summer's over.

This. Make this, before summer’s over.

Yeah, yeah. I know. I’ve been absent. Without leave. On the lam. In the witness protection program (OK, it sounded like it was worth a try.) Moving, ferGawdsake. But I have cooked you a Sweet Baby Jesus dinner, yes I have, no matter you are not here to eat it. And that, my friends, is your fault and not mine.

No, I don’t know why. It’s your fault. Get over it.

In any event, I am Back in the Saddle, or at least within the pasture, and ready to take up this blogging thing again. Because I have cooked a bit, particularly tonight, and you, dear friends, will be the beneficiaries of it, at least vicariously, because? I have RECIPES, friends. Yes, where you can recreate my dishes in your own kitchens. Aren’t you PROUD?


Ummm. Yeah. Wish you were here.

Ummm. Yeah. Wish you were here.

I am still enjoying the bounty of summer, namely, all the fresh veggies I can cram in my face. I have worked my way through the weekend Farmer’s Market bounty of sweet corn and okra and purple hulled peas and green beans. Still to come are the squash, the cucumbers, the cherry tomatoes (which are going to get halved and roasted and put away for winter). Tonight, it was purple hulled peas, leftover corn, and….Tomato Cobbler.

I’d fixed corn (along with zucchini fritters and green beans and fried green tomatoes) for Children A and C over the weekend. We didn’t fool with meat, because, y’know? We didn’t care. It was all about the veggies, with good cornbread.  I had corn left over. So since I’m out of town tomorrow until late Friday, I reheated it today.

Plus, I shelled a mess of purple hulled peas and cooked those, with some bacon. It is a testament to the proper cooking of purple hulled peas that the fat part of the bacon dissolves, and all that’s left are the lean bits which look like nothing so much as tiny pieces of country ham. Thank you, Mr. Pig. Good stuff.

And I snarfed up a recipe that was in The Commercial Appeal this morning, and made me some tomato cobbler.

Tomato cobbler calls for cherry tomatoes. I had those, but they were in the fridge in good shape pending roasting, and I had some small Arkansas Travelers that were about to go south on me. I soaked ’em in some boiling water for a minute, peeled ’em, and chopped ’em up. Added chives, minced garlic (too much garlic, if you ask me, or I ought to have roasted it first, or something; it was too strong and added an almost metallic edge to the dish), some onion powder, some diced green onion (the white parts), some chile powder (ancho). Let that sit and get happy while I melted a half-stick of butter in my eight-inch iron skillet.

Made up a really thin batter of 3/4 cup cornmeal mix and 3/4 cup milk. Poured that in the hot skillet. Spooned the now-juicy tomato mixture on top. And, for good measure, because nothing is harmed by the addition of cheese, added about 3/4 cup of grated Parmigiano.

Baked at 400 for about 20 minutes, until it was a nice brown.

Honey. Do this. And thank me later. But saute’ your garlic first, or use garlic powder or roasted garlic, because you do not want to be using raw garlic like this, because it lends that metallic taste you won’t like. Or I didn’t. But once I got over that, it was a most excellent dish.

Here’s the recipe as it was printed in The CA today:

Savory Tomato Cornbread Cobbler
1 pound mixed-variety sweet cherry tomatoes, halved

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon hot chile powder

¼ teaspoon celery salt

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided use

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

Finely grated zest and juice of ½ lime

¼ cup minced green onion, PLUS 2 tablespoons minced green tops for garnish

½ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup (1 stick) butter

1 cup milk
Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet in the oven; heat to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes and garlic.
In a small bowl, combine the chile powder, celery salt, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and cumin. Sprinkle mixture over the tomatoes. Stir in the lime zest and juice and ¼ cup of the minced green onion; set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, remaining kosher salt and baking powder. Once the skillet is hot, add the butter. Watch closely; when the butter is melted and bubbling, stir the milk into the flour mixture to form a thin, somewhat lumpy batter. Transfer the skillet to the stove top just long enough to pour in the batter, spreading it evenly. Immediately top with the tomato mixture. Return to the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the cobbler is crisped on the edges and has started to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cut into wedges; serve hot or at room temperature, garnished with the minced green onion tops. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Variation: Tomato-Bacon Cobbler. Add 8 slices cooked, crumbled bacon to the tomato mixture just before baking. We cooked the bacon in the same iron skillet we used for baking the cobbler and adjusted the amount of butter to incorporate the bacon drippings into the cobbler.

I did a half-sized version, and ignored the call for lime juice and zest because I didn’t have a lime. And added the Parmigiano. Again, if you’re gonna do it, saute your garlic or use garlic powder. Other’n that, it’s marvelous, and you ought to make it, because? Tomatoes, dummy!

The purple hulled peas were pretty kick-ass, too. I’m just sayin’. There ain’t much that’s better than a purple hulled pea, in mass quantities, cooked slow with some bacon. Y’mama ‘n ’em would agree with me on this.

So I’ll try to catch up on the “Lost Days” and get back in the swing of cooking for y’all. Because, well, I’ve missed you.




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