Thursday, September 10, 2009

Back with J and J and tomato cobbler

Greetings! Life has been busy, but I'm back with lots of inspiration from having seen Julie & Julia last night. I completely identified with Julie: her job frustrations, her discontentment over getting insufficient validation as a writer, her self-absorbed quest for meaning in her life, and most of all, her great romance with food. Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I'm now looking for a vegetarian equivalent to Julie's journey, cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, blogging all the while. To me, there's nothing like being completely consumed by a project, losing track of time while taking in every single aspect of it. If you have any suggestions for a J&J-type project, send them along.

Today, I'm sharing a recipe I almost didn't try, which would have been a shame because it's possibly the best thing I've eaten during the Summer '09 harvest. It's a savory tomato cobbler. The dish looks a lot like its fruit-cobbler cousins, but tastes like a compote of sweet tomatoes and basil with a biscuit on the side.

My husband and I ate it as a main dish with freshly picked green beans on the side. It would also be a pot luck show stopper. It's easy to make and, who knows, it could become your signature dish.

The recipe comes from The Full Belly Beet, the newsletter of Full Belly Farm's community sponsored agriculture project in Guinda, California.

Savory Tomato Cobbler

3 c fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 c chopped basil (I used 1/2c pesto)
2 tsp sugar
Dash tabasco
1/2 T balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

1 T flour
1 c flour
1 c cornmeal
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick chilled butter, cubed
1 1/2 c gruyere cheese, grated (I used regular Swiss)
1/4 c water
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 c chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Saute onions and garlic in butter and let cool.

Mix tomatoes with 2 T flour, sugar, salt, pepper, vinegar, basil, and tabasco. Add onion and garlic mixture, stirring well. Transfer to a casserole dish.

In a large bowl, mix flour, cornmeal, and baking powder. Add butter and cut with a pastry cutter until you get a coarse meal. (I pulsed them in my food processor until I achieved that coarse meal look.) Add water and pulse until mixed, as drop-biscuit dough. Add more water if necessary. Fold in cheese and parsley.

Spoon topping over tomato mixture.

Bake 40 minutes or until crust is brown. Sprinkle parsley on top. Let cool before serving so that tomato juice settles.

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