Tuesday, October 12, 2010

End of a Summer Affair

I think it's finally played itself out and, frankly, it came just in time. Tomato season, delayed as it was, had built up the kind of frustration normally only seen on series TV. Remember Diane and Sam on Cheers? How about Niles and Daphne on Frasier? And, it goes without saying, Next Gen's Picard and Riker. Talk about heat!

But, as with all torrid affairs, the tidal wave of passionate paroxysms passed, leaving piles of fruit still needing attention, if only to rid the kitchen of the fruit flies attracted by the heat of the moment. Even with the freezer filled up with sauce, and some cherry tomatoes dried in the oven, there was a pile of slicers on the counter that were getting dangerously close to composting before my eyes.

That's when I saw a recipe for a tomato cobbler on Mark Bittman's website. (I swear I'm not stalking him. Really.) And, in a sign from the deity if ever there was one, it turned out that the recipe called for exactly the number of tomatoes I had and all of the other ingredients were in the pantry, so no trip to the store was required.

Basically the same concept as a chicken pot pie only using tomatoes, it's a brilliant idea and one that would lend itself to a multitude of fillings and variations on the crust. Which is a nice way to remember a summer romance, don't you think?

Tomato Cobbler
Adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarianby Mark Bittman

For the filling:
3 lbs. tomatoes (8-10 med.), roughly chopped (a combination of colors is gorgeous)
1 c. sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the crust:

1-1 1/2 c. flour, plus more for rolling out dough

1 c. cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, frozen, cut into large pieces
1 egg, beaten

3/4 c. buttermilk or milk
1 c. sharp cheddar, grated, optional
1 c. corn kernels, optional

Preheat the oven to 375˚.

Put the tomatoes and sundried tomatoes (if using) in a 9" by 12" baking dish and sprinkle with the cornstarch and some salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine.

Put the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter or margarine and pulse a few times until the mixture looks like coarse bread crumbs. Add the egg and buttermilk and pulse a few times more, until the mixture comes together in a ball. If the mixture doesn’t come together, add a spoonful or two of flour. If the mixture is too dry, add a few drops of buttermilk.

Turn out dough onto floured board. Mix in cheese and corn (if using) by hand, flattening and shaping into the approximate size of the baking dish. Place on top of tomatoes. You can also drop spoonfuls of the batter on top and smooth a bit with a knife. Bake 45-50 minutes, until golden on top and bubbly underneath. Cool to just barely warm or room temperature. To serve, scoop servings out with a large spoon.


Loo said...

If I may nitpick, wasn't it NILES and Daphne?

Anywho, glad you managed to find a way to use and preserve all those tomatoes! Come February, that sauce is gonna taste like a burst of sun.

Kathleen Bauer said...

I do believe you're right! I knew it was Daphne and someone. And feel free to nitpick any time!

Loo said...

and please, correct my sorry ass anytime! how obnoxious of me, I blush with shame.

Kathleen Bauer said...

No, really, I appreciate the help…Walker and Rosey, while they're great at being cute, leave something to be desired in the fact-checking department.