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Friday, November 14, 2003

Vegetable Cobbler 

I got distracted this morning with the cesarean stuff and forgot to blog about the vegetable cobbler I made last night. The recipe came from the October 2001 issue of Southern Living; my mother is going through her old magazines and cutting out things that look interesting before throwing them away, and she thought I'd like this recipe. She was pretty much on target. Goggling things, I found a copy of the recipe on Emeril's website.

The dish wasn't too complicated; if just took a bit of time to prep everything.

I started with slicing/chopping up all the vegetables (1 small onion, sliced; 2 medium leeks, sliced; 2 carrots, chopped; 4 small red potatoes, cubed; 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped; 3 tablespoons parsley, minced) and mixing up 1 cup vegetable broth with 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 2 teaspoons flour, and a half teaspoon of salt. Then I prepared the cornbread topping: combining flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, baking soda, butter, buttermilk, and honey. (The amounts and methodologies are on the link). It was then just a matter of cooking the vegetables in order, putting it into a casserole dish, plopping on the cornbread mixture and baking for about a half hour.

We both liked it, but something was missing. Evelin thought a touch of mace would contrast with the spinach; I thought maybe some peas, but they would probably overcook. Plus, as Evelin pointed out, a spring vegetable like peas would distract from the autumnal nature of the dish. Oh well, I'll keep the recipe on hand to try again ... maybe with a little mace or nutmeg or ... something.

One cool thing about this dish was it gave me an excuse to dig up some carrots. We planted the seeds for these things back in April or May, but they were planted in a raised bed that was filled with less-than-great soil from Home Depot (as opposed to the good Canadian organic soil that filled all the other beds) and that bed seemed to really hold on to the water when it rained (and it rained a lot this year). Each time we've pulled one up, it's been a scraggly little thing that probably would lose a fight to a supermarket baby carrot. This time, however, amidst the scrawny little guys, I found a real, full-size carrot. It was of decent length and diameter and it tasted quite good. Hopefully, we'll find a few more lurking in there over the next few months. Actually, I'm not sure how late we can leave them in the ground; probably we should make sure they're harvested before the ground freezes at the very latest.

Looking in the Shorter OED, cobbler is listed as "origin unknown," but its use to describe a deep-dish fruit pie with a thick crust dates to the mid 19th Century United States. Linda Stradley has a short history and lore of cobblers and related sorts of dishes.

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