Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes

Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

Although I have been thinking lately of shoes, this post is about the baked sort of cobbler. It being the end of blackberry season, I wanted to share how to make a fine one.

First, get a cow. Milk her, save some and make some butter. Then some soft white wheat. As in berries. Grain. Then get your daughter to grind it for you fresh. And pick some blackberries. Wild ones taste much better than the tame ones -- when they take the thorns out, some of the flavor goes too.

In this photo is a small square cobbler, about 8 inches. Not very big. The big one is made in the long pyrex dish like this. This is the recipe for the small, just double it for the big. If you have any more than four people eating it, or if you want some for tomorrow, make the big one.

Put a blob of butter in the dish and put in the preheating oven for it to melt. With butter, more is nearly always better. I'd estimate I use about, oh, half a stick or so, 4 TBS. When that is melted, put in a generous 2 cups of berries. I do not like runny cobbler so I also add some arrowroot powder -- a couple tablespoons. And some sugar. Maybe half a cup. Stir around a little and distribute evenly.

Then take a cup of the flour (add some rising to this -- a little baking powder [tsp], and a little salt 1/2 tsp]), a little less sugar, and a little less milk -- probably 3/4 cup of the last two. Mix dry ingredients, add milk, stir, pour over prepared berries, put in preheated 350 degree oven. It'll take it most of an hour to bake -- check at 45 minutes.

In the Oven
Originally uploaded by Contrary Goddess.

This recipe is the basic one my mother told me over the phone the first time I ever made this. "Oh, it's easy," she said, "a cup of each thing." I am much more fond of it with whole wheat flour and less sugar. My mom was a really good cook and I appreciate the relaxed attitude toward it that I was able to pick up from her.

When we bake in the summer, we try to make the most of it, as you can see from the second photo. I have a number more food photos over on flickr if you are interested. Zero-miles food we're calling it as we take the photos.

Oh, and note that one day I was doing the usual multi-task kitchen thing when I was making the cobbler and I completely forgot to put the rising in it. And it was still good. Different. But good. It isn't how I'd choose to make it, but I'd eat it again.


Alecto said...

I am for sure going to shoot the deer. If I could get my hands on two cups of raspberries at one time (there are ACRES of bushes) we'd have one fabulous cobbler. The butter though, erm. I know, milk the cow and you can eat the butter. I'm still trying to figure out how to apply that math to programming. hmmm. Question about wheat. I've never grown it and never seen it up close and personal. Is it like corn where you need to grow a good amount to get it going? Or is this something I could experiment with say, a 12 x 12 patch of ground? Another question (I'm just full of them tonight), hard corn. I think I grew up with this out at the drop zone except we called it cow corn and it wasn't much good for eating (we did anyway, raw) but I pretty much remember it being as tall and hardy as sweet corn. Driving back from the banks this year up Route 113 I saw, as we passed through the chicken farms that feed the Purdue and Tyson chicken processing plants, acres and acres of corn that seemed stunted in a way. Way too short for this time of year. Too early to be a bumper crop but have I misrememebered my cow corn?

CG said...

well, so many things! After you pick raspberries for so long, you really do fill up on them and then more go into your container. Or for me, I pick until I get hungry, then I eat.

Wheat (and barley) you can grow in small patches. Even corn doesn't require a LARGE patch, just a square one. We've grown wheat and barley experimentally but not in quantity. Don't bother with oats because they have to be hulled -- not an easy process. But I'll contend that shipping a half ton of wheat once every few years from Montana to here consumes way less energy than, say, driving to the farmer's market every week, even if that is very close to where you live. In fact, I'd maintain that some trade (not total self-sufficiency) is a good thing, and trading dry, high energy and/or light things is best. And a bag of oranges in January I do not see as a bad thing.

We grew wheat from the wheat we grind for bread btw. It is not hard to grow and not hard to process.

Corn. Hard corn is a different thing than sweet corn, although you can eat it immature as roasting ears. The corn you saw is probably a hybrid. Our open pollinated corn is 12 to 15 feet tall right now and setting on ears. Some of the ears will be a foot long. Also, they may be growing silage corn which would be harvested immature anyway and might allow them to double crop.

Southerners, you know, eat a lot of corn bread. That's most of what our hard corn goes for. You can also make hominy, masa, etc from hard corn (and thus tortillas, tamales, etc.).

Another treat, dried sweet corn, in soups in particular in winter. Magnificent.

Hope I didn't miss anything!

Madcap said...

I was looking at your photo and trying to figure out why your cobbler looks so different from the cobblers I remember.... then figured it out. (It's been a while since I've seen one up close.) Up here, we don't use a flour mix, we cover it with oats and brown sugar.

Looks good, either way.

CG said...

Around here that's called a crumble. You can also make a cobbler with a pie/pastry type crust. Although if you are going to the trouble to make a pie crust, why the heck don't you just make a pie? is what I say!

Joe Tornatore said...

you lost me at get a cow.

CG said...

alecto, husband said what you saw growing (probably for Tyson hogs which are big business in NC) was most likely sorghum. Looks like stunted corn.

Ren said...

What CG calls a crumble, we always called a "crip". Crips were different than cobblers in just the way you described Madcap.

I'm wondering if you'll share your wheat source cg? I've been wanting to grind my own since we left P'cola and lost our local source. Everytime I look at the cost of a good grinder I cringe and think about how much garden I can put in for the same price. ugh.

The folks in P'cola had these big buckets of wheat, rice and such and a special tool for opening and sealing said bucket. They said it would last a long time that way....once a year you say? Also, how did you figure out a years worth of wheat? Trial and error I assume?

Ren said...

Oh, and I meant to say that I'm really relieved your blog hasn't disappeared into the ether!! Good to have you back.

Ren said...

Ok, now I feel really silly. I think my "s" button was stuck. ssssssss. There. It's working. ;)

CRISP. It was a CRISP in my world. sheesh.

CG said...

CRISP! That IS it, not crumble.

Look at electric grist mills too -- if you are gonna be on the grid anyway . . . although I want that Diamonte hand cranked grist mill one day. We got an electric one from an aunt and have absolutely used the crisp out of it. We have an ancient blackhawk exactly like our grandparents had that is good but takes a long while (we use it to crack animal corn mostly but you can use it for anything), and we have a Corona, very affordable (cheap) and light and consequently very hard to turn. It is made for making masa from fresh hominy though and it works quite well for that.

Ok, as to wheat. The health barn in JC has a fresh grinder if you want small quantities. I reckon about every coop or store actually buys wheat from Wheat Montana. The cheapest source (by a little anyway) is usually The Good Earth in Abingdon. We have huge numbers of plastic barrels with lockable lids and use those to store. We buy only in bulk bags, not those precious little buckets. Frankly, a while grain keeps quite well without the fancy smancy sell you something that needs a special tool stuff. Anyway . . . just something to keep the mice and bugs out.

If you raise your own, or start seeing bugs in any grain you have (rice seems to be worst), just put it in the freezer for three days, take it out for three days, and put it back in for three days and this will stop the life cycle. We do our hard corn this way before we put it in the barrels to store.

As far as how much we buy, we usually get however much we have money for when we get a really good price on it.

You can also buy local wheat at St. John's Mill -- it is "animal feed" and thus very very cheap. When you can find it. St. John's is a great place if you've never been there. Would be great for a homeschool field trip.

Alecto said...

OK - I am doing this right this second. I got home a little after 7 and NoMans was lighting the grill because we won't have the new range until tomorrow (been a month now). I went out to the garden with Little Girl and saw that the deer had not managed to get to the middle of the raspberry thicket and there were a ton of ripe berries. So in my shorts, t-shirt and suburbia flip flops I climbed into the thicket (yes I really did) and started to gather the berries. Pretty soon I had too many so I sent Little Girl in for a cup. And then another cup and then I had two cups! (eat your heart out, Bambi) and I ran upstairs while the men were trying to deliver the Blue Star range in my very small kitchen and whipped up the ingredients for your cobbler but in two smaller pans. Down the stairs to the grill, melt the butter sans local cow, had to grate in brown sugar because it went hard and I don't have any white (we don't use too much) dump in the raspberries and make the mistake of asking NoMans to locate the arrow root... back up the stairs, dump the spices on the counter, dig in the back, fetch out the arrow root and another spoon. Back downstairs, mix it all up, spoon over the dubious (but I tasted it and I think it's ok) completely unmeasured cobbler mixture with the rising, thank you very much (I OFTEN forget) and shovel it to the back of the grill, slam the lid down and boot up my notebook! THAT was fabulous fun. Thanks for the recipe, CG!

Alecto said...

p.s. one hour later... yum.

Ren said...

I found Wheat Montana online. Very cool! I figured I might order some stuff soon.

The Diamonte is the one I've been eyeing. Then I found this site which has some great stuff: http://www.pleasanthillgrain.com/index.aspx#Nutrimill

So now I'm stuck between the Nutrimill(electric) and the Country Living Grain Mill(non) AND the Diamonte.

I keep thinking non-electric is the way to go. Even if we build the "green" house someday, we'll have some form of electricity. But non-electric means less to power. hmmmmmm....

I dunno.

patsy said...

i found you. i went to flickr ans typed in contary goddess and there you were.