Friday, August 11, 2017

Goodbye Blackberries. Welcome Corn

One of my summer fruit dessert goals was a blackberry dessert.  Unfortunately, blackberries were arriving sooner than I expected and peaked while I was on vacation and unable to bake.  The week I returned from vacation was too full of appointments to squeeze in any baking time.  I worried I would not be able to find any blackberries at my next trip to the farmers' market.  I had been looking forward to making that blackberry cobbler and I might not realize that dream this summer (unless I wanted to do a supermarket cheat - and that would defeat the purpose of baking with local seasonal fruits).

Fortunately there were still blackberries at the farmers' market this week.  There were still raspberries too.  I was shocked to see one vendor still had strawberries. I'm not sure if these fruits are not truly local or if there is some kind of fruit voodoo going on in these farms.  Either way, I decided to buy some and do my best to convince myself I was getting fresh, local, berries.

So this week there was cobbler.

This was another effortless recipe.  I used my basic drop biscuit recipe that comes together easily in the food processor.  The berries were tossed with sugar and cornstarch and flavored with a touch of lime.  Then into the oven it went,.

While berries are beginning to disappear, other summer specialties are still in abundance.  Good tomatoes are arriving.  Peaches are making an appearance.  Best of all corn is here.  I love summer corn.  I can't get enough of it.  I want to cook it a hundred times before the season ends.  I want corn, corn, and more corn all summer long.

I wanted my first corn recipe of the summer to be a main course.  Corn wasn't just a side dish.  I wanted it to be the starring player.  I came up with the idea of corn gazpacho.  It would be an easy weekend recipe that would only require cooking up the corn and then blending a bunch of ingredients together.  Seemingly effortless.

I looked at a few corn gazpacho recipes for inspiration.  I took my main inspiration from Spoon Fork Bacon that suggests using white beans rather than bread as a thickener.  That sounded much more virtuous - lots of fiber and more nutrients.  My outside inspiration stopped there.  Most chilled corn soup recipes have a Mexican flare to them with chili peppers and lime.  I wanted to use up the bumper crop of mint I have on my balcony this summer.  I made mine with garlic, mint, and lemon.

I used too much garlic and not enough liquid.  I know the recipe would have been better with more corn (I used 3 ears), more veggie stock (I used a half a cup), and less garlic (I used three cloves).  My recipe below is what the recipe should have been and not what it was.  As with every recipe I provide, if you feel it should be adjusted more, feel free to experiment.

Corn Gazpacho

  • Kernels cut off of 4 cooked ears of corn
  • 1 15 oz. can white beans
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 good handful fresh mint leaves
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.  Serve chilled and garnished with corn and fresh mint leaves if desired.

My cobbler recipe has a high crust:berry ratio.  It's almost more of an upside-down shortcake.  This is on purpose.  I wanted lots of crust to absorb the juice.  Also, most people really love crust - even if they won't admit it.

Blackberry Cobbler

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbl sugar
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1 stick of cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbl cornstarch
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together berries, sugar, juice zest and cornstarch in baking dish.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, mix the dry ingredients together.  Add the butter and pulse until the butter and flour are integrated and the mixture looks like crumbs.  Put the dough in a bowl and gentle stir in the milk.

Drop spoonfuls of biscuit dough over the berries in the dish until they are mostly covered.  Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden.