Friday, August 15, 2008

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler and My Face: United in Love

I don’t like to mess with recipes. Part of that comes from a lack of confidence in my cooking abilities, and part of it comes from too many experiences like this:

ME: Hm. It says here that there should be one cup of sugar in this cake. I’m out of sugar, so how about … rock salt! Yes! Rock salt! That’s it. It’s crystalline and white and about the same size. Nobody will notice.

(Cut to an hour later. My friends are strewn comatose across the living room furniture, pale and clinging to life.)

FRIEND (whispering faintly): Birthday cake … supposed to herald … year to come. Instead … brings only … pain. Please take me … sweet release … of death …

ME: Hm. I don’t think I did that right.

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler (found at Cooking Light, or with a slight variation at Closet Cooking) was a pleasant surprise, then. I didn’t substitute any ingredients, but DID use alternate preparation methods, both of which succeeded in spades (if I do say so myself).

(And I do.)

First, CL asks for a pastry blender or two knives for step 4, but I figured a single fork would do the job just as well. Using medium pressure, I pressed the tines through the dough, rotated the bowl, and repeated. In about 3 minutes, I had the requested coarse meal consistency.

Second, for the biscuits, the recipe says to flour a small surface, knead the dough, roll it out, and carve 16 uniformly-rounded pieces from the ¼” mat. Alas, I didn’t have a biscuit cutter, or the patience for all those extra steps. Instead, using two teaspoons, I dropped 16 similar-sized glops all over the top of the cooked fruit. It worked perfectly, and gave a neato, semi-spiky look to the cobbler when all was said and done. I was pleased, yo.

Four servings and two days later, I’m thoroughly happy I didn’t mess with the ingredients, because hot, cold – whatever - this stuff is farging DELICIOUS. Someone, somewhere had once mentioned that peaches and blueberries complimented each other like gangbusters. And man, she wasn’t kidding. Together, they form a single, bluish superfruit that strawberry-banana combos can only envy from afar.

Of course, if you’re not into cobbler, I highly suggest Leigh’s Oatmeal Peach Betty from yesterday OR Maple Walnut Apple Crisp from last October. They're frugal, healthy, and tasty as all get out - with or without vanilla ice cream.

Oh – as always with Cooking Light recipes, they provided the nutrition information, so only the price is calculated below.

Peach-Blueberry Cobbler
8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup cobbler and 2 biscuits)
Adapted from Cooking Light.

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups coarsely chopped peeled peaches (about 3 large – Kris)
2 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chilled stick margarine or butter, cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk

1) Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat an 8x8 baking dish (glass if possible) with cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, lemon rind, and cinnamon. Add peaches, blueberries, lemon juice, and vanilla. Toss very gently, so peaches stay in good shape. Pour contents of bowl into baking dish. Bake 15 minutes.

3) In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add margarine. Using a pastry blender, 2 knives, or a fork, mash ingredients together until mixture looks like big crumbs.  Add buttermilk. Stir everything until just barely moistened.

4) Using two teaspoons, drop 16 similar-sized glops of buttermilk mixture all over the top of the cooked fruit. Bake until topping is golden brown, about 20 more minutes. If you have mint lying around, it makes a good garnish. If not, no worries.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per Serving
212 Calories, 3.5g fat, $0.69

1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons sugar: $0.22
1 tablespoon cornstarch: $0.03
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind + 1 tablespoon lemon juice: $0.66
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon: $0.01
3 cups coarsely chopped peeled peaches: $2.42
2 cups blueberries: $1.66
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract: $0.06
Cooking spray: $0.05
1 cup all-purpose flour: $0.09
3/4 teaspoon baking powder: $0.02
1/8 teaspoon baking soda: $0.01
1/4 teaspoon salt: $0.01
2 tablespoons butter: $0.12
6 tablespoons low-fat buttermilk: $0.19
TOTAL: $5.55


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