Archive | Garden RSS feed for this section

Heirloom Tomato Cobbler with Cheddar and Scallion Biscuit Topping

6 Oct

As if the very name of this dish wasn’t already completely unromantic and slightly clunky, let’s just go ahead and examine its most glaringly obvious head-scratching component: it’s a cobbler made of tomatoes.

I know it seems unlikely, but let me assure you, it works.  Juicy heirloom tomatoes made even more flavorful with a handful of basil and some quality time spent in a hot oven.  Soft and comforting biscuits with pleasantly crunchy tops and bursts of savory sharp cheddar enveloped within.  Put these two elements together and you’ve got nothing less than magic, I tell you.

And before you say it, allow me to tackle the next seemingly problematic tidbit about this dish: heirloom tomatoes in October?  Yes.  You can get heirloom tomatoes in October, and, thankfully, they are just the type of heirloom tomatoes you will want.  This dish does not require pretty, unblemished tomatoes, but rather calls out for those tomatoes you would like to chop up and maybe even hide a little before you eat them.

You don’t need beauty pageant tomatoes for this dish, you just need ripe, fleshy tomatoes that are bursting with flavor and willing to be cooked.  That, to me, is the very essence of the October heirloom tomato.  Summer heirloom tomatoes are for slicing and displaying atop a wonderful savory biscuit.  October heirloom tomatoes are for chopping and nestling beneath some biscuits.  It’s all so very convenient, I think.

Heirloom Tomato Cobbler with Cheddar and Scallion Biscuit Topping

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, cut into 1-inch to 1/2-inch chunks

¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves

salt and pepper

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks

¾ cup cold buttermilk or soured milk

¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 large or 2 small scallions, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons total)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place chopped tomatoes and basil in an 8-inch square glass baking dish.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then toss gently to combine.

In a large bowl or in the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk or pulse to combine.  Scatter butter over the top of the flour, then cut into the mixture using a pastry cutter, or by pulsing 6 or 7 times in the food processor.  The mixture should resemble coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.  Gently stir in the buttermilk, or add through the feeding tube of the food processor while intermittently pulsing to combine.  Add the cheese and scallions and gently stir to combine, or sprinkle the cheese and scallions over the top of the mixture in the food processor and then briefly pulse just 2 or 3 times to combine.

Drop the biscuit mixture over the tomatoes, about ¼ cup per scoop.  You will end up with 9 biscuits total, 3 across and 3 down.

Bake the cobbler in the center of the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the tops of the biscuits are deeply golden and the tomatoes are rapidly bubbling.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

The Kitchen Garden

31 May




It would be no exaggeration to admit that we bought our house because of the size of the yard.  The average size of a residential lot in the close-in neighborhoods of Portland is around 5000 square feet.  The lot of our last house was only 2000 square feet, which meant that one could do little more outside than just sit and read, or perhaps sit and fantasize about what life would be like with a more spacious yard.  In this miniscule yard I had a very tidy little vegetable garden where I grew tomatoes, herbs, squash, and peppers.  Everything fit into two small raised beds that we built out of lengths of cedar fencing.



Our current house sits on a lot that is over three times as large as that of our last house.  We have space for our kid to run around and play, we have trees, and we, finally, have room for the type of kitchen garden that I’ve always thought would fit wonderfully in a family yard.  Meaning, a vegetable and fruit garden that would sit comfortably and seamlessly in a yard that was also suitable for playing, exploring, and relaxing.  If we can grow cucumbers ten feet from where we can also play baseball, we’re as happy as can be.



Being modest gardeners, we are not the type of people who plan ahead in the spring for autumn canning.  We eat everything that we grow, but we also make an effort to not grow more than we can eat.  We happily harvest and preserve all the garden produce we can, but we are very conscious of not going overboard and growing so much food that we run out of places to store it.  We’re a small family to feed, so we’ve always known that ripping out an entire quarter of our yard for a vegetable garden would make no sense for the way we live.  As time goes on and the play space in our yard evolves, I am sure that our garden will change along with it.

Purple Basil

Genovese Basil

It’s been a cold and sad May this year, and I don’t really know what type of weather June will bring us.  Our garden thus far is hanging on, but certain things are looking a little worse for the wear  That lovely bright green basil that you see in the previous picture from two weeks ago?  Yeah, it now looks like this:

Basil in Distress

To say that I am feeling unhappy about this would woefully understate the intensity of my displeasure.

I am curious about the gardening exploits of other people out there.  Does anybody have great garden plans?  Has your spring been as punishingly cold and wet as ours?  How is your garden faring thus far?

Vegetable Garden

%d bloggers like this: