Flipping through the “Midsummer” section of my Simply Organic cookbook (I really need to rotate my preferred cookbooks more, but this one’s just so great for seasonal produce), I stumbled across a recipe for Deep-Dish Summer Vegetable Cobbler. I had farmers’ market zucchini, yellow squash, Japanese eggplant, bell peppers and green beans all waiting to be used. The recipe called simply for “3 cups cooked vegetables”–perfect!
The great thing about this cobbler is that any number or variety of vegetables can be used in it–call it a ‘throw in whatever you’ve got‘ kind of recipe. Hence, this turned out to be a great way to use up some of the veggies that had been sitting around in my refrigerator for just a little too long. I was very impressed with the result–a veggie pot pie filled with summery goodness, topped with a fluffy biscuit “crust” boasting just a hint of cheddar. Leftovers heated up well in the oven, too (have I mentioned I don’t have a microwave?)–which was good, since this definitely lasted several meals.
On a personal note (I’ll be quick, I know you’re all so antsy to get to the recipe), I have officially scheduled a date for my Registration Examination for Dietitians:September 18. I have to admit, I am very nervous, as much as I know I shouldn’t be. I have worked my way once through Jean Inman’s review course and am currently in the process of studying each topic in detail. It is a bit overwhelming to study everything you have learned in the past FIVE YEARS at once–needless to say, I’ll be happy when it’s done!
Summer Veggie Cobbler
Adapted from Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool. Below is the recipe with the changes I made — substituting low-fat cheese, changing some of the herbs, spices and veggies, and using soy milk. To make this a vegan recipe, simply remove the cheese — I don’t think you will be missing much.
1 1/2 Cups all purpose flour
1/4 Cup cornmeal
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 Cup chopped fresh herbs (You can use just parsley, or a combination. I used basil, rosemary and sage because that’s what I had!)
4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 Cup shredded, low-fat cheddar cheese
1 Cup plain soy milk
1 tsp vinegar
4 Tbsp Smart Balance or similar
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp minced yellow onion or shallot
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup plain soy milk (You can use regular nonfat milk if you like)
3 Cups cooked vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces* (I used zucchini, squash, Japanese eggplant, mushrooms, green and orange bell peppers and green beans)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
Dash nutmeg or mace
Dash cayenne pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (I cut back some of the cheddar and added a bit of Parmesan)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a measuring cup, combine 1 cup soy milk (or milk) with 1 tsp vinegar. Set aside. This is called “sour milk” — it is a useful substitute for buttermilk which I use often, since it is very rare for me to have buttermilk in the house. You could also use 1 cup buttermilk or plain nonfat yogurt.
2. Make the biscuit-like topping: You can do this in a bowl, but I decided to make use of my lovely Cuisinart food processor. Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, cayenne and herbs–pulse to combine. Add the butter and cheese; pulse until crumbs form. Add the sour milk and pulse just until blended. Set this in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Putting the crust together
*3. Cooking the veggies: To make my veggies nice and cooked for use in the filling, I simply combined the cut up vegetables with a little bit of olive oil in my dutch oven (covered), and placed over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until ‘al dente.’
4. Make a gravy: In a medium saucepan, melt the Smart Balance over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion; cook until sizzling and fragrant. Add the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. (Note: This combination of fat and flour is called a Roux. It is your basic thickener for many types of sauces and soups.) Gradually add the broth and soy milk, whisking continuously. Simmer lightly until slightly thickened; add the sage, nutmeg, cayenne. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Put it all together: Fold the cooked vegetables into the gravy. Pour into a lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Drop “crust” batter over filling evenly in spoonfuls.
Almost ready to bake!
6. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.