Monday, August 18, 2008

Cobbler n' Clams (diary of a day of glutteny)

This will be a long post where you will begin to wonder if I am in training to be an olympic swimmer.

Yesterday, I ventured Northward to Ye Olde Towne of Everett to visit my sister Brooke (and author of the revamped blog brookielizabeth, formerly The Diet Cronichles. She realized that blogging about dieting is totally f'ing boring). I am always happy to visit Everett and all of it's charm- but on this day, I had an alterior motive.

That tiny little creature is Brooke and CK's latest addition to the militia of cats they are forming. Baby Grendel is just 4 weeks old. Brooke and CK rescued her a little more than a week ago, because a teensy tiny kitten found clinging to life in the woods and at risk of being euthanized if a home is not found ASAP is more than Brooke's heart can take. They have 3 cats at home already, but COME ON:
Tiny cat-creature is roughly the size of a gerbal

After cooing over this little bundle of grey fluff for about 2 hours, we went out to brunch at The Vintage where the constant parade of delicious food began. Brooke took this opportunity to disclose her disdain for drinking hot beverages from clear mugs. Isn't that wierd? I really don't care if my coffee is served in a clear or ceramic mug. But she keeps looking down at her tea and pursing her lips. Omelettes and my bloody mary however, were well executed. My vegetable and cheese omlelette was not overly cheesy, full of decent vegetables, and cooked in a clean pan. While I may not care what vessel you choose to serve my hot beverage in, I do care if my eggs are greasy and redolent of old sausage. I care bigtime.
Cleary displeased

Next stop: Farmer's market for the clams and blackberries needed for the sweet ass lunch we were devising. The Everett market is located on the marina. Beautiful view, THRONGS of people. I took a picture of the view from the market, but any actual pictures of produce would have been blockaded by the backsides of the locals. Not good for foodporn.
The Everett Farmer's Market. Not pictured: The farmers or the market

After the market, and a long ass drive all over Mukelteo getting lost on our way to this cool grocery store for wine and pancetta and stuff (which was totally worth the time it took to find the place) we were hungry again. We got home and ripped into a little wheel of camembert and yukon gold potato bread. Brooke opened up a jar of gooseberry preserves and we procceded to gorge ourselves. I would have photographed the pure, simplistic beauty of this snack, but we were too busy mmmm-ing and chomping. Second occurance of gluttenous behavior.

More cooing over tiny cat, and I am then commissioned to make a blackberry cobbler. Recipe was basically pulled out of my ass and god damn if it wasn't some deliciousness. But more on that later. While the cobbler baked, we steamed up those clams.
We sauteed some pancetta and small onions from the garden, added garlic, diced freah tomato, chile flakes, white wine, and the clams. Once they opened, we hit it with some butter, fresh parsley (also from Brooke's garden- amazingly flavorful), lemon juice and a little cream. They were enjoyed outside on a picnic table, with cold beer and what potato bread we didn't wolf down with the camembert. Perfect Lunch...perhaps ate too much.

Check out Brooke's blog for more in depth information on those clams (her post should be up soon). And now, on to that cobbler. I mentioned in my last post that this year's blackberry crop has been stupendous. This cobbler really helped bring that fact to light. I did not have a recipe to work with, but this turned out quite good and I insist you make it if you consider yourself to be in any way a blackberry fan. Juicy filling, balanced sweetness, and a tender textured biscuit. Cornmeal= one of my favorite things to include in pastries. I jotted down the recipe as I went and am 99.9% sure of it's accuracy....

Blackberry Cobbler
Cornmeal Sweet Biscuit:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal, yellow or white
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
4 oz cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1- 1/3(ish) cup heavy cream

5 heaping pints fresh blackberries (buy a half flat and eat the remaining pint as we did)
pinch salt
1/2 cup sugar
3 T cornstarch
2 T fresh lemon juice
amply cobbled with cornmeal sweet biscuit and ready to bake....

Butter a large pyrex pie dish and set aside. Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, and salt. In a large bowl, toss the berries with the lemon juice. Add the dry ingredients and gently toss until absorbed with juice. Spoon filling into baking dish and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients with the butter until mixture is crumbly and the butter is pea sized. Dump the mixture into a large bowl and add about 1 cup of cream. Stir with a wooden spoon until a loose dough forms. Add more cream as needed. drop silver dollar-sized pieces of dough onto the berries until surface is covered. There will be a few clumps of dough left- bake them off on the same sheet pan and eat them (quite good with the leftover camembert and gooseberry preserves from ealier- I told you we were pigs!).
Sprinkle the surface with sugar (turbonado if you have it). Bake in a 350 degree oven for (and here is where I'm iffy) about 45 minutes. We were eating clams and drinking beer, so I kind of lost track of time. It's done when there is no goo under the surface of the biscuit and the fruit is bubbly.
as you can see, this cobbler was "just okay"

After giant bowls of cobbler with huge scoops of ice cream, I developed that uncomforably full feeling. Where if someone even taps you on the tummy, you will barf everywhere. It was time to go home and pass out.

On my way home I decided to blow off the invitation to a friends "bacon tasting" where he would be roasting pork shoulder and serving several incarnations of homemade bacon. I had totally meant to stop by, but the idea of even being near more food made me dizzy. As I walked in my front door, I was greeted by my husband, wondering what we were doing for dinner.


And now, if you would all excuse me, I'm going to spend the next 4 days in a food coma.


kittie said...

Ha ha - great post, really amusing and such a cute bundle!

It's been a few months since I skirted the edges of a food coma. But seriously? Skipping bacon tasting??? Tut tut tut... ;)

Brooke said...

Okay, clear mugs are just wrong. Clear glass is for juice and beer. Not hot tea.

I had a food baby all evening. I had to skip dinner cuz I thought I might re-enact the dude blowing up from The Meaning of Life. But I did have leftover cobbler for breakfast this morning. Killer.

Oh, and pork with sweet juicy melons? Awesome.

Brittany said...

Sorry,clear mugs cause me disdain.

Clams and cobbler, however, make me giddy.

Peabody said...

LOL, most people don't refer to Everett as charming. :)
The Farmers Market on Sunday was super busy.
Good looking clams and cobbler.

Ann said...

Okay...cobbler: AWESOMENESS.

Kitten: Did the baby find a home? God I hope so, so cute and vulnerable!

Hot beverages: I am TOTALLY with Brooke and I didn't even realize it until NOW.

Clams: So want them, so love them.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I can see the cobbler as beeing just ok, oh yes! I'm with your sister on the clear mugs issue!

Brittany said...

Kittie- I know. Now that I've recovered from the tummy-swell, I'm kind of thinking some bacon sounds good.

brooke- Yeah it actually made for a nice late night dinner. Those melons were awesome! I liked the orange one the best, but I can't remember what variety the guy said it was. Can you? I want more orange melon : (

Brittany- I was high on giddieness all day.

Peabody- I like the downtown/waterfront section where my sister lives, but yes, charming isn't the first word that comes to mind- I mean, they have a toilet paper factory.
It is nice to get out of Seattle for a few hours every once in a while.

Ann- I am noticing that Brooke has support on this mug issue! I had no idea....
YES! Broke and CK adopted the babykitty the minute thay found out about her from CK's co-worker.

Brooke said...

Uh, it was orange something. That's all I remember. The french one wasn't the best.

The northwest neighborhood of Everett is totally charming. The rest of Everett is a shithole.

And thank you everyone for backing me up about clear mugs.

Emiline said...

Hmm, I'm not FOR clear mugs, but I'm not against them. I imagine they would be hard to get clean-looking.

Your cobbler looks delicious. Sounds like a fun day. I can't believe you didn't go to the bacon tasting!

Grace said...

my bowl of cobbler would not only have been empty, but it would also have had tongue-caused streaks all over it. fabulous. :)

cook eat FRET said...

i have 3 cats and that little baby was just too much...


beautiful food and i am envious of the whole thing - especially the sister part...

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

WOW! Sounds like an awesome time, Brittany! Those clams look amazing and who doesn't love cheese and jam? Has to be one of the best combinations known to man. And that kittie is just adorable! I am a real sucker for the kittens as well! ;)

(Oh and I agree about the clear mugs, they annoy me).

matt wirght said...

Awesome stuff. Cobbler, clams and fatty pork product... oh, and soft french cheese. Er, does it get any better than this? Wait.. you mentioned there was booze too. ROCKING.

Cute cat. It should be just the right size for Christmas.. Wait, that is wrong. :)

Brittany said...

Clumsy cookie- you should all start a club!

Brooke- wow I guess you're not alone in your OCDness.

Em- SOOOOOO kicking myself for that now!

Grace- I think if I'd licked the bowl, I would have exploded a la Monty Python

Claudia- Yeah, she's a lucky girl. I am an awesome sister : P

Jenn- I really think the cheese and jam was the best part of the day- you know, Culinarily speaking.

Matt- Yeah we pretty much had all our bases covered there, didn't we?

Foodycat said...

I don't give a s*it about your gorgeous clams or divine cobbler - you got to cuddle a kitten! Kitten! No justice in the world.

Heather said...

The kitten is adorable. Brooke's got some pretty nice-looking tittehs. Sorry, first I noticed the cute glasses, then the rack.

Glass mugs are for Russians.

peter said...

No fair exploiting cute kittens to draw traffic to your blog. All I have is an adorable 4-year-old boy. Hmmmm- wait a minute...

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I board a good recipe already dealt a site like this
recette couscous

Thanks Norm!