This past weekend my boyfriend and I took a spontaneous and completely relaxing trip to Lake Tahoe. Activities included: handling live crabs, reading numerous celebrity magazines, falling knee deep in snow, sleeping in, and stuffing ourselves with comfort food. Now that's my kind of vacation.
And the weather couldn't have been more gorgeous. Bright and sunny, with just barely a hint of chill in the air. There were still plenty of piles of freshly fallen snow, that made me reconsider my recent complaints about winter weather. Because there really is something so spectacularly beautiful about fresh snow.
Especially when you combine it with summer-like weather. What a kick it was to walk through a mile of snow to reach a sunny, sandy beach that could have been warm enough to sunbathe. It's enough to make you want to stay awhile.
The weekend's adventures started with us picking up some live crabs at the fish market in Napa. Having only bought already-cooked crabs in the past, I naively assumed that this purchase would be the same. Little did I know that I would be spending the three hour plus car ride with a box full of feisty crustaceans as passengers.
By the time we arrived at our destination, our hosts already had the water boiling for our traveling companions. I'm not naive when it comes to where my food comes from, but I can't say that I was looking forward to being present for this particular event. Ultimately it was an experience I was glad I got to have, even though there was some guilt involved. As cruel as it may sound, my love of eating fresh cooked crab got me through the guilt.
I had offered to bring a dessert, and when I asked for suggestions the definitive answer was "cobbler". Not already having a go-to cobbler recipe in my arsenal, I turned to the Pioneer Woman, as I had a hunch she might have a recipe for this classic fruit dessert. Turns out she has not one, but two recipes, and I had to try them both.
That's right, it was a cobbler face-off. I tried Cobbler Recipe #1 using blackberries, and Cobbler Recipe #2 with a raspberry and rhubarb combo. I just love rhubarb. Over the past couple of years as my taste-buds have expanded, I have come to love so many things I would have balked at in the past. Now I feel sad that I've gone without rhubarb for so long. Sigh.
While I loved both cobblers, I think for a classic go-to cobbler, you can't beat Recipe #2. Thick patches of buttery dough encase a juicy, sweet yet tart filling. It was sublime; even more so with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
Cobblers are great because they can be made with any combination of fruit. Tarter fruits such as berries or rhubarb usually require more sugar, and just remember that the juicier the fruit is, the more thickener (tapioca, cornstarch, flour) it will require. The topping to fruit ratio will change depending on the size of the baking dish you use. You can bake the cobbler ahead of time, and then reheat it in a 350 degree oven until warm.
Raspberry Rhubarb Cobbler
Adapted from Pioneer Woman
1 ½ lbs Rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Pint Raspberries
2/3 cup sugar
Zest and juice of 1 orange
2 cups Flour
¼ teaspoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
¼ cups vegetable shortening
4 Tablespoons Butter
1 whole Egg
½ cups Milk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine rhubarb, raspberries, 1 cup sugar, orange zest and juice in a mixing bowl. Stir and spread out in a buttered pyrex dish.
In a bowl pour flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add shortening and butter and work mixture together with a pastry blender or your fingers (this can also be mixed together in the bowl of a stand mixer) until the mixture is coarse. Measure ½ cup milk, add an egg, and mix together. Pour into flour mixture, stirring as you go. Mixture should be smooth and not dry, but not over sticky.
Take clumps of dough and place them on top of the fruit. Lightly flatten dough with your fingertips. Sprinkle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar and bake until golden for 30 minutes. (it's a good idea to place a cookie sheet covered in tinfoil on the rack beneath the cobbler as it bakes to catch any filling that might spill out)
Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.