The New Southern Garden Cookbook
The New Southern Garden Cookbook
My wife and I love shopping for locally grown fruits and vegetables. But when it comes to cooking with them, I admit, I tend to bite off more than I can chew.
Thankfully, help has arrived.
In “The New Southern Garden Cookbook” author Sheri Castle delves into the deep connections between the South and its food while sharing more than 300 recipes that build “on the premise that when cooking with fresh produce, the ingredient, not the recipe, is the wiser starting point.”
Organized alphabetically by type of fruit or vegetable, this convenient kitchen resource includes 43 chapters focused on distinct seasonal ingredients ranging from apples and cucumbers to winter squash and zucchini. Each chapter opens with a brief overview of the ingredient’s history in the South, and an additional chapter on “The Basics” covers staples such as grits, cornbread, basic pastries, stocks and more.
Among the recipes we’ve tried so far are the peach cobbler with white cheddar biscuit topping, creamy stone-ground grits and the shallot, lemon and thyme compound butter. The cobbler was a hit before the oven even had a chance to cool, and the grits are certain to reappear on our dinner table soon. The butter – one of 12 varieties Castle includes – also proved excellent for adding flair to fresh corn on the cob.
The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands, and CSA Farm Boxes, Sheri Castle. Photographs by Stewart Waller. University of North Carolina Press, 2011. 456 pages. $35 hardcover. uncpress.unc.edu.
Excerpt: Peach Cobbler With White Cheddar Biscuit Topping
This is my grandmother’s cobbler. I cannot imagine what led her to try cheese with peaches, but we agreed that sharp white cheddar was the tastiest. The biscuits are dropped into the juicy fruit filling midway during cooking, so they simmer on the bottom and bake on the top, creating a cobbler that is a little like fruit dumplings.
I don’t think this cobbler needs any accompaniment, but some people will appreciate a scoop of ice cream. Vanilla always works, but try Buttermilk Sherbet or lemon sorbet to balance the sweetness of the filling. Makes 12 servings:
- 8 cups 1/2-inch-thick peeled peach slices, preferably white peaches
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
- 2 cups soft southern wheat self-rising flour
- 1 cup grated sharp white cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
- For the filling: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
- Place the peaches in the prepared baking dish. In a small bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and almond extract. Sprinkle the mixture over the peaches. Dot the peaches with the cubes of butter. Bake the filling for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, make the topping.
- For the topping: Stir together the flour and cheese in a large bowl. Stir together the melted butter and buttermilk in a small bowl. Slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, stirring gently with a fork to form soft, fairly wet dough.
- Remove the dish from the oven. Stir the filling gently to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough over the filling. Return the cobbler to the oven and continue baking until the biscuits are firm and golden brown on top and the filling bubbles around the edges, about 20 minutes more. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving hot.