From honey, baskets to cornbread – it’s all here

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 10, 2010

I had the good luck to be in Andalusia on Saturday morning and got to go and visit the farmer’s market. Such nice people were there and such lovely produce. I am into local farmer’s markets these days so I was happy to see the one in Andalusia doing well.

I bought some of everything – some honey from Donna Blair, and it was delicious. She is from Opp, and said it was a great year for honey. I got some wonderful bread from Neal Dansby. Now, his wife does the bread, but Neal and I had a great conversation about cows. The bread was eaten in two meals! I got some great peaches from Chilton County (local to Alabama), and some local homegrown tomatoes.

I also met Hazel Jordan who makes baskets. I wanted one but didn’t have enough money on me to buy one! If you have not gone down to visit your farmer’s market, you must do so. They need your support and their produce was so good. There were many watermelons, cantaloupes, field peas, okra, blueberries and squash. It looked so much fresher than what was in the grocery store, since I had to go by there later. They are open on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

I had another treat while watching the news on Friday evening in Andalusia. On WSFA 12, I saw Gordie Cartwright talking about his cornbread recipe and his winning of the contest in Tennessee and being called the “Cornbread King.” I realized I knew Gordie from Gantt, when he was about 6 years old. I would walk my Scottie every afternoon and Gordie would ride his bicycle up and down the street after school and stop and talk to me about my dog. He was a charming little boy even then. So glad Gordie is on the road to being a chef!

Gordie stepped up his cornbread by adding sweet potatoes, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar to Martha White’s Sweet Yellow Cornbread Mix. I probably will not be making it, as my husband hates sweet cornbread – even the ones with just a teaspoon of sugar. But if you think you might like a sweet, different cornbread, try Gordie’s!

I thought about all the peaches and blueberries I saw at the farmer’s market in Andalusia and came home and got a recipe for the combination of both. Delicious! Go down and buy the freshest produce from your local farmers. It is healthier for you and helps the local economy.

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

From Frank Stitt’s Southern Table. (Frank is a local too, being from Birmingham.)

For the filling

8-10 large ripe peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into ¼-inch wide wedges (enough to fill your baking pan)

½ to 1 pint blueberries, picked over

Grated zest of ½ lemon

¼ granulated sugar, or more to taste

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of Kosher salt

Scant ¼ cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

For the dough

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon Kosher salt

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced

½ cup buttermilk, or as needed

About 2 tablespoons whole milk for glazing

1 heaping tablespoon coarse or granulated sugar for topping

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Put the peaches in a large bowl, add the blueberries, and toss to combine. Add the lemon zest, both sugars, cinnamon and salt and toss again. Let macerate until juices are released, about 20 minutes.

Taste the fruit mixture; depending on the fruit, you may need to add more sugar to sweeten it or add a little flour to thicken it, if a lot of juice has accumulated during maceration. Transfer the fruit to a 10-or11-inch gratin dish and dot the top with the butter.

To prepare the dough, sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the butter and, with a fork or pastry blender, work it into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse cornmeal. Make a well in the center, pour in the buttermilk, and stir

the dough lightly with a rubber spatula until it begins to come together. If the dough looks dry, add a little more buttermilk: The dough should be moist but not wet. Gather it together into a disk.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a ½-inch thickness. Dip a 2-inch round biscuit cutter or a juice glass in flour and cut out as many circles as you can. Gather the scraps of dough together, knead gently, and roll out one more time. Cut out as many circles as you can again. (Do not use the scraps again). Place the dough circles on top of the fruit mixture, brush them with the milk, and sprinkle with the sugar.

Place the baking dish on the prepared baking sheet to catch any spills. Bake until the fruit is bubbly and the biscuit topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.