Hello hot August and comfort cobbler! Made with fresh fruit and covered with biscuits, this is a sweet-and-savory dish to live for on warm nights and cool mornings at Lake Tahoe. While the old-fashioned dessert is popular in the Deep South, a place where juicy fruit such as peaches are the pick of the crop, it works for me, a Californian native.
Last August, I was on the road back home to San Jose. It was my mission to go to a Barnes & Noble bookstore and sign copies of my book “The Healing Powers of Coffee.” At home, I tried to pre-book a room at a fancy hotel. But mention of a “convention” hit me while on the phone. I thought it was a sign to be spontaneous and find an impromptu place. After the signing, looking for a hotel with room service — blueberry waffles and gourmet coffee was my dream — turned into a Hitchcock-type nightmare.
Hours and hours of driving in circles and “No Vacancy” from the Silicon Valley to San Bruno haunted me. By midnight, I ended up in Sunnyvale (I think) in a nondescript, crowded motel. I was dog-tired and petless; I slept like a princess. In the morning, I stumbled half asleep downstairs to a buffet breakfast: warm java with cream in plastic cups, a ripe banana and a cold Danish. I was homesick for home-cooking and my warmhearted critters.
This week, on the last day of July, at the crack of dawn thanks to the pup, I brewed a cup of caramel-flavored coffee. It was hot with organic milk. Then, I whipped up a peach-and-strawberry cobbler. It was heavenly to slice fresh peaches and strawberries and smell spices lingering in the kitchen as the cobbler baked in the old-but-charming white oven.
Peachy Home-style Cobbler
1 cup Heart Healthy Bisquick mix
1 cup organic, 2 percent, reduced-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons European-style butter, cubed
2-3 cups fresh fruit, sliced (peaches and strawberries)
Raw sugar and cinnamon (to taste)
Stir Bisquick mix, milk and nutmeg in ungreased round baking cake pan. Add fruit. Place butter on top. Spoon medium sized circles of batter on top. Sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake at 350 degrees approximately 45-55 minutes or till golden brown. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Stir together Bisquick mix, milk and nutmeg in ungreased round cake pan. Stir in butter until blended. Stir together sugar, cinnamon and peaches; spoon over batter. Serve warm with all natural vanilla ice cream. Makes 4 servings.
Once the cobbler was baked, I cut a small slice right out of the oven. There’s something about fruit and biscuits that made me feel warm and fuzzy. The dollop of whipped cream made the cobbler sweeter. A good night’s sleep on a trip without critters is amazing. But I’ll take my 5 a.m. furry alarm clock puppy, meowing kitty and barking dog any day. And my java in Mr. Coffee, especially this August, National Coffee Month, makes lack of sleep due to active fur kids worthwhile.
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include “The Healing Powers” series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. (The Healing Powers of Honey and Coffee are offered by the Good Cook Book Club.) The Healing Powers of Coffee, Vinegar, Olive Oil, and Honey are sold at Walmart stores nationwide. Her website is www.calorey.com.