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Milk some corn and make a blueberry cobbler

Recipe: Berries are topped with corn-infused biscuits

Blueberry cobbler
Cobbler: Think of it as easier than pie.
(Photos: Kathy Morrison)

How fortunate that blueberries and corn come into season together -- they're a beautiful team in so many dishes.

This simple cobbler, which combines a Chez Panisse recipe with the best part of a New York Times recipe, uses them together in a surprising way: The ears of corn are grated -- "milked," if you will. The resulting chunky liquid is all the moisture needed for the biscuit dough on top of the lightly sugared blueberries. The  corn flavor is subtle but delightful.

Serve it with a scoop of ice cream for the perfect dessert celebrating corn-and-blueberry season.

Note: Frozen blueberries would work just fine in this recipe, but don't defrost or wash them first.

Blueberry cobbler with fresh corn biscuits

Serves 6

Ingredients:

4-1/2 to 6 cups of blueberries, picked over to check for stems

Blueberries in strainer
Berries get a rinse.

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Zest from 1 lemon (optional)

Dough:

2 large ears of sweet corn,  husks and silks removed

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon fine cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Corn cob and box grater
This is the unexpected part: A fresh, plump ear of corn is
grated to release the milk and solids.

1-1/2 tablespoons sugar

2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

Sugar or heavy cream for sprinkling, optional

Ice cream, yogurt or heavy cream for serving, optional

Instructions:

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and pat dry the blueberries. (Don't wash frozen berries.) Place the berries evenly in an ungreased 2-quart baking dish and sprinkle the 1/3 cup granulated sugar over them. Sprinkle on the 1 tablespoon flour and the lemon zest (if using), and stir briefly to distribute. Set the dish aside.

Cob and measuring cup of milky solids
About 1 cup of solids and milk came from 2 ears
of corn, grated and scraped.

Set a box grater in a large bowl or dish, and grate each of the ears of corn into the bowl, turning as necessary. The kernels will shred, releasing the milky juice inside. (An angled grating motion limits splatter.) Don't discard the cobs yet! Take a sharp knife and run it along each of the cobs to press out any remaining liquid and usable solids.

Measure the creamy corn milk and solids -- there should be at least 3/4 cup and likely more. If less than 3/4, add enough cream, buttermilk or a nondairy milk to equal that. If there's more, don't worry -- you'll use it.

Now stir the 1-1/2 cups flour, the 1 tablespoon cornmeal, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar and the baking powder together in a large bowl.

Add the chunks of butter, cutting them in with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingers, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Stir in the corn milk and solids, gently, until the dry ingredients are moistened. Form the dough into patties, using a heaping tablespoon to measure it out. Wet your hands between patties to keep them from sticking, if necessary.

Patties should be roughly 1/2-inch-thick and 2-1/2 inches across, but that's not exact and may be adjusted depending on the size of the baking pan. The key with cobbler is to leave some of the fruit exposed so it bubbles and helps cook the dough.

""
What's missing? Oh yes, the ice cream.

Sprinkle the patties with a bit of crunchy sugar or brush on a little cream, if desired.

Put the baking dish on a flat baking sheet to catch any overflow, and place in the oven. Bake 30-35 minutes until fruit is bubbling in the middle as well as along the sides, and the biscuits are golden brown.

Remove to a cooling rack and allow to cool 5 minutes or so before serving. Serve in bowls with ice cream or heavy cream, as desired.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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