Friday, July 18, 2014

Cobbler: Its Cake Adjacent.

I know my fellow eaters, it has been awhile. But it is really hard to maintain my usual level of snark and sass when I am literally living in greener pastures for the time being. Michigan, I certainly don't remember you being this lovely when I lived here several years ago..then again, surviving living somewhere in the Southwest where it is brown and smells like cow dung all the time can definitely change a person's perspective on the Midwest. It has been 70 here for no point have I felt like bursting into flames was even a remote  possibility and it is mid July! I get to sleep with the windows open without being assaulted by the Eau de Cow Patty scent I mentioned earlier, and take my dog for long walks on the gorgeous golf course- usually in a warm jacket- while I wonder whether or not it is even possible for foliage to actually be this green, or if they put something in the water here. You know, because there is actually water here. Don't even get me started on civilization...I forgot that Old Navy was even a thing anymore until I got up here and nearly had a heart attack (thanks for all the clothes, Mom!!). Needless to say, I've been on cloud nine, so being snarky and witty is really hard. That's what she said. Okay, so I haven't totally lost my mojo.

My parents have made us feel more than welcome to come home and crash until sometime in August when I absolutely, positively have to go back to the suck for work. Hank is, as anyone who knows Hank would expect, the king of the castle here, and well, the hedgehog still hates everything but loves no longer having dry skin. But as a form of payment for all the cool neat things my folks keep taking me to go do while we're here, I've been baking. Baking up a damned storm. The day after I got here, I made a huge batch of peanut butter pudding cookies and lemon drop cookies (the hubster also got a large care package of each) as a "Thank you for helping my sanity by allowing me to escape the desert" present. But since I've already shown you how to make those, I was waiting to blog about something new. Cue the segue...
Presentation is key, people!
So, I get up to the Midwest and the first thing I want is something from the South. Coincidence? No. You see what my poor husband has to put up with? It is a really good thing I come from a good-looking gene pool and I am handy in the kitchen. Anywho, once I got up to the Big D (Detroit in this case, not Dallas),  I immediately started craving cobbler. Because I always want what I cannot have. Looking at you, Corvette Stingrays, Alexander Skarsgard, and perfect skin. Ahem. Luckily, Pinterest is still a thing up here in Michigan. I know, I talk about it like it is another country. But that's because I'm further north than parts of Canada right now, so to me, it is. I'm going to carry on with this theme later, but first let me give you a quick run down on this cobbler. It is so crisp on the outside and melt-on-your-tongue moist on the inside that your taste buds will have no idea what's going on, but they will love it.
The line up...

Like any good anything that ever existed and could be thrown into an oven, you're gonna need a buttload of butter for this recipe. Twelve tablespoons to be precise- four to place in your 9x13 baking dish, which you want to throw in the oven while it preheats to 350 to melt that deliciousness, and the rest to be melted and whisked in (not off to a tropical paradise) with the 1 1/2 cups of flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, and 1 1/2 cups of milk.
Get ready to throw that yummy goodness in your mixing bowl.
And whisk away like your life depended on it.

So that is the "crust" portion of your cobbler. For this cobbler, I went with a blueberry filling. My mom is weird (I totally get it from her, and I love it), and doesn't care for peach cobbler, otherwise I would've gone with that. So, should you also have a family member who feels like the only good peach is Princess Peach from Mario, get yourself a 16 ounce bag of frozen blueberries (or whatever other fruit) for this cobbler. Throw them in a bowl, carefully, might I add...otherwise you're gonna end up with purple fingers, and unless you're a hardcore Vikings fan like me, that might mean you're gonna have a bad time. Don't read that last part if you're a Packers fan. Handle those blueberries as much as possible...that purple will wash out instantly, I promise...

Then take a bowl and mix together 1/4 cup of sugar and a teaspoon or so of lemon zest. I consider myself to be rather zesty, so I did a heaping teaspoon. Take a tablespoon of that mixture and throw it in with your berries. Now, mash up those blueberries. This part is fun because you either feel like you're making moonshine or you get to take your week's frustration out on some innocent, unassuming fruit. No, I don't consider myself a sociopath, why do you ask?
I mean, who doesn't like blueberries with a ton of sugar mixed in?
Don't be friends with people who don't...they need clinical help.

Remove your pan with melty, delicious butter in it and pour in your batter. Then take a few spoonfuls at a time of your berry mix, and plop that purply goodness on top of the batter.
I used my 1/4 cup measuring cup. Less dishes make me happy.
This is gonna be gooooood.
 Totally not the normal way to make cobbler, but this makes it even better. Would I lie to you? No. Not unless you're a Green Bay fan, obviously. Then sprinkle the top with the remaining zesty sugar mix, and throw in the oven for 40-45 minutes. Rotate your pan halfway through unless you're the only person in the world with an oven that actually cooks evenly. The end result is cobbler crust that bakes up around the fruit, ensuring a perfect fruit-to-melty-awesome-crust ratio. Have the patience of a saint, and wait 30 minutes before cutting so it can set. Desserts can be really demanding sometimes. The nerve of those calorie-laden bastards. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and enjoy. You'll enjoy this more if you're in state with Blue Bell ice cream..get it together, Michigan.
I kinda wanted to just dive in, face first. All or nothing, ya know?
 Now, back to my aside about Michigan. There are a few things going on in this state that make me wonder whether or not sane people are in charge of things. Namely, cement trucks and police vehicles.

I've noticed a growing trend amongst cop cars in the South. That trend is, 'let's make it as hard as humanly possible for anyone to even tell we're in a police vehicle until after we've already ticketed them and driven away.' In Michigan, we see the exact polar opposite:

Is this shade of day-glo blue noticeable enough, or could we go day glo-ier?
Michigan: It's uh, it's really cold out there for about six months of the year. Think if we paint these squad cars electric blue and place a giant siren on top people will see us from at least a mile away and slow down so we don't have to stop 'em, eh? I don't want my Tim Horton's getting cold.

We wanted larger tires, but didn't want to seem too "Fast and the Furious" about things.
Texas: You though you'd try to get through the largest contiguous US state in under eight hours? Hahahaha...we will find you.

Also, a total, throw-you-for-a-loop-and-nearly-cause-you-to-drive-off-the-interstate moment that happens when you're up here is the first time you encounter a cement truck. Now, if you're from the South, this is what you think of when you see the words "cement truck:"
There's absolutely nothing unsettling about this vehicle.
But these words take on a completely different, and frankly, terrifying image up here:
What the hell is that?! Is it going to eat my children?
It is completely ass-backwards is what it is. Like the scene in Spaceballs: The Movie when the president gets teleported to another room and his ass is on backwards. As someone who regularly sees the formerly mentioned cement truck driving down the highway, to see the latter makes it look as though that truck is driving down the road backwards at a really unsafe speed. The brain takes a few moments to process this information, and then either shuts down entirely, or gives up all hope in humanity.

Now, other than these two things, I can pick up what Michigan is putting down for the most part as long as I'm gone by winter. It is beautiful, and frankly, people aren't quite as stupid as they are down in the Southwest. Even the cashiers at the grocery store can hold a pleasant and totally coherent conversation with you up here. Not one single grunt! All my bitching about Southern hospitality when I lived here must have sunk in a bit, because people are generally not too rude either (but not during winter, people are always mean during winter because it feels like their souls are dying with each inch of accumulating snow).

The only thing I really miss about the Southwest/Texas is this:
God said: "I'm so sorry about how flat and brown it is here...have a beautiful sky to make up for it."
I have a sense of utterly unwavering pride for Texas when I see how plain the sunsets are around the rest of the country; like, my heart hurts I'm so proud. A Texan's pride in our home state is real, and it is deep. We may not have trees and grass so green it looks photoshopped, but dammit, we've got the prettiest skies anyone will ever see. My cobbler would taste really good while watching that sunset, so, til next time, my fellow eaters!

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