Orzo Soulad and Blackberry and Peach Cobbler

I know “soulad” isn’t really a word, but I can’t decide if what we ate last night was closer to a soup or a salad.  I was out of so many things but didn’t have the energy to go shopping with my kids so I ended up scraping the bottom of the pantry for dinner.  I sautéed an onion and a clove of garlic in olive oil until just starting to brown, then added a can of drained and rinsed artichoke hearts that I chopped into quarters.  Then I added about two pints of chopped cherry tomatoes, four cups of chicken broth and about a cup of orzo.  While the orzo cooked, I crisped about 8 ounces of prosciutto in the oven.  (Pancetta or bacon would have been great as well, but I only had an expired package of prosciutto on hand.*)  Once the orzo was cooked, I added a can of cannellini beans and kept the pan on the heat until they were heated through.  When I was ready to serve, I crumbled some of the crispy prosciutto over the “soulad” with shavings of parmesan, lots of fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil.  It was, I have to say, a perfect meal for a hot summer day; not too heavy, served at room temperature, and it had a cured pork product.  Perfect.

Before the Biscuit Topping

I also made a blackberry and peach cobbler with a biscuit topping.  I started with the Blueberry-Drop Biscuit Cobbler recipe  in the new Bon Appetit, but with all my minor changes, it was a different cobbler by the time it went in the oven.  One change was cutting the sugar called for in Bon Appetit’s recipe in half.  I always find that cobblers, crisps, any summer fruit recipe really, have way too much sugar in them.  The whole point is capitalizing on the natural sugar in the fruit, right?  I always cut sugar that’s tossed with the fruit in these recipes in half, which sounds drastic, but they end up tasting like fruit.  When I eat a cobbler or a crisp with the full amount of sugar in them, they’re so sweet they’re almost cloying, and I miss all the acidity that normal fruit has to balance out the sugar.

* I was on the phone with Andra when I told her the expiration date on the package of prosciutto.  I asked her if we were all going to get toxic shock from this meal and she said, incredulously, “Seriously?  It’s cured meat!  Do you think cowboys sitting around a campfire cared about expiration dates on their vittles??”   She was right, but she’s always had a looser interpretation of expiration dates than I have.  I know what you’re thinking and the answers are “yes” and “yes”:  Andra is always mean to me, and you probably would enjoy dinner at my house more, where the food is so fresh.

– Catherine

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