Crackly Crust Mixed Berry Cobbler

We hosted a small Memorial Day gathering with some extended family last weekend and this is the dessert I had planned to make.  I tweaked and tested the recipe ahead of time to make sure it would be just the way I wanted.  And then because I was trying to clean the house, practice instruments with the kids, set the table, and prep the rest of the meal all at the same time, I sadly botched up the dessert.  I inadvertantly added too much butter, left the milk out completely, and while the end result was edible, it was not this.  This cobbler (and not the one I ended up making for Memorial Day) has a unique crackly crust which makes this dessert rustic and beautiful at the same time.  The secret to the crackly crust is sprinkling with the top with a layer of sugar and then drizzling hot water over the sugar, melting it right before it goes in the oven.  The method is a bit odd, but it works.  While the cobbler is baking, the sweet biscuit layer develops a thin, delicate, and slightly crunchy crust.  The crust will remain crunchy and crackly for about a day.  After it has been chilled and refrigerated, it loses a bit of the crunch, although it is still delicious.  Serve with ice cream or greek yogurt.  I have greek yogurt in the photos here, but Ryan’s vote is for the ice cream.

Crackly Crust Mixed Berry CobblerCrackly Crust Mixed Berry Cobbler

Crackly Crust Mixed Berry Cobbler
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 pounds mixed berries, about 8 cups (any combination of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons natural cane sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons whole milk
  • ¼ cup hot water
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to gently combine the berries, cornstarch or arrowroot, sugar, and lemon juice. Transfer to an 8x8 baking dish.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and ½ cup sugar on medium high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix on medium speed until evenly crumbly. With the mixer running on low, gradually pour in milk and beat for another minute, until batter is light and fluffy.
  5. Dollop batter over berry filling and use a knife or offset spatula to gently spread batter evenly over the berries. Sprinkle remaining 3 tablespoons sugar over the batter. Drizzle hot water over the sugar, melting it right before it goes in the oven.
  6. Bake for 70-80 minutes, until golden brown and crackly. Let the cobbler sit for at least 30 minutes to set before serving. Serve with ice cream or greek yogurt.

Summer Italian Orzo Salad with Grilled Marinated Vegetables and Chicken | Gather & Dine

This post is sponsored by Colavita as part of their Summer Italian Grilling Series.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.   Right now Colavita is offering all readers of Gather & Dine a $1 coupon off any of their extra virgin olive oils or 15% off in their online store.  Visit Colavita to learn more about their extensive product line.

It always feels so good to break out the grill after a long cold winter and this year I’m excited to be kicking off the season with this fresh salad incorporating an abundance of grilled vegetables and chicken.  Something almost magical happens to the flavor of vegetables when they’re grilled.  They take on a whole new character, and marinating them for just a short time deepens that flavor.  Both the vegetables and chicken were marinated in a vinaigrette using Colavita’s Chardonnay White Wine Balsamic Vinegar and Colavita’s Extra Virgin Olive Oil.*   The grilled chicken and vegetables are tossed with orzo along with zesty sun-dried tomatoes, peppery arugula, fresh oregano, shaved parmesan, and finished with a drizzle of Colavita’s White Truffle Glace.   It’s a bright and stunning summer salad worthy of celebration and with so many colors, textures, and flavors, there is variety with every bite.   Bring it to picnics, summer gatherings, or just enjoy for a quiet evening at home with the family.  Happy summer grilling!

*I’ve used Colavita products for years and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with them on this recipe.  Colavita is a family owned Italian company that delivers high quality olive oils, vinegars, and pastas at affordable prices.  I first learned about Colavita when I read a favorable review of their olive oil in “Zingerman’s Guide to Good Eating.”  I’ve been a loyal user ever since.


Summer Italian Orzo Salad with Grilled Marinated Vegetables and Chicken | Gather & Dine

Summer Italian Orzo Salad with Grilled Marinated Vegetables and Chicken | Gather & Dine

Summer Italian Orzo Salad with Grilled Marinated Vegetables and Chicken | Gather & DineSummer Italian Orzo Salad with Grilled Marinated Vegetables and Chicken | Gather & Dine

Summer Italian Orzo Salad with Grilled Marinated Vegetables and Chicken
  • ½ cup Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup Colavita Chardonnay White Wine Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Colavita White Truffle Balsamic Glace
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, minced
  • ½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Salad and Assembly
  • 1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 small zucchini, about 5 ounces each, quartered lengthwise into spears
  • 1 small red onion, cut into ¼ inch circles, rings kept together
  • 3 chicken breasts, about 1½ pounds total
  • ½ cup Colavita sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces Colavita orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 4-6 cups arugula
  • ½ cup shaved parmesan, plus extra for sprinkling on top
  • extra Colavita White Truffle Balsamic Glace for drizzling, if desired
  1. In a small bowl, whisk the marinade ingredients together until well combined.
  2. Place chicken in one sealable bag and the vegetables in another. Pour ⅓ of the marinade over the chicken. Seal bag and evenly distribute marinade around chicken. Marinate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Pour the remaining marinade over the vegetables. Seal bag and gently tilt and flip the bag to distribute marinade, being careful not to separate the onion rings. Marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.
Salad and Assembly
  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the chicken, 8-10 minutes total, flipping halfway. Grill onions and zucchini, 5-6 minutes total, also flipping halfway. Grill the asparagus 2-3 minutes, rotating after a minute or two.
  2. Chop asparagus, zucchini, and onions into ½ inch pieces.
  3. Allow chicken to rest for at least 10 minutes after removing from heat. Use two forks to shred chicken into bite size pieces.
  4. While chicken is resting, whisk together the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, chopped vegetables, shredded chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and shaved parmesan. Pour dressing over salad and use a wooden spoon to gently mix together. Add arugula and toss to incorporate. Serve immediately with extra parmesan and a drizzle of Colavita White Truffle Balsamic Glace, if desired.
To prepare ahead of time, assemble everything up until adding the dressing and arugula. Keep the dressing and arugula separate and toss together right before serving.

Cremini Fontina Pizza | Gather & Dine

Pizza Fridays have recently made a comeback at our house, although it’s probably more accurate to say we’re more on an every other Friday routine.  Combined with a movie night, it’s such a pleasant way to unwind, relax, and start the weekend with the kids.  Pepperoni pizza seems to remain everyone’s favorite except mine, but Ryan and the kids have all been good sports about letting me sneak in another variety of pizza here and there.  In terms of my favorite pizzas, I especially love this cremini fontina combination layered with garlic oil and a scattering of red onions.  It’s just a tad more work than pepperoni pizza but completely worth the few extra minutes of preparation.  I slightly adapted Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough to make a whole wheat flax version that has become my go-to recipe for pizza dough.  It’s simple, no-fuss, and the pizza turns out perfectly crusty and chewy every time.  Just remember to start the dough the evening before to allow for an overnight rise.  Here’s to many more family pizza/movie nights to come!

Cremini Fontina Pizza | Gather & Dine

Crimini Fontina Pizza | Gather & Dine

Cremini Fontina Pizza
Serves: 3-4
Garlic Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¾ cup sliced red onion, about 1 small onion
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, shredded
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional
  • ½ recipe No-Knead Pizza Dough (see recipe below)
Garlic Oil
  1. In a saute pan, mix the garlic, red pepper, olive oil, and dash of salt. Warm over low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally and do not allow the garlic to brown. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  1. Preheat oven to 500. If using a pizza stone, preheat stone as well. (Ideally pizza stone should be preheated for an hour. This truly does make a difference.)
  2. Using the same pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute until onion begins to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, another 4-5 minutes.
  3. Place dough on a lightly floured surface or parchment paper. Gently stretch and shape pizza dough to a 12"-14" circle. Brush a layer of garlic oil over entire crust.
  4. To assemble, layer the mozzarella and fontina cheeses followed by the mushroom onion mixture.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and begins to brown. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

No-Knead Whole Wheat Flax Pizza Dough
  • 550 grams all-purpose flour, about 4 cups
  • 270 grams whole wheat flour, about 2 cups
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 2½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2½ cups water
  1. In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together except water. Gradually add water and stir with a wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated. Use hands if necessary to bring dough together. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature for 18-20 hours. Dough should double and appear bubbly when ready. Divide and form dough into 2 mounds. Cover with plastic wrap and allow dough to rest another 20-30 minutes, until dough is pliable.
  2. This makes enough for 2 12"-14" pizzas. I usually use half of the dough on one day and freeze the remaining half for another day.