Outstanding In Field

From Top Left: Baby charentais melons(a French cantaloupe variety), The family eating at the cedar table handmade by Nicole's husband Phil, Lucie enjoying tomato cobbler, The Martin's lush backyard vegetable garden.

My friend Nicole Martin and her family eat farm to table nearly everyday from the comfort of their own home.  Relocating from Carmel to Sacramento has allowed them to establish a robust backyard garden that yields more than 40lbs of cherry tomatoes each season. One of their favorite dishes to make during the summer months is Martha Stewart's Tomato Cobbler (see recipe below). What impresses me most about their garden is that Lucie and Phoebe are growing up with an understanding of where their food comes from; being able to eat fruit off the vine while playing outside. I imagine they'll want to continue this practice when they grow up. Having recently moved inland myself, I'm hoping to get some tips from Nicole when we put in our raised beds this fall.

Phoebe showing off the star of this season, the baby charentais melon.

Tomato Cobbler

Martha Stewart Living

July 2011

  • For the filling
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds cherry tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • For the biscuit topping
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese (2 1/4 ounces), plus 1 tablespoon, for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing


  1. Make the filling: Heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Cook onions, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 25 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Toss onion mixture, tomatoes, flour, and red-pepper flakes with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and some pepper.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make the biscuit topping: Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or rub in with your fingers until small clumps form. Stir in cheese, then add cream, stirring with a fork to combine until dough forms. (Dough will be slightly sticky.)
  4. Transfer tomato mixture to a 2-quart baking dish (2 inches deep). Spoon 7 clumps of biscuit dough (about 1/2 cup each) over top in a circle, leaving center open. Brush dough with cream, and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon cheese. Bake until tomatoes are bubbling in the center and biscuits are golden brown, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 20 minutes.