Blueberry Cobbler

6 to 8 servings

Arlington Circuit Court Judge William T. Newman Jr., fiance of Sheila Johnson, came up with the alternative crust for this otherwise old-fashioned dessert.

For the whole-wheat topping:

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/2 cup heavy cream

For the cobbler:

3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

2 teaspoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 pints blueberries, rinsed and drained

For the whole-wheat topping: In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and, using a pastry blender, two knives used in scissor fashion or your fingers, blend in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cream, stirring gently with a fork until a dough is formed that leaves the sides of the bowl. Set aside.

For the cobbler: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch-square baking dish and set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, combine the tapioca, lemon juice, 1/2 cup of the sugar, salt and the blueberries. Cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Pour into the baking dish.

To assemble, crumble the whole-wheat topping over the fruit in the baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is golden and the fruit is hot and bubbly. Serve warm.

Per serving (based on 8): 371 calories, 3 g protein, 53 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat, 52 mg cholesterol, 11 g saturated fat, 410 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Candy Sagon; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Cold Salt-and-Pepper Beef Roast

8 to 14 servings

Easy for a buffet, this recipe yields cold roast beef with a tangy edge. Adapted from Sandy Lerner's Home Farm store.

4 to 6 pounds tied beef cross-rib (chuck) roast

1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper

1/2 cup prepared (grated) horseradish

Rinse beef and pat dry.

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup salt and the sugar. Rub the mixture all over the meat. Place the meat in a shallow rimmed pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 3 to 4 hours.

Rinse the meat and pat dry; if desired, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

When ready to roast the meat, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons salt, the pepper and horseradish.

Place the meat on a rack in a 9-by-13 pan. Pat the horseradish mixture on the top and sides of the meat.

Roast the meat at 375 degrees until a meat thermometer inserted into the center reaches 110 degrees, about 11/2 to 2 hours (for rare). Remove from the oven and let stand in a warm place for at least 20 minutes.

Transfer the meat to a rimmed cutting board. Using a long sharp knife or an electric knife, cut the meat thinly, across the grain, into long slices. Place the slices on a large chilled platter. Top with pan juices from the meat and refrigerate until serving.

Per serving (based on 14, excluding salt-sugar rub): 145 calories, 20 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat, 44 mg cholesterol, 2 g saturated fat, 390 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Michael Taylor; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Summer Pudding

12 servings

This pudding is served at Sandy Lerner's Hunter's Head Tavern in Upperville, Va. This is best served with a traditional English custard sauce, such as Bird's Custard, but it's also good with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

1 to 11/2 loaves thinly sliced white sandwich bread, such as Pepperidge Farm thin sandwich bread, crusts removed

20 ounces (2 bags) frozen dark cherries

10 ounces (1 bag) frozen whole strawberries

10 ounces (1 bag) frozen blackberries

10 ounces (1 bag) frozen raspberries

1 pound red or black currants, or a combination of the two (may substitute blueberries)

1 cup sugar

1 cup fruit-flavored liqueur, such as kirsch or cherry brandy

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Lightly oil a 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray oil.

Using the slices of bread, line the pan, overlapping the slices halfway. This is most easily done in this order: Wrap the center cone of the pan with 4 to 5 overlapping slices of bread. Fix these in place by overlapping the slices along the bottom of the pan, then overlapping the slices around the center cone. Last, line the outer walls of the Bundt pan, overlapping the bottom slices and adjoining center slices. Set aside.

In a large pan on medium-high to high heat, combine the cherries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and currants, breaking up any large clumps of frozen berries. Add the sugar, fruit-flavored liqueur and almond extract. Cook just until the sugar is dissolved but the fruit is still partially frozen, about 10 minutes.

Spoon 1/3 of the fruit mixture into the lined Bundt pan, adding more bread slices as needed, where the pan may still show through. Add another 1/3 of the fruit mixture and check again, making sure bread covers the rim of the pan. Add the final 1/3 of the fruit mixture. If you have any bread slices left, you can cover the top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving, remove the pudding-filled Bundt pan from the refrigerator and discard its plastic wrap. It's best to do the next step over the sink: Invert a large plate on top of the pan, holding it tightly against the pan, and quickly turn the pan over, so that the pudding is released from the mold onto the plate. Let the pudding sit with the Bundt pan still over it for 5 minutes, so that the fruit juices fully soak into the bread.

Per serving: 291 calories, 6 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 1 mg cholesterol, 1 g saturated fat, 307 mg sodium, 6 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com

Early Summer Melon and Arugula Salad With Shaved Red Onion

6 servings

A beautiful fruited salad that goes together in minutes. Adapted from a recipe by Todd Gray, chef-owner of Equinox restaurant in downtown Washington and executive chef of Sheila Johnson's proposed Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg.

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup canola or other light vegetable oil

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

1 medium cantaloupe (about 3 cups), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

3 cups seedless watermelon, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 bunches arugula (about 3 cups, unpacked), washed and dried

1 medium red onion, peeled and shaved paper-thin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 paper-thin slices of Parmesan cheese, for garnish (optional)

For the vinaigrette: Place the lemon juice in a small bowl and add the canola or vegetable oil and the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking vigorously. Add salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

For the salad: In a medium bowl, combine the cantaloupe, watermelon, arugula and red onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add about 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette and combine until lightly coated.

To serve, place half of the melon on individual plates, then layer each with a mound of arugula and the remaining melon. Top with thin slices of Parmesan and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette around the plates, if desired. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 254 calories, 2 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 22 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g saturated fat, 59 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber

Recipe tested by Bonnie S. Benwick; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com