Different has constant companion through numerous first dates (Oh, you're different from the other guys I've got out with" - translation = You're one step off from bizarre - and no, there wont be a second date... don't even ask.) and introductions (Wow, you're a lot different from X's other friends - I still haven't figured that one out). It has pushed me to the background in group photos " You, yeah... you - step behind those pretty girls...and a little further back... great.". It has cozied up in my pocket at interviews and announced itself un-waveringly. Most of the time it's to my benefit, but the infrequent "You just don't seem to fit our culture..." has occasionally seemed to be my downfall. Should I change? Become one of the many "like" thinking drones in the world? Think, act, cook, dress like everyone else?
I think not.
While I may not be the photogenic poster child for community thinking, I've pushed and prodded; worked long and hard to get to this particular spot in time to make a name for myself - and I kind of like it here.
Different, oddly, was what came to mind when I started putting together the Eggplant / Asparagus Quiche. Not so much for the way the finished product tasted, mainly because I've never used eggplant that way before. I wasn't terribly sure how it come together textural. I needn't have worried. The creaminess of the egg base combined with the puddling textured aubergine were entirely satisfying.
Aubergine / Asparagus Egg Tart
You'll no doubt note that I've used the coriander chutney from the pork roll recipe. I try to find several uses for any new component or spice that I bring into the kitchen. If you buy a particular seasoning that can only be used for a limited number of preparations, then you're really doing yourself a disservice. Kitchen real estate is a valuable commodity - and if you can't use any one ingredient in at least 5 different recipes - you really shouldn't buy it... at least in my book.
Serves 4 to 6
1 Cup Self Rising Flour
1 Tablespoon Shortening
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Tablespoons Ice Water
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1 1/2 Cups Milk
1 Cup Cottage Cheese
2 Eggs + 1 Egg Yolk
1 Tablespoon Coriander Chutney
10 Rounds of Eggplant
1 Cup Leeks - Whites only - cut into 1/4" rounds
6 Asparagus Spears
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
2 Tablespoons Oil
9" Quiche or Tart Pan
For the Crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350
- Place the flour, shortening, cheese and pepper into the processor and pulse until it resembles meal
- Gradually add the ice water and pulse just until it holds together when squeezed.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes
- Press the chilled dough evenly into the pan bottom and sides
- Bake at 350 for 10 minutes - set aside
- Peel and slice the eggplant - liberally salt and allow to weep for 10 to 15 minutes
- In the processor, add the milk, eggs and yolks,chutney and cottage cheese - process until smooth (about 3 minutes)
- Saute the eggplant in the oil until softened (about 3 min per side)
- Saute the leeks in the same pan until slightly browned - about 5 minutes
- Layer the eggplant on the bottom of the tart pan completely covering the base.
- Top with the sauteed leeks
- Layer the asparagus in a cross hatch pattern over the top
- Carefully pour the egg mixture, filling the tart
- Dust the top with nutmeg, place in the oven and bake at 350 for 20 minutes - or until the center of the tart is set
- Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting or serving