I know from “different”, I’ve been different all my life… we’re best pals. Third Child Syndrome really sort of lays the groundwork for that. The first child is the over achiever, the second gets the brains and mechanical ability, and the third…well, we get what’s left over in the gene soup … the propensity for compassion, artistic ability (did I tell you I played the flute in school?) a tough skin (obviously), and that needling little gene that makes crying at anything even remotely sentimental on the Hallmark Channel perfectly natural…. we’re a piece of work.
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