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Different is nice, but it sure isn’t pretty…

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
Ingredients:
Pastry Crust:
1 Cup Self Rising Flour
1 Tablespoon Shortening
1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
3 Tablespoons Ice Water
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
Food Processor
Filling:
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
Salt
Food Processor
Medium Skillet
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

Assembly:

  • 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

9 comments on “Different is nice, but it sure isn’t pretty…

  1. Shonagh
    April 16, 2012

    This post reminds me of the tiny little stalks of asparagus poking out of one corner of my garden. This is the first year I might be able to harvest them, and fresh asparagus requires me to brag. I wonder about steaming the eggplant? I tried that recently before sauteing and they develop the silkiest texture.

  2. Toby Corn
    April 16, 2012

    Me too Sista!

  3. Toby Corn
    April 16, 2012

    I'm with you … except for the pasta… I still cant resist a new interesting shape

  4. Toby Corn
    April 16, 2012

    Unfortunately Tina – different isnt always rewarding – or good. But I'm always up for the challenge to stuff something unusual into something good :)

  5. Corina
    April 16, 2012

    I think aubergine goes so well in a quiche. Well, I like it so much I could eat it in anything!

  6. Jasmine
    April 16, 2012

    I completely agree about kitchen real estate. I've decided to stop the insanity by committing to only buying one type of pasta, legume at a time: no more chick peas, black beans AND lentils languishing in the cupboard. Great post and pretty photos by the way. I love a slice of quiche with a side of salad and a glass of white wine at lunch time.

  7. Toby Corn
    April 16, 2012

    Glad to hear the kiddo made it back all fingers and toes accounted for. No doubt he'll keep you entertained with exciting tales of global travel for a while :)Here in the south they say the biggest difference between us and the north is that we parade our crazy out for everyone to enjoy.

  8. Lo-mo
    April 15, 2012

    I enjoy my third child syndrome quite a bit! I believe my husband calls it the "fun kind of crazy" as opposed to the "crazy crazy" of the rest of my family…The boy came back from Africa having tried a few new things, aubergine being on of them, and liked it. (Of course when he tried it at home…) Egg tarts make a regular appearance around here so this looks perfect!

  9. Tina
    April 15, 2012

    Being different can be quite rewarding as displayed in this unusual recipe using eggplant! I think it is a great way to get some more of this veggie into the diet. I have worries too when creating but I do try to ignore those things.Delicious post! Hope you are enjoying the weekend!

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