Friday, July 9, 2010

End-of-the-week (not-so-Greek) tart

By the end of the week, my fridge gets empty. Veeeeery empty.

This is of course greatly reduces my cooking options but it also: a) allows me to find ingredients previously hiding in the back of the fridge; b) forces me to use up things that are no longer at their prime; and 3) it ultimately sometimes helps me to stumble across great new ideas. Not always I admit. Sometimes the results are less than stellar, but last night they made an easy and filling summer week-night meal. And office lunch for me today!

Rummaging through our left overs I found some eggs, a pack of feta cheese, some beautifully ripe red vine tomatoes, an eggplant that had seen better days and some wilting basil. And then, all the way in the back, frozen to the side of the fridge was a package of whole-wheat  pate brisee I had completely forgotten about. It was a teeny bit past its expiry date, but looked fine after close inspection.

So I sliced, grilled, whisked and pounded and came up with a complete family dinner in just a few minutes.

Just as I was letting the tart cool, my one year old had a close encounter with an over-ripe avocado (that I had also forgotten about) and poked his index finger through it twice, making it an obligatory, yet unplanned ingredient of our evening meal. It quickly went into his dinner and also became the star of a last-minute guacamole to accompany the tart instead of a salad. I was very doubtful of the combination at first, but you know what? It gave the good, yet a little bland tart the missing umph. Or as someone would say, "It kicked it up a notch!"

 Ingredients for Not-so-Greek Tart
3 eggs
200ml cooking cream
1 large eggplant
4/6 tomatoes
feta cheese (anywhere between half to a full pack)
Kalamata or other black olives (I had an open jar and forgot them, thus the not-so-Greek in the title)
a bunch of basil
olive oil

Slice the eggplant into pretty thin disks so they cook faster and grill on a griddle pan. When ready, place on a plate and sprinkeel with salt and olive oil. Slice the tomatoes in half and repeat operation.
While the vegetables are grilling, whisk the eggs and and add the cream (I used a dash of milk instead because we are trying to cut down on the calories but I highly recommend using cream. There is no comparison as the filling is not as light and it barely covers the ingredients), some salt and pepper.
Put the basil in a mortar with a little olive oil and salt and pound it to a paste. You can of course use pesto or any other herb you have around. Remember, this is a 'use up your left-overs' recipe. Add the paste to the your wet ingredients.
Roll the pastry into a pie dish and start layering the eggplant and tomatoes and crumble some feta over each alternate layer. Then cover it all with the egg mixture. Decorate with the Kalamata olives.
Put the tart in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry has turned golden brown and the filling is solid.

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