Sunday, March 22, 2009

Tartlett. Word's lost all meaning.

I'm pleased to say I made a perfectly fine dinner with my mishmash ingredients. An unconventional pairing, to be sure, but it tasted good...

The yogurt did, indeed, turn to something fun and lovely. Tangy and surprisingly thick, yet creamy, I could see smearing that on bits of cracker as is, or mixing in some herbs. I left it plain. It inspired me to go in a sort of Greek direction with the rest of the meal.

The chicken I marinated in some olive oil, lemon juice, two cloves of garlic (smashed) and lots of fresh oregano.

I cut the rhubarb in small pieces and let it sweat with some sweet spanish onion in a bit of olive oil. A pinch of sugar, a few grains of salt and a dash of water turned the whole thing into caramelized goodness. I let it simmer for a good long time--probably 30 minutes or so. All the rhubarb broke down and it became this interesting pink/mauve mush. But yummy pink/mauve mush... I finished it with a cap full of red wine vinegar.

I decided on a savory bread pudding for the waffles. (Prior to that, I attempted to roll one out thinly to see what it would do. It didn't. It's a sponge, basically. I scrapped that idea.) I cubed about five of the waffles and mixed them with two eggs and some milk. A little lemon zest, nutmeg, a dash of cinnamon and some fresh cracked black pepper went in. I was thinking along the line of pastitsio, seasoning-wise. I mounded this in a silicon pan and set it to bake.

I realize that having bread pudding should really count as one's starch, and so I must get points off for making a tart for the rest of the meal. (Should we call it tart? A pizza, I guess, but without sauce. Or cheese...)

I had gotten a tube of Pillsbury thin pizza crust, and was pleasantly surprised by how it turned out. Buttery and crispy but a good, crunchy base without becoming dry. I baked it at 400 degrees for 7 minutes first, before topping it.

For the topping, I thinly sliced about half of an eggplant and cooked them lightly in a pan. I have always been intimidated by eggplant, although I love it, because when improperly cooked, it's much like gnawing on a kitchen sponge. Properly cooked, it's fantastic. The problem is, I'm not sure how to properly cook it, except in a handful of ways... So I made sure it got a head start. I distributed the slices evenly on the pizza crust, having first lightly brushed it with olive oil. Then I cooked the chicken in the same pan (the oil it marinated in was plenty enough to cook it) and removed it to be sliced before using it to top the crust. Into that pan, then, went several large hand fulls of baby spinach to wilt. The leftover juices really added to the spinach, and the liquid from the leaves helped to bring up the fond from the pan. Ohh, goodness abounding...

I sprinkled the wilted spinach on the crust with my hand (forgetting it had just been on the stove and, therefore, hot, and so burning my fingers in the process) and stepped back to examine my handiwork. Not bad so far.

I added the chicken and then diced up some dried figs, some oil cured black olives and some more fresh oregano. I sprinkled these on top, liking the thought that the figs and the olives looked very similar and so would be a small surprise when biting into the tart.
The whole thing then was popped back into the oven to finish. About this time, I removed the bread pudding and was pleasantly surprised that it was edible!

The ubiquitous pan that had cooked eggplant, chicken and spinach was pressed into use a fourth time, this time to toast the hazelnuts. I chopped them in order to sprinkle on the tart when it came out. I also zested some more lemon.

So! The final product, a Grecian Inspired Tart with Chicken Thigh, Spinach and Eggplant with Savory Bread Pudding and Caramelized Rhubarb-Onion Compote. Oh, with dolloped yogurt.

I liked it, but then again, I cooked it. We'll ask my Darling Husband to comment on how it tasted...


  1. I thought it tasted wonderful, sweetie! As you know, but were surely too modest to say, I ended up scarfing the remainder of the bread pudding. The black pepper was a really nice touch, and took it in a wonderfully savory direction.

    I was interested to see how you treated the waffles -- when you first mentioned the tart / pizza idea, I imagined you might somehow use them as a crust. Which I know occurred to you too, but it was very savvy of you to think to have a backup plan for crust. It would've been easy to put all your eggs in one basket and then just have to stay the course even though things were turning out weird (buckwheat fritters anyone...?).

    The tart I thought was beautiful and fresh and springy and bright and flavorful. There's one more piece in the fridge, which I think is technically yours... But I may just have to eat it as soon as your back's turned. ;-)

    And I want rhubarb and onions on my toast. Yummy.

  2. Thank you, sweetie. Help yourself to the tart...