Tag Archives: rustic

Rustic Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart

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Mmm, pie crust.  Tasty, tasty pie crust.  I loves me some pie crust!  I’ll eat that stuff raw, right off of the counter after I’ve rolled it out.  I’ve been known to snag the extra bits of crust that people usually throw away just to eat them raw.  There’s something awesome about the cold water/flour/butter mixture.  And don’t even get me started on when you get a little grain of salt that tingles on your tongue before you crunch it away.

Okay, I’m weird.  But honestly, I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long without a buttery, flaky pie crust.  Especially now that fall has started to show its glorious face.  Sure, I could make a pie crust with vegan butter.  It’s just not really the same.

I decided I had had enough of the “no pie crust” thing and I decided I was going to make one.  The problem was that I didn’t actually have any vegan butter left.  Instead of letting the sadness get me down, I improvised.

Oil, while an acceptable substitute for a pie crust, didn’t really give the same consistency I usually use for my pies.  I’m sure it would have been fine, but I’m picky.  So, I decided to use my experimental crust for my dinner instead.

This tart could be a main meal, it is hearty and protein packed.  It could also be turned into an appetizer by pressing the crust into a muffin tin and making mini pies for people to snag and eat.  Really, it’s one of those recipes that you can do anything with.  And you should.  Go wild.  I did, and see how it worked for me?

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And because I was so excited about the glorious smell of the crust, I forgot to take a picture.  Enjoy one of Brian instead!

Herbed Oil Tart Crust
Makes one crust.  Double recipe if you would like a top crust.

Preheat oven to 375*.

  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • Herbs- I used Rosemary, Marjoram, and Basil because it’s what I grabbed.  Use what you like!
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Cold Water

Combine the flour, salt and herbs in a bowl.  Add the oil and about 4 Tablespoons of water.  Stir it together with a fork, it will be crumbly.  Incorporate all of the liquid, adding a little more water if needed.  You want it to be moist, if it is too dry it crumbles when you try to work with it.

Once the dough is fairly mixed, feel free to mush it around with your hands!  It’s fun to get messy.  Press the dough flat, by hand if you like. I used a rolling pin to roll it just less than 1/4 inch thick.  Place your filling in the center and fold the edges part way over the filling, leaving the top open.  It’s rustic!

Bake for 30-35 minutes.  Remove and cut into quarters.  Dig in.

 

Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Filling

  • 1 Eggplant
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • Herbs- I used Marjoram, Parsley, Cumin, and whatever else I had in my cabinet that smelled good
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Garlic
  • Olive Oil

Cut the eggplant into rounds, then quarters.  Cut the tomatoes in half, then slice them into wedges.

Heat the oil, garlic, and spices on medium and add the eggplant and onion.  Let that cook for a while, stirring occasionally.  Be careful with your gorgeous eggplant, don’t mush it.  Once the eggplant is mostly cooked through, add the tomatoes and chickpeas.  Continue cooking until it is just warmed through.

At this point you can do any number of things.  Bake it as a tart using the recipe listed above*, turn it into a soup by adding vegetable broth and simmering, stuff a pita or eat it as it is.  Mmmm.

 

Vegetable Gravy*

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter Substitute
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Better than Bouillon (I used vegetable, but you can use the vegetarian chicken or beef one if you’d prefer)
  • Pepper

Make a roux by melting the butter substitute over medium heat.  Add the flour and stir for about a minute making sure the butter and flour combine and you do not burn the flour.

Add the hot water and bouillon and stir or whisk.  Once it thickens to the consistency you like, remove from heat.  Crack some fresh pepper over the top and serve over the Eggplant, Tomato and Chickpea Tart.

*If you’d prefer your tart without gravy, you may want to add some moisture to the eggplant and tomatoes while you are cooking them.  I’d suggest adding about 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and letting that cook down a bit before adding to your tart crust.  It’s a little dry without the gravy.

Bread, Bread, Bread

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The one thing I decided I had to do when I became a stay-at-home-mom was to learn to bake bread.  The thought of warm, crusty bread coming out of my own oven, filling my house with the tangy smell of crispy crust and squishy insides, just makes me feel like I’m wrapped up in a blanket of homey-ness.  (It’s a word, I swear.)

I decided to give it a try on my own, no recipe, no nothin’.

It didn’t go so well.  It wasn’t a total disaster, but it wasn’t anything to brag about.  My husband was great about it: “Oh, this would make a good breadsticks recipe.  It would be much better as pizza dough.  It’s good but we could try it for rolls instead of bread…”  He’s a good guy, that’s for sure.

Well, I decided bread wasn’t really the best thing to just “do”, so I started to research.  Tutorials, and yeast, and kneading- oh my!

Then I stumbled upon a super-easy bread recipe at Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and I decided to try it.

I tucked Brian in for a nap and dug in!  The bread was set to rise before Brian even woke up from his short rest.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  The best part is, I can refrigerate the dough after the rise (up to two weeks) and just throw it in the oven when I want some delicious, crusty bread to make me happy.

With this recipe under my belt, I’m ready to tackle something more difficult- like rolling up my sleeves and kneading the heck out of some dough.  Not that my infant-lifting muscles really need more of a workout!

Rustic Crusty Bread
from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting dough (I used 6 cups- I went by look and feel on this one)

In a large bowl mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover lightly with a kitchen towel but don’t seal the bowl airtight. Let the dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).
Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered in an airtight container, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, cut off a grapefruit-size piece with serrated knife (I have only ever made two loaves out of the batch of dough so I just divide the dough in half to form my first loaf). Turn the dough in your hands to lightly stretch the surface, creating a rounded top and a lumpy bottom. Put the dough on a piece of parchment paper set on a pizza peel or a rimmed baking sheet turned upside down. Let the dough rest for 40 minutes for room temperature dough; if you have used the dough out of the refrigerator, let it rest for 1 1/2 hours. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.
Place a broiler pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Place a baking stone on the middle rack and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat the stone at that temperature for 20 minutes before baking.
After the dough has rested and is ready to bake, dust the dough lightly with flour, slash the top with serrated or very sharp knife three times. Slide the dough (with the parchment paper) onto the baking stone. Pour one cup of hot water into the broiler pan and shut the oven quickly to trap the steam. Bake the bread until well browned, about 24-28 minutes. Cool completely.
If you don’t have a baking stone, try turning a rimmed baking sheet upside down and heating it in the 450 degree oven for 10 minutes prior to baking. When ready to bake, slide the parchment paper with the dough on it directly onto the overturned baking sheet and bake according to the recipe. You can also stretch the rounded dough into an oval and place in a greased loaf pan. Let it rise for 40 minutes if fresh (add an extra hour if the dough has been refrigerated). Bake in the loaf pan in the 450 degree oven, watching the time carefully – check after 20-22 minutes.