May 6, 2008

"Breadcore"? Seriously?

I'd like to thank my housemate Phil for the excellent photos in this post (look at that tomato!).  Hopefully I'll get him to take more pictures for me in the future, so they'll actually look like food instead of blurry nightmares.  You should see the originals - better than the actual food.

We had a little potluck in the Dangerous Kitchen as a going away party for one of my housemates (he landed an artist's residency in a remote locale - I'm such a hip Montrealer).  I used to go for old standbys for potlucks, because I thought people might not appreciate being experimented upon, but that wasn't very Dangerous.  The Dangerous Cook is always experimenting with something, and a potluck is the ideal circumstance to do so.  To be fair this has backfired once or twice, but everyone knows eggplant is tricky and the element of risk is what makes cooking fun!

Of course, learning from mistakes is what differentiates experiment from screwing around, and I have learned that sometimes it's important not to be too ambitious with my researches when working with human subjects.  I decided to go with a fairly safe extension of previous work this time.  I was obsessed with variations on the theme of baked pears for quite a while, stuffed with tofu, cheese, chocolate, etc, and topped with pastry, so I decided to just try inverting that.

My initial intention was to make a ratatouille with pears, but some of the guests I knew did not care overly for tomatoes and we ended up deciding that it would be nice to do "summery" dishes, so I wanted to make it a little lighter.  In the end I roasted a midsize eggplant, a few zucchini, a few Anjou pears, and some tofu with onions and garlic in the oven to make the filling.  As is my habit I used the eggplant as the canary, as it were; when it's done, everything is.

The pastry itself was store-bought, since as I am largely incapable of measuring ingredients or timing things precisely I am hopeless at making my own.  President's Choice Butter Puff Pastry is more than acceptable among friends, though, if you suffer from my same deficiencies.  This is particularly true if you liberally cover it with a good old gouda, pretzel salt and additional butter.  A few artfully arranged, very thin tomato slices serve as a reminder of what I originally planned:

I made two of these, each baked for about twenty minutes, and they came out beautifully, well received by all and really not that much work (except that I had a bit of a hike to get more pastry for the second one).  The pear made the filling a little sweet, particularly since the peeled roasted eggplant doesn't come out bitter at all to counteract it, but it's still very much an entree and vegetarians and meat-eaters alike were well satisfied.  A totally successful trial.

The guests did name it "Breadcore" by popular vote - another demonstration that democracy has no place in the kitchen.  I didn't have a better name (or any name) in mind though, so I'm rolling with it.  I tried to explain that the bread was on the outside, but what can you do?

No comments: