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Monday, September 5, 2016

Garden Tomato and Eggplant Cake Tatin

Living off the fatta the land..
My baby eggplants are just starting to yield multiple eggplants at a time.  For now, 3 is the most I was able to pick at once, but my next harvest will surely be around 6.
Imagine me jumping up and down smiling clapping my hands with my braids flip flopping all over the place.
That is the image of how the idea of harvesting my own vegetables makes me feel.  Baby eggplants are so cute.  I read that if you harvest them too soon or let them grow too big, they will be bitter.  Since they start out purple, it's hard for me to know exactly what the right size should be since.. well, they are supposed to be baby eggplants.  So far, I think the right size is slightly smaller than my fist.  I have a small fist, though.  I guess the size of a roma tomato.  The skin should be glossy.  If it's not glossy, it may be too ripe.
Anyway, as I was harvesting, my lovely neighbor offered me some of her ripe and juicy beef heart tomatoes off her vine.  The stars were aligned in my favor that day.  What a happy couple tomatoes and eggplants make.
I think I'm in love with the night shades...
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer
2 big juicy beef heart tomatoes, sliced thickly
3 baby eggplants, halved (sub 1 small eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes)
few pinches dried thyme
cracked black pepper
few pinches fleur de sel
drizzle olive oil
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (I put a plain yogurt in a measuring cup and topped off with milk)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
pinch fleur de sel
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder (sub 1 tsp baking soda if GF)
1.  Prepare the topping.  Place the tomato slices and eggplant pieces on a baking sheet and sprinkle with thyme, black pepper, fleur de sel, and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast in the oven at 200°C 400°F for about 20 minutes.
2.  Prepare your baking dish.  Cut a circular piece of parchment paper to put at the bottom of your baking dish.  Place the roasted tomato slices and eggplant pieces onto the parchment paper.  This is going to be the top of your cake once it's flipped.
3.  Prepare the batter.  In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk, olive oil, and sugar.  In a separate mixing bowl, put all the dry ingredients and mix with your hands to evenly distribute.
4.  Carefully pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Don't overdo it.
5.  Pour the batter (it should be somewhat thick) into your baking dish over the tomatoes and eggplants on the parchment paper.  Use a spoon to spread it evenly across the dish.
6.  Bake at 200°C 400°F for 20 minutes.  The top should start to look golden and the sides should be starting to pull away.
7.  Let cool 10 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the sides to loosen the cake from its mould.
8.  Flip onto a plate, and cover until ready to serve.
9.  When ready, remove the layer of parchment paper and slice.
Serve warm or cold.  I served mine with a salad and called it a meal.  The leftovers were partly eaten for breakfast and partly cut into little cubes and served at happy hour with a toothpick the next day.

This lovely cake is slightly sweet, due to the corn flour.  It is a surprising combination that works quite well and has an interesting presentation.  The batter is just a blank palette for any other combinations now.. zucchini slices.. added feta, caramelized onions, spinach, broccoli.. ooh I'm getting all kinds of ideas.  Oh dear.. jalapeño cake is going to happen... ooOoh!
So now you can have your cake... and eat it too!

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