I get this feeling that I am wandering through life, picking up things – some of which are quite wonderful – like diplomas, knowledge, experience, and then not doing much with it. The first time I heard that phrase, “jack of all trades, yet master of none,” I promised myself to not fall under that heading.
But fall, I did! Fell flat under it, in bold font. Even decorated myself with italics. If I indulge myself a bit, I would say that I am Times New Roman – cuz I’m a classic case of dabbling in everything but not really pursuing it all the way to an end destination. (Because…which way was I going?)
The other day, I did know where I was going. I was walking to the tea house and I came across an eggplant on the sidewalk. All by its lonesome self, purple and shiny against the gray asphalt. For a split second, the New Yorker in me wondered if it had been contaminated, or shot up with poisons, but I put aside those fears because I was in friendly Melbourne. Gotta trust what the universe gives ya! So, along with pickin up some Australian slang while hangin’ around these parts, I picked up the eggplant and carried on my way.
At the tea house, I did my things: helped out with dishes, contributed to a newsletter, conducted a tea tasting, baked up some tea-infused brownies, smiled at people. You know, all the stuff you do at work. Everywhere I went, that eggplant was there. I had to keep moving it around to get it out of the way, but I’d keep forgetting that it was where I had left it, until it was in the way again.
Eggplant and tea pairings are not on the menu. What to do with it? I already had dinner plans. No one else wanted to take it, and at one point I saw its sad future….shoved in the back of the fridge, forgotten and rotten. And then it hit me. This eggplant has the potential to become so many things, and it is only my laziness and lack of vision and planning that is keeping it from becoming something amazing.
This made me think of my collection of random skills, and how scared I am that I will end up shoving everything to the back of my brain, forgotten and left to rot. I freaked out and ran to the kitchen.
I am sure the universe is giving me a lesson in the form of an eggplant. It is telling me: Why park all that potential on the sidewalk? Envision the future and go make it happen.
And like all good produce, the eggplant grew up and became a SHAKSHUKA PIE. (Saucy little tart….) I hope I also fulfill my potential one day. It’s one of my life goals. In the meantime, I am filling my belly.
This pie is cheesy and savory, like a quiche, then topped with tomatoes and eggs. A delicious way to give yourself a little pep-talk, and start your journey to becoming a “Jack of All Trades and a Master of ONE.”
Ah! Life. Should be easy as pie!
puff pastry to line a deep dish tart pan
1 eggplant, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
Basil and Oregano (dry or fresh)
1 large potato, boiled and diced
1 cup cream
1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup of crushed or diced tomatoes
1/2 cup of tomato paste
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Line your tart pan with the puff pastry dough. You can use pate brisée or make your own puff pastry. I used frozen puff dough, and it turned out well!
Sauté your eggplant and garlic in the olive oil. When soft, toss herbs over. Mix in the preboiled and diced potatoes. Pour all into your pastry lined tart pan.
In a bowl, beat together 2 eggs with the cream and grated cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Pour over your potato/eggplant mix.
In a bowl, mix up your diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Throw in more herbs, pepper and salt to taste. Spread this over the top of your pie.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes. It depends on how deep your tart pan is. It should be done with then interior of the middle is no longer watery, but it does not need to be super firm. It will continue to set as it cools.
Let it cool. When ready to eat, reheat in a 350 F oven. Crack 2 eggs on top and let it set to your liking.
Sprinkle with herbs. Serve, and eat with conviction!