Roasted Vegetable Tart and Week 2 Culinary School

For the crust:
3 cups flour
7 oz. cold butter, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. salt +
6 Tbsp. sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
about 3/4 cup ice cold water
For the filling:
1 medium beet, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 Japanese eggplants, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1/2 Tbsp. rosemary
1/2 Tbsp. thyme
1/2 Tbsp. oregano
spray olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
4 Tbsp. milk
8 oz. goat cheese at room temperature
6 oz. whipped cream cheese at room temperature
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
Spread the cubed eggplant onto a double thickness of paper towel and sprinkle all over with salt, turning the cubes to coat all sides lightly. (This drains some of the water from the eggplant) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Process the flour and butter together in a food processor until they are mixed and crumbly. Turn onto a lightly floured board. Add the salt, cheese and the smallest amount of the cold water needed for the the dough to just come together in a rough ball. Put the ball of dough into plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Continue preparing the Vegetables:
Spray a baking pan with olive oil and spread the cubed beets on one part, spray with oil, then sprinkle with the rosemary. Spread the cauliflower florets on another part of the sheet and spray with oil. Roll the eggplant up in the paper towel and gently press to remove any liquid that has "sweated" out, then spread the eggplant cubes on the remaining area of the pan and spray with oil. Sprinkle the cauliflower and eggplant with the thyme and oregano. Put in the oven and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, until beets can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove the baking sheet and set aside to cool. Roll out the dough into a circle on a piece of parchment. Slide the parchment onto a clean baking sheet. Mix 4 oz. of the goat cheese, the cream cheese and Parmesan in a bowl with a spatula. Spread the cheese mixture onto the circle of dough, leaving an inch space around the edge. Place the vegetables onto the cheese in stripes for a decorative effect. Turn up the edges of the dough and pinch together (see photo). Taste a bit of vegetable with the cheese mixture and sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper if desired. Separate the remaining 2 oz. of the goat cheese into small bits and sprinkle on top of the tart. Mix the egg yolk and milk together.  Use a pastry brush to coat the exposed areas of the dough with the egg mixture. Place the tart into the oven and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the dough is golden brown. Serves 6.
CULINARY CLASS WEEK #2: Lots of fun! Each week, we cook recipes from a different country (or group of countries). Week #1 was Great Britain: England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales--so our dishes were Cornish Pasties, Cod Cakes and Scones. This week covered Spain and Portugal: empanadas, gazpacho, and paella. There were 12 students--perfect for four teams of three. I formed our empanadas like the rustic tart above--with cumin seed in the dough, stuffed with pork loin cubes cooked in orange juice, garlic and cumin, and plated it with an olive tapenade made with capers and garlic. One of my team members Marguerita, made a beautiful gazpacho, nicely presented with crispy pastry triangles topped with various gaspacho condiments, such as thin sliced pepper. Each team presents their dishes with a description of the ingredients and cooking techniques, we taste all the dishes, then vote on the best team effort (voting for our own not allowed). Our team won Gold Medals! (just like the Olympics) Chef Van Hecke posted photos here.

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