This weekend I surprisingly had NO scheduled plans so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to cozy up with my cookbooks and get excited about my meals for the upcoming week. I absolutely love having the opportunity to plan ahead because I find the process of choosing what to make and buying the ingredients just as enjoyable as preparing or eating the meal itself. It also usually means I can be more leisurely with my prep work on the weekend so meals come together quickly during the week. This is perfect for me because I really find chopping and measuring to be soothing (My boyfriend always teases me that when I cook I get in to a ‘zone’ where I stop noticing everything else that’s going on around me.) but only when I’m not rushed.
The weather ended up being fantastic and sunny so once I selected my recipes for the week I walked to a local open market called Haymarket for produce and to Whole Foods for everything else. Unfortunately Haymarket, while a Boston mainstay, is not a farmers’ market, but it is a place to get exceptionally good deals and enjoy some people watching. I walked away with, among other things, a container of strawberries for 50 cents, a perfectly ripe pineapple for $1.50, and 3 lbs of bananas (oddly with Whole Foods stickers) for $1. I actually bought so much stuff that my reusable bag broke on the way to Whole Foods. I’m amazed my produce made it home without substantial bruising.
I whipped up a delicious lunch after my shopping trip. It wasn’t exactly a looker, but was quite delicious. It was my humble take on Saag. My version was adapted from the recipe for Spinach with Yogurt and Cheese from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, but made hot dish style. Hotdishes are a practically tradition in my home state of Minnesota. Usually they consist of a starch, meat and/or vegetables, a binder (most often a canned soup or sauce) and some sort of topping. They are a mainstay in church cookbooks and at potlucks. Though I don’t remember eating many of them as a kid, they are far and away one of the dishes I associate with my home state. The idea of marrying the ‘hotdish’ formula and Indian flavors seemed like fun. I followed Mark Bittman’s baked version, except that I stirred precooked brown basmati rice and sauteed tofu before baking. Unfortunately it needed a lot more ‘binder’ because it wasn’t as creamy as I had hoped, but I am definitely looking forward to perfecting it and will post the recipe when I do.