My home state of Minnesota is known for a few things: SPAM, Prince, and hot dish. The beauty of “hot dish” is that one word: dish. Everything goes into a single dish.
I love food, particularly the good food that we make with produce and meats and other goods from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, where I spend nearly every Saturday. I do not love doing dishes.
My wife Himanee is a good complement to my simple tastes - she believes every meal should contain 57 flavors, and every one of them should be prepared and served in its own dish.
Running our homestead by myself when Himanee travels for work is tough. But it comes with some pleasures: Simply prepared fresh food, bourbon, and listening to Prince and Phil Collins without ear plugs. So, as she began planning a trip to India with her parents, I started dreaming about food. Food that can be cooked in a few minutes. Food that can be eaten directly from the pan in which it’s cooked. Food that is healthy and flavorful but lacks frippery. For instance:
- apples and cider from Saratoga Apple;
- carrots from Gomez Veggie Ville;
- Asian greens from Pleasant Valley Farm;
- Potatoes from Sheldon Farms;
- Steak from Longlesson, Lewis Waite or M&A farms.
These are good healthy, hearty local foods that can be cooked easily and cleanly - and without a kitchen full of dirty dishes.
My favorite meals when I’m home alone? To some extent, it depends on the season. But being a Minnesota kid, I’m a meat and a potatoes man. So a steak thrown on the grill, pork chops seared in a cast iron cooking pan, goat riblets, chicken roasted with a little rub of black pepper, paprika, and garlic is the first step. And then we have potatoes, which I like best as fries. I slice them up, wrap them in foil, bake them until they’re soft, and then give them a quick fry. I eat them with catsup or barbecue sauce that I make from our garden. I might also add some horseradish or Ballston Spa Apiaries’ honey mustard to my meat, and I will eat salad greens. Or maybe kale, as long as I can cook it quickly in a pan with nothing more than a little water, lemon juice and oil.
Visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park.