Turning recipes on their head
The other day I had a big pile of chard to use up, in the middle of a run of long stressful days: the perfect set up for a Greek pita. A classic Greek dish usually known as spanakopita (spinach pie), basically a veggie pie that tastes even better the next day. It's the absolutely best way to use up a (very) big pile of greens, it's super adaptable and easy to make (see my recipe template here). However... it involves a pastry crust which is a bit of extra work, even if using ready made pastry.
Usually totally worth it for a free meal the next day. But... on this occasion I had absolutely no time or inclination to faff about with pastry.
So while driving back home from the shop I was trying hard to think of any alternatives to a crust that didn't involve pastry. A top layer of something? Sliced potatoes? Could be good, but too much faff again. Sprinkling something on top that might crisp up? Oats? Hmmm.... not sure. Or maybe I should ditch that pita idea altogether and just sauté those greens. But then I wouldn't have a done meal for tomorrow... What could it be... what could it be... hmmm...
And then it suddenly hit me: why not just drop the crust altogether! A crust-less pita. Spanakopita redux, if you like. Ha! Eureka!
So I wilted the greens and mixed the eggs & cheese as I always do for a pita, mixed it all up and put in the oven to bake. Took me about 30 mins including baking time. The result was beautiful and delicious, and still tasted like a pita to me, even without the crispy top. And it was just as tasty the next day - a second meal with zero cooking. And baking it in the oven was much simpler than a pan fried egg dish that needs to be turned, like an omelette. And once it cooled down a bit it was just as slice-able, even without a crust to hold it together. Win win win!
OK, so I'm not saying this was a 'proper' pita pie - obviously this ended up a different kind of thing. Maybe we could call it a baked frittata (turns out this is is a thing too). Either way, it's simply an example of how a recipe (any recipe!) can be simplified and even turned on its head to fit your needs and likes and, importantly, your mood and available time on the day.
The best part: I felt so very smug and excited for having solved my own kitchen challenge so elegantly!
It really doesn't take much to make cooking exciting: a bit of thinking outside the box, a bit of creativity to adapt to your needs, and a bit of daring to just give it a try: Despite the prevailing opinion you can 'break' very little when cooking - besides rules, that is!
For the record, here is my recipe template.
And for a 'proper' pita pie with a pastry crust, see this post.