Monday, July 23, 2012

Cooking With Herbs

I recently came across a book entitled Deliciously Easy Vegetables With Herbs by Dawn J. Ranck and Phyllis Pellman Good. It's really more like an extended pamphlet with only 32 pages and a stapled binding. It was also only $3.50, and since I've been on a continuous search to not only find new ways of preparing vegetables, but how to make use of the herbs in my spice cabinet, this book seemed tailored for me and I bought it. It's actually part of a series called Deliciously Easy Recipes With Herbs that I think may worth further exploration, but anyway, this is where I started.

It was difficult to narrow down all the choices since I had a surprising number of the ingredients on hand. In the end, Lemon Oregano Potatoes won out because I still have a ton of potatoes sitting on top of my fridge, and a few of them have already turned moldy. Also, I had plenty of lemon juice and oregano, the other two main ingredients.

The recipe calls for 4 lbs of chunked and peeled potatoes. Since I didn't know how much 4 lbs of potatoes was, and I wasn't planning on cooking for anyone beyond myself, I just used 4 good sized russet potatoes. The actual first step is to spread the bottom of a baking dish with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, which I happily did.

Next, after the potatoes were chunked, of course (and I tend to leave the skins on rather than peel them away since most of the nutrients in a potato are found in its skin), I poured the potatoes into a bowl with 5 teaspoons dried oregano, a ½ cup of lemon juice, another ½ cup of canola oil (the only oil I had on hand; the recipe calls for olive or any vegetable oil), and a few dashes of salt and pepper. After coating the potatoes thoroughly in the mixture and realizing that I probably didn't need that much for only 4 potatoes, I emptied the contents of the bowl into the baking dish with the butter on the bottom. I then poured in tap water until the pan was about 1/3 full.

Baked at 400 degrees F, it took about an hour for the potatoes to be golden and cooked thoroughly through. The recipe says 45 minutes, so if you try this yourself, start at 45 and go from there.

There was definitely too much liquid when the potatoes were finished, so I drained the remainder into a Tupperware to use later on something else. The potatoes were really quite tasty. Maybe a little too lemony since I'd used too much, but still I liked the flavor! And next time I know to use less. The combination of lemon, oregano, and oil was spot on, and finding something new to do with the mountain of potatoes on top of my fridge was very satisfying. Definitely something I could use for a large gathering, like a picnic. Or game night. Whatever.

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