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June 03, 2009

My Latest Favorite Cookbook and the Perfect Summer Potatoes

Well, there goes another month without a post! Oops.

It's no secret that I am a cookbook junkie, so I have no problem admitting that one of my favorite pastimes is spending hours pouring through the pages of a new cookbook, imagining how each dish will taste. Whenever I hear of a cookbook that sounds interesting, I will request it from the library and spend the next few weeks trying out recipes to see if it's worth buying. I did that last summer with Moosewood Simple Suppers, and I have renewed it so many times since that the librarians are starting to get suspicious. When they won't let me renew it anymore, I return it and then check it out again. It spends so much time at my house that it's almost like I'm lending it to them when it goes back. It's with them right now, and I'm starting to go through withdrawal.

Because we're on a limited budget, I've been scouring the cookbook shelves at second hand stores, hoping to spy a used copy, and sending out not-so-subtle hints whenever a birthday or other gifty holiday rolls around, but so far, no luck.

I've got lots of other Moosewood cookbooks (these are the ones put out by the restaurant, not Mollie Katzen), but this one is special. The premise of the book is that this is the food the chefs from the restaurant make when they're cooking at home. Quick, simple and delicious, and boy are they ever. Within the first couple of weeks of using the book, I cooked from it almost every day. Favorite recipes include Roasted Ratatouille, Rarebit Risotto, Greek Fritatta, and the one I'm going to talk about today - Potatoes with Lemon and Capers.

I can't get enough of these. They're fast, light (not heavy like other potato dishes), and sooo yummy - the perfect side to any summer meal.

Potatoes with Lemon and Capers:
  • 4 or 5 potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds - I prefer waxy ones like Yukon Gold or Red)
  • a lemon
  • 1 tbsp capers, or more to taste (I use about 3 tbsps because we love capers)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While you're waiting, scrub or peel the potatoes, and cut into one inch cubes (you can leave them whole if using baby potatoes). Add to boiling water and cook until knife tender, about 5 - 7 minutes (don't overcook them or they'll fall apart).

Zest the lemon into a large bowl, being careful not to get the pith (the white part underneath). Juice the lemon and add 2 tablespoons of the juice to your bowl. Add the cooked potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil. Toss. Add salt and pepper to taste.


I almost always double the recipe so that I have leftovers to make potato salad with the next day, which is almost better than the original recipe. Just stir some mayonnaise into the cold potatoes and serve. Ooh baby!

I hope you'll try them, and that they become as much of a favorite for your family as they have for ours!


8 comments:

Carla said...

Another great cookbook, if you can get your hands on it, is the new Whitewater cookbook. The first one was fabulous. One of those books where every recipe is fabulous. But I'm going have to check out this one now.

Marjon said...

Hello Cheryl,

Longtime fan here from New Zealand, who still very much enjoys your posts, even if they're a bit more sporadic :o) You shifted to your bit of land about the same time as we also (unexpectedly) did, and I can very much relate to the long list of "to dos" and the tight budget!

I must admit I would also love to see an update on your "Free Range Learning" blog, as we're unschoolers too and I would be very interested to see how the move has affected that side of your lives, and what you've been learning about :o) No pressure! ;oD

Cheryl said...

Carla - I didn't know there was a new one out!! I'll have to look for it.
I actually almost posted the granola bar recipe from the first book yesterday, they're quickly becoming a staple for us.

Marion - Thanks for your message! I have been meaning to update the other blog, as the kids have been up to some really fun stuff. Thanks for the nudge! :D

Michelle Ellis said...

it's like you know I have a cookbook thing and you taunt me(:

running now to check if the library has it(:

Michelle Ellis said...

and score!

my library has it and I'm on the way to go and get it this afternoon(:

I have one for you:

"The New Cookbook for Poor Poets and Others" by Ann Rogers

it's an old one but I've just rediscovered it in my collection. Her main tennants...bread and wine and always use butter.

What's not to love about that?

Cheryl said...

Michelle - I guess it takes one to know one. ;D
The book you mentioned sounds great, but our library system doesn't seem to have it! I'll keep my eyes open.

dawn said...

They do sound yummy. I don't know if I have tried capers before. I think in a restaurant once. I actually bought some once to use in a recipe, then the fell over on the shelf, and the jar leaked and they were a mess and there was rust or something so I threw them away because something wasn't right. Now I will have to buy some again because I have a recipe to put them in.

Cheryl said...

Dawn - They're delicious, kind of peppery and pickley at the same time. If you can find a good Greek or Italian grocer they'll be a lot cheaper (although I think Costco has them too).

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