September 23, 2005
Lemon Rice and Potatoes with Veggie Kabobs

Lemon lemon lemon, lemon lemon, lemon lemon lemon. Lemon adds a nice lift to almost any food. Earlier this week, I had a taste for lemon and an idea to infuse the flavor into a couple of my favorite starches.

There are three recipes here, but the first one we can dispense with quickly. Veggie kabobs - cut up some veggies into big bite sized pieces, stick them on skewers that have been soaked in water for 30 minutes, brush with olive oil, season lightly with pepper and salt and bake or grill for 10-25 minutes until they are appropriately done. Fine. One recipe down - let's get to the lemony stuff.

Lemon rice was the first thing I thought of. There is an Indian lemon rice dish that is fairly well known. This isn't that dish, though I did add some spices (tumeric, mustard seed) that would be perfectly at home in Indian food.

It's a constant source of amazement to me that so many Old World cuisines are defined by ingredients from the New World. It's hard to imagine; Italian cuisine without tomatoes, or Irish food without potatoes? It's just as hard for me to imagine Greek food without a lemony potato.

Real Greek lemon potatoes are less crispy than these, but the olive oil and lemon combination with potatoes would have been at home in ancient Athens. If they had somehow procured potatoes. From the Andes. In South America. Hmmph.

Lemon Rice
3 cups cooked fluffy long-grained rice, cooled.
Zest of one lemon
juice of two lemons
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
1 tablespoon tumeric
1/2 white onion, diced
1 anaheim chile, diced
salt to taste
you also may need a small quantity of water

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and pepper and sautee until softened. Add the mustard seeds and fry until they start to "pop".

Add the rice to the bowl and stir well. Add lemon juice and tumeric and stir well again. If the rice seems too dry you may add a small quantity of water. Start with 1/4 cup at most adding more if abslutely necessary. Stir, reduce heat, and cover. Let warm until rice is warmed through - no more than 4 or 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and stir well. Salt to taste. Serve.

Lemon potatoes
3 Idaho baking potatoes or another starchy potato.
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
optional - herbs
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 500 F. Yes, 500 F.

Wash the potatoes well, but don't peel them. Cut up the potatoes into 2" chunks, all approximately the same size so they cook at about the same rate.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, turning up the edges just a little to make a bowl out of the foil that will hold liquids in. You should use the smallest baking sheet you can that will still allow the potatoes to be spread in a single layer.

Put the potato chunks in a big bowl and pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the spuds. Add salt, pepper, and chopped herbs if you wish. Toss the potatoes in the oil and lemon juice until they are all coated well.

With a slotted spoon, lay the potatoes out on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Pour the liquid left in the bottow of the bowl over the potatoes. As they cook, the spuds will be steamed by the liquid and soak up some of it.

Bake for 40-55 minutes at 500 F. After 25 minutes, flip the potatoes with a pair of tongs. Check for doneness at 40 minutes, but let them go until they have a crispy crust and a nicely steamed interior.

Serve hot, and don't plan on having any leftovers.

The final result will be crispy, lemony, and delicious.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at September 23, 2005 7:42 AM | TrackBack Print-friendly version

Barrett, those potatoes sound very similar to one my favourite Nigel Slater recipes - Roast potatoes with lemon and thyme. Yum. You might want to try another of his, which involves tossing them with lemon juice and olive oil and then 15-20 minutes before they are done baking covering them with mushrooms and soft breadcrumbs. Even MORE yum. Especially if you live in France and it's fall and you can get the variety of teeny tiny mushrooms (name escapes me) that you just scatter over the potatoes without even cutting them.

That's it - I'm going to the market tomorrow!

Posted by Meg in Paris on September 23, 2005 at 10:51 AM

Wow, nice one, Barrett, it looks great.

Posted by the pragmatic chef™ on September 27, 2005 at 12:49 PM
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