Potatoes. Oregano. Feta. Lemon. HELL YEAH. I picked up almost all of this from Trader Joe’s for under $10, and most of the rest of it I already had in my pantry. Good, cheap, filling side dish. And made of noms.

Crispy Oregano Smashed Potatoes with Feta and Lemon
Makes enough for 2 with leftovers, even more so for 1

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs mixed baby potatoes (I went with red, honestly)
  • 2 meyer lemons, quartered (original recommends half a lemon, it can do with more)
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 6 cloves minimum garlic, minced (original recommends 2 max. come on.)
  • .25 c dried oregano (original recommends fresh, I used my dried leaves, and it still packs a good punch)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 T grated parmesan cheese (I used parmigianno reggiano from TJ’s that I had on hand)
  • 6 oz feta crumbles (I just went with the max on this, also skipped fresh basil)

Preheat your oven to 425. On a large baking sheet, toss together 1 T olive oil, the lemons, potatoes, and a pinch of sea salt.

Original recipe recommends roasting for 20 minutes, but depending on the size of your potatoes, this can take up to 35 minutes. Be sure to remove the lemons after the 20 minutes, though, and let them rest. Check on the potatoes every ten minutes after twenty minutes, and see which are tender enough to stick a fork into. If they’re ready, use the back of the fork to smash to about a quarter-inch thickness (see pic 3), and let the smashed potatoes roast with the ones that aren’t quite ready yet.

In the time between checking on your potatoes, combine your minced garlic, 2 T olive oil, and oregano in a small bowl (see pic 2). Once your potatoes are all smashed, spoon the mixture over them (pic 5), and then sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper and your parmesan over them, and roast another 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden and crisp (pic 7).

While they roast, finely chop your lemon, peel and all (pic 4), and add to a small bowl with the remaining 1 T olive oil and a pinch of salt (pic 6).

Once you remove the potatoes from the oven, put them in a large bowl and toss them with the roasted lemon dressing and feta (pic 8), and enjoy!

Spring is here, which means it’s asparagus and citrus season! Looking for something to combine those two things? Then look no further than this. You can pick up asparagus from the farmer’s market for super cheap, along with an orange and lemon for cheap, and with the juices they release while roasting, combined with the butter and olive oil here, and the end result is pure amazingness. Hell, you could also probably do this well on a grill. 

Citrus Butter Roasted Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed (original recipe recommends two bunches, may try it with 2 lbs next time)
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 1 blood orange, sliced thin (I used tarocco, because it was on sale, cara cara and clementines also work)
  • 4 T butter, split into 1 T pieces
  • 2 T olive oil
  • .5 c grated parmigiano-reggiano (or parmesan)
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 400. Take your lemon and orange slices, and asparagus, and lay it together on a foil-lined sheet pan. Drizzle the olive oil over it, and layer the butter slices on top of it, while sprinkling with the parmigiano-reggiano, sea salt, and pepper. 

Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes, tossing occasionally, until your asparagus is tender, and ever so slightly charred. And then, enjoy the citrusy asparagus goodness!

Looking for a quick dinner to throw together in under a half hour – or, if you’re me, the night before you roll out to a vacation you only just got approved for the day before? Or for something super simple? Or super cheap? Or summery feeling? Really, you can’t go wrong with this. I didn’t quite have all the ingredients for this, or follow the directions exactly, but it still worked out pretty damn well, I’d say. 

Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil

Ingredients

  • 1 lb spaghetti (if you can find pot-sized spaghetti, it’s going to help lots)
  • sea salt
  • 3 lemons, zested and juiced (about .5 c lemon juice)
  • .25 c olive oil
  • .25 c heavy whipping cream (I tried to substitute just milk, forgot to add melted butter to thicken it, whoops)
  • .5 c grated Parmesan cheese (or parmigiano reggiano, if you have it on hand)
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • dried Greek oregano

Heavily salt your water, bring to a boil, and cook according to your pasta’s directions. While the water comes to a boil/the pasta cooks, zest and juice your lemons. 

Once the pasta’s done, drain your pasta, but retain about 1.5 c of pasta cooking water (I didn’t do this. whoops.)  Take the same pot you made the pasta in, dry it out, and then boil the olive oil, whipping cream, lemon zest, and 1 c of the reserved cooking water together for two minutes. Return your drained pasta to the pot, and toss until completely coated. Add the cheese and lemon juice back in, and toss to coat completely again, adding in a bit of extra sea salt, pepper, and the oregano, if you’re so inclined. 

And then, enjoy your simple, citrusy, summery pasta!

So, when I originally made this, I didn’t have quite the right quantities for doing so (I think I only had half the necessary rice and tried to reduce accordingly), but what I got out of it was pretty good, and I definitely want to try making this again. Seems like a perfect spring type recipe, with the lemon, and especially with the herb garden I want to get going out here. 

Baked Risotto with Finnes Herbes and Lemon

Ingredients

  • 3 T butter, divided
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts finely chopped and well washed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2.5 t sea salt
  • .5 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5 c arborio rice
  • 1.25 c dry white wine
  • 3.5 to 4 c chicken stock, warmed
  • .5 c Parmesan cheese (I used parmigiano reggiano)
  • .5 t fresh lemon zest
  • (original recipe recommends .25 c fresh parsley, 3 T finely sliced chives, and 1 T coarsely chopped fresh tarragon, I think I did a bunch of dried parsley and tarragon, going to try that again once fresh herbs are more in season)

Preheat your oven to 425. Keep your chicken stock warm in a separate nearby pot. While your oven preheats, take a large (roughly 2 qt, I used this to break in my new dutch oven) baking dish, and lightly butter it. If you’re me, what you’ll do is just use that dutch oven for everything, making this a one-pot meal. If you don’t have a baking dish that’s stovetop usable, grab a separate pot. Whatever you end up cooking in, melt 2 T butter over medium heat. Once melted, add your chopped leek and onion, sea salt, and pepper, and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally, which should take around 10 minutes.

Then, add your rice. Stir to coat in the butter, and cook until the rice starts toasting (you’ll get a nice nutty smell, and it sizzles and pops a bit), about two minutes or so. Then, add your wine, increase the heat to medium-high, and simmer until almost completely absorbed, about three minutes total. (And yes, in accordance with the other risotto recipes, you absolutely need to drink the rest of the bottle of wine for science.)  Then, add 3 c of chicken stock, bring everything back to a simmer, and either just put it straight in the oven, or, if you needed a separate dish, put it in that. 

Bake your risotto for five minutes at a time, stirring every five minutes, for fifteen minutes total, until the stock is completely absorbed into the risotto. (See the difference between pictures 3 and 4.) Remove from the oven, and stir in your herbs of choice, the remaining 1 T butter, the parmesan, and the lemon zest. Then add the remaining .5 to 1 c chicken stock slowly, and stir until the rice is creamy. Season to taste with more sea salt and pepper, and enjoy!