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Take Meyer lemons beyond cookies


Lemon with potatoes? When it's a Meyer lemon, the answer is yes. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)
Recipe: Brighten potatoes with zesty additions



My little Meyer lemon tree this year has produced just seven gorgeous fruits, so I'm doing my best to honor each one.

I'm done making cookies for awhile, however, so I went looking for other ways to use the Meyer's sweet floral zest and juice. I ran across a potato recipe from Bobby Flay that has no butter and just a bit of crème fraîche; a Meyer lemon and some fresh herbs provide the oomph.

This is a delicious side dish recipe, particularly wonderful with firm fish such as salmon. My change was to skip peeling the potatoes, which have thin skins anyway. If you can't find crème fraîche, use drained plain yogurt or even sour cream. Change up the herbs, if desired, but don't leave out the parsley.

Meyers have thinner skins than Eureka lemons. A microplane zester gets the
peel off without digging into the white pith underneath.
Also, you could skip the vinaigrette altogether, since the basic flavors are in the potatoes, or use just half of it, saving the rest for a salad or to pour over your broiled chicken or fish.

Meyer lemon and herb potatoes
Adapted from a recipe by Bobby Flay
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

For the potatoes:
2 pounds gold potatoes, such as Yukon gold, washed and diced
Kosher salt
1/2 cup crème fraîche, drained plain yogurt or sour cream
Finely grated zest of 1 Meyer lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
Ground black pepper

For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons Meyer lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

Instructions:

Put the diced potatoes in a 4-quart saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and bring pot to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until fork-tender. (For me this was about 10 minutes, but it will depend on the size the potatoes were diced.)

The finished not-quite-mashed potatoes have the vinaigrette poured over the top.
While the potatoes cook, make the vinaigrette. Whisk together the lemon juice and mustard in a small bowl or glass measuring cup until combined. Slowly add the olive oil until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley and oregano; set aside.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain well, then return them to the pan and put back over low heat, stirring a few times, to dry them well. Add the crème fraîche, lemon zest, parsley, oregano and chives. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently crush with a potato masher until combined. If desired, at this point potatoes may be covered and kept in a warm oven for up to 30 minutes.

To serve, transfer to a warmed bowl and drizzle with some or all of the vinaigrette while still hot.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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