Daylight hours, to me, are the ultimate luxury. Getting to choose your activities in the middle of the day—particularly between the hours of nine and five—is the kind of freedom I dream about and the kind that makes me look out my office window longingly sometimes, wondering where the passing cars are headed to at 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s a classic grass-is-greener lie I’m telling myself, I know, but nonetheless it’s there.
That’s why I really love having a day off in the middle of the week. And today, there were plenty of things I could have done—my last haircut was October, people—but instead, I ambled around, playing with my blog HTML (then panicking when I had all but destroyed it), going to the post office (again!), calling and recalling my accountant, running to the library (and wasting too much time there) and going to the grocery store (really, who are all these people that shop in the middle of the day?).
Why is it that when I want time to pass quickly, it doesn’t, but when I want a day to linger, it disappears? This was my day to enjoy hours of free time and my choice of leisure, but before I knew it, it was past 5 PM and the chickens in the oven hadn’t even finished roasting. I’d also burned some kale, dropped everything from utensils to bits of garlic and developed a major strain in my neck from talking on the phone while trying to put together a recipe. In many ways, this would have been a failed day.
But for the potatoes.
You know how I feel about potatoes, of any kind, really. I can still practically taste those roasted red ones from last week, with their crispy skins and soft, fleshy insides. And today, in some act of serendipity or redemption, I mindlessly grabbed a bag of Dutch baby golds, not with any plan.
Have you had baby Dutch gold potatoes? Round and firm, with a light yellow skin, these small, creamy potatoes are hard not to love. In this particular recipe, the creamy texture of the insides comes out beautifully, infused with woodsy thyme and fresh citrus. Bits of garlic and olive oil thrown all over add to the appeal, and, I’m serious, one bite in, you’ll forget anything that’s frustrating you, whether it’s the smell of burnt produce you’ve just caused or the fact that you have to go back to work tomorrow.
Popping them into my mouth, one by one while I iced some cookies and then did dishes and then tried to make gravy, I honestly found them excellent therapy, a reminder that some things taste so close to perfection—so nicely seasoned and flavorful—that they make up for things that don’t. By the end of dinner, the whole bowl of them was gone, every last one but a few I salvaged. And when I eat them in my lunch tomorrow, even if I’m looking out my window at the passing cars, it will be with contentment.
Lemon Baby Potatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart
A note about the ingredients: The original recipe called for white wine, which I didn’t have, but an online resource said diluted white wine vinegar makes a reliable stand-in. I realize I can’t vouch for comparison value, so if you use the white wine, do let me know how you like it, but, really, it’s hard to imagine these tasting any better than they did.
1.5 pounds baby dutch gold potatoes
1 Tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon, plus more to taste
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought chicken stock
2 Tablespoons white white vinegar, diluted with water
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Cover potatoes with water in a pan. Add 1 tablespoon salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 10 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and halve lengthwise.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic, and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Add potatoes, cut sides down, and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Stir in stock, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until liquid is reduced by a third, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add thyme and butter, and stir until butter has melted. Stir in lemon juice, salt and pepper.