Thursday, July 14, 2011


For the first time in living memory, thanks to overlapping sleep-away summer camps, we have a kidless house.

It's been liberating and thrilling and romantic.  We snuck away for an overnight date.  Took long walks and lingered over dinners in restaurants our kids would have hated.   There may have even been some mortifying pda involved, since it turns out that I have a very cute and cuddly husband.

It's also incredibly unsettling.  I'm vague and aimless and foggy.  I'm forgetting things* and driving in circles.  Losing sleep and making busy work.  This time around, I'm at such a loss that I can't even bake.

I feel exposed.

Like part of me is walking around here with nothing on, while the rest of myself is out there in the world, going it alone and unprotected.  Both parts are vulnerable and nervous, scared and excited, brave and capable, but nonetheless out there.  Apart.

Completely, terrifyingly, exposed.

I know this is what parenting is.  And what growing up is.  Me letting go.  Them leaving the nest**.

But I'd still rather expose a couple of pounds of potatoes to a hot oven, and have the whole family sit down together, at home, and eat them.  So I'll be making these as soon as the kids get back.

Mustard and Garlic Roasted Potatoes
The trick to great roasted potatoes is to maximize the surface area that gets exposed to heat.  That means both cutting the potatoes into good shapes, and giving them enough room in the pan.  This simple strategy will pay off, big time, no matter what you choose to do in terms of flavoring.  Feel free to try different herbs, melted butter instead of olive oil, different salts, etc.  The mixture below is one of our favorites, as the mustard gives the potatoes a nice little kick to go with the garlic and smoked salt.

2 lbs. small Yukon gold potatoes
1/2 c. olive oil
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. smoked salt, if you have it, kosher salt if you don't
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Wash and scrub the potatoes, but leave the skin on.  Cut into quarters, or even smaller wedges if some potatoes are larger than others.  Basically, try to have uniformly sized pieces, with a lot of sides exposed.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, garlic, salt and a generous grating of pepper.

Stir in the potatoes, until completely coated. 

Turn into a large roasting pan, much bigger than you think you need. Spread the potatoes out, so they have lots of room.  

Roast for 35-40 minutes, without disturbing them, until they are deeply golden brown, salty and crispy on the outside, and melt in your mouth soft on the inside.  Serve immediately!

Click to Print this recipe!

* My camera, under a museum bench.  And one of my online passwords.  The password was recovered.  The camera was not.
** Nest photos courtesy of my sister.  She and my niece found this robin's nest in a flowerpot on their porch.  But in their case, the mommy bird was there helping her kids learn how to fly.


  1. I saw your recipe on Tasty Kitchen and had to stop by to check it out. It's great that you and your hubby get some time to yourselves! Even if it's causing you to feel slightly lost . . . =)

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  3. It was great, Jenna. But clearly I was in enough of a fog that it took me a while to get back here and thank you! Hope you enjoyed the potatoes!