Category Archives: How to

Greek Lemon Roasted Potatoes

Part of a recipes collection.

This was part of dinner last week – yum! I don't have the exact proportions in front of me so you'll want to be prepared to improvise. 

Potatoes, peeled, cut to quarters; to fill lasagna pan; redskins would do well
Juice of 3 lemons, fresh squeezed juice not stuff from bottles if you have it 
Greek oregano (though Mexican oregano worked OK too)
Olive oil

Preheat oven to a good roasting temperature (450+ degrees).

Put the potatoes in the lasagna pan. Mix lemon juice, water, oregano, oil together; you are after something like a salad dressing, but since you're baking it the water will go away, so make sure there's enough oil. Besides, olive oil is good for you.

Pour the dressing over the potatoes, mix until everything is coated. Put in oven. Roast until starting to turn brown, about 40-50 minutes depending on your oven and your potatoes. If you don't have a lot of oil in the dressing, you may need to turn to keep things from sticking.

I'll bet it would be good to put a couple of organic lemon halves in there too to roast along with everything.

Remove from oven, test for doneness. Eat. Yum. Also good cold.

Some other lemon roasted potato recipes, for comparison:
Corby's Table from The Atlantic Monthly has a patates riganates recipe from a review of Aglaia Kremezi's "Foods of the Greek Islands"
Sandi's Recipe Corner, adds stock
Cook'n, adds dill and roasts over wood chips
Autumn Jade, basically the same with exact proportions
Global Gourmet calls these patates riganates and adds garlic
"Cream Puffs in Venice" has some lemony spuds for you, adapted from Cook This by Amy Rosen.

and I'm sure there are more recipes to be had!


One more recipe to go with this if you have any cold leftovers. Put a bed of spring mixed greens on a plate; I like the Asian mix we found at Farmer's Market. Cut some of these potatoes up and put on top. Add diced cubed cold roasted beets for color and flavor. Dress with some of the lemon-oil mix, with a little red wine vinegar added. Yum.

Technorati Tags: , ,


Washing machine has a hose leak? How to repair it.

There are a couple of good sites for information about do-it-yourself washing machine repair. Ours had a leak, which I think I traced to a tiny hole in the low-pressure drain hose that was fixable with a pipe tape that the good folks at Stadium Hardware helped me find. Let's hope the repair holds!

I used the Family Handyman's How To Repair a Leaking Washing Machine as my guide. The pinhole sized leak was in the middle of the low-pressure drain hose, where a rusty piece of bracket had wedged itself against the hose and slowly caused it to get a pinhole sized hole. The repair was made with Duck Brand Wrap-Fix Tape, a self-fusing silicone tape that says it's good to 100 PSI. And Stadium Hardware (Arborwiki link) is a marvelous store, with helpful folks and a seemingly infinite supply of parts for every hardware need.

Now let's just hope the repair holds! The next step, if it doesn't, is to replace that hose entirely. Repair Clinic has about 70 different GE washing machine hose parts available; I haven't yet identified the exact part. 

Please note that the repair for the high-pressure supply hose would be very different, as noted in the comment below. The Family Handyman guide referenced above suggests getting a metallic no-burst supply hose similar to this one from Fluidmaster to replace any worn, corroded, or leaky supply hoses. Supply lines run at much higher pressure than drain lines.

Link blogging, from pinboard?

Once upon a time this blog featured (?) a daily link dump from delicious. It was completely automated, so that once a day something got dumped in. I don't know if anyone read it except search engines, but it was a handy way to replicate some content.

There must be a way to do this from pinboard, which is what I am using now, but I don't see a one-click from the pinboard FAQ.


Checklists, eptitude, how to get things right – Atul Gawande

The Checklist Manifesto; review in the New York Times.


How to Get Things Right

Atul Gawande

Excerpt from Freakonomics review

Even more interesting are the stories about Walmart’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and the real reason why David Lee Roth used to demand that there be a bowl of M&M’s with all the brown ones removed in his dressing room backstage.

Times Online review

The surgeon-author was on the track of what might be described as a classic magic bullet — a low-tech way in a high-tech, expensive world in which lives might be saved and costs reduced. Gawande, using his own word, was searching for “eptitude” — the business of making sure that those with knowledge applied it effectively.

Google books preview

First chapter is free; and it includes the word "eptitude".

Checklist for checklists

The following checklist is designed to aid the checklist creation process and ensure that your checklist helps instead of hurts.  It was created by Dr. Atul Gawande, the Brigham and Women's Hospital Center for Surgery and Public Health Dissemination Team, and Dan Boorman of Boeing."

The nicest wiki implementation of checklists I've seen is at Sunshine Review, using the MediaWiki dpl extension.

emptying out my inbox into my blog

Every so often the inbox is full and the blog is empty; this is an attempt to remedy that.

How to do an introduction online.  X, meet Y; Y, meet X.  X is notable for a1, a2, a3; Y is notable for b1, b2, b3.  You have a mutual interest in c1, c2, c3; you should connect.  There are several of those pending.

How to make the best of not responding to mail promptly.  Answer long, hoping that your thoughtfulness makes up for your tardiness.  Follow up with a new question, assuming that anything that went more than some period of time – two weeks, a month, or more – was overtaken by events and you want to be seen as having good follow up skills.

How much inbox is too much inbox.  Inbox zero, for sure, in someone's dreams.  I'm generally happier when the bottomless queue reaches 100 or less, since it seems more likely that each one might represent a chance to connect with someone in particular.  There's also a time duration beyond which it makes more sense to start afresh than it does to reply.

Distraction, scatter, gather, focus, discardia: a five part cycle

Herein a recipe for producing what looks like some kind of careful long term reasonable insight into a question, but what is really a coping strategy for the complete inability to be attentive to anything for very long.

Be distracted away from the thing you are supposed to be doing; that part is pretty easy.  Wander off randomly into the wilderness of recent changes to the Internet or a random page in your personal knowledge management heap or some long-dusty book in Google Books.  Note some small fragment of something that isn't at all relevant to what everyone else seems to be looking at right now but that somehow temporarily holds your interest long enough to compose a few paragraphs with a few links.  Write about it here; try with desperation to find a category it should already belong to so that it has some illusion of continuity with what you have been doing all along.  Hit "save", hit "publish", and return to the task at hand.

Scatter your attention all over the Internet to a range of places where recent changes seem to be more predominant.  Post to Twitter, or Facebook, or your favorite online newspaper's best reader comments section, or to some seasonally or topically appropriate blog where you know that the author welcomes your readership.  Be outwardly visible and pay attention to someone else, something else, some place other than yourself.  Make the rounds of the usual places and hit a few new ones.  Stop before everyone is asleep.

Gather up things you have written on a topic, things captured during previous distractions or scattered to the four winds.  If there is a search engine, search for your own long-forgotten commentary on something, and collect it back to somewhere central.  If all you have is paper, leaf through it steadily and methodically until inevitably that journal yields a relevant fragment.   Pile up the fragments, enumerate them, list them out carefully as though they were bits of papyrus needing careful reassembly.  See what you might have known in the past and re-know it, relearn it.

Then, when all of the distract-scatter-gather process has all been put into motion, can you focus on that one thing you have been getting ready to do all this time.  Come back to what you have gathered up and re-assess the work as a whole.  Allow yourself to work methodically through the work you have gathered together, to pull it apart, to see what the whole set looks like and not just little bits of it.   Pull through everything that is relevant and stitch it all together into something new, something that lasts longer than a simple short distraction but that hold and sustain a concentrated narrative with examples and ideas and themes and notions pulled out from a long time.

The whole process should run on some cycle appropriate for the task or the season.  As I write, I think about the quarterly holiday of Discardia, where you celebrate letting go, and of all of the distracted and scattered thinking I have about that event that culminates in an every three months deliberate effort to tidy things up.  The collected effort of pulling things together means not only that you have everything in mind but also that you can free yourself of the distractions that eventually got you here – and that you get, periodically, a chance to edit out some randomness and make it look like you are more organized and orderly than your easily-distracted nature would allow.

This season's Discardia holiday is coming up on June 20-22, 2009.