9 January 2011

The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Recently) Challenge...Aglaia Kremezi's Greek Lemon and Oregano Potatoes

If you have been following More Than Burnt Toast you will know that I have been creating personal challenges based on a theme to infuse new life into my cooking adventures. Even every day food should always be an adventure either with new ideas, or experimenting with a new cuisine. Every day we should be excited about what we are eating even if it just means making use of a wonderful find at our local markets for our favourite comfort foods.With these personally imposed challenges my own culinary skills have been rejuvenated and back on track and I am once again inspired.

My inspiration comes from so many different places... cookbooks, your blogs, the Internet, magazines, restaurants and friends. With the birth of a New year this is the perfect time to pump up our kitchens into high gear and celebrate cooking!

 I would like to invite you to share the "Best Thing You Ever Ate" (recently) with the rest of the blogging world. Is there a dish that you've created or recreated in 2010 that knocked your socks off; or perhaps your mom or dad make the best "something" in the whole world; perhaps you had a dish at a local restaurant that you can't live without and would like to create in your own kitchen?????

Recipe to follow...

Resurrect your best dish or dishes and submit them to More Than Burnt Toast at bestdisheverate(AT)gmail(DOT)com by midnight February 15th. Your dish can be anything from a cocktail to dessert  The only requirement is that it is one of the "Best Things You Ever Ate" (recently)!!!!! You can send in a dish that you have previously posted as well but you will need to repost it with a link back to this challenge. Please use the Avatar "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" above, if you wish, along with a little story about why this is the best thing you have ever eaten (recently) and link back to http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/. I will round-up all of your outstanding dishes the last week in February. 

To start us off I am starting with a simple dish that no matter how often I prepare it is always well received. For those of you who read More Than Burnt Toast my love of potatoes is legendary!! L'il Burnt Toast makes these Patates Riganates as well and if the sign of a good dish is by how many times you are asked for the recipe then this is the ultimate!!!!The recipe comes from renowned cookbook author Aglaia Kremezi. Aglaia and her husband Costas Moraitis live and work on the island of Kea an hour's ferry ride off the coast of mainland Greece. Together they run a cooking school Keartisanal on the island with hiking the extensive and well-kept network of trails and ancient old stone-paved paths and old mule roads as a past time. Exploring the island on foot for history and nature walks, snorkelling and visiting local restaurants and artisans, and cultivating instant friendships is what a culinary vacation is all about. I can't believe it has been almost four years since I visited and sat for long hours enjoying local wine and cuisine under their pergola, because it seems like yesterday it is so vivid in my mind.

 Kea boasts a long history and despite its proximity to Greece's capital, the island has remained quite unchanged. It has great alcoves with blue-green waters, a rare ancient oak forest nested in the slopes of the tall central mountain ridge, and a mysterious smiling lion carved around 600 BC onto a gray rock the size of a small whale. A rich archaeological past is manifested by the remains of ancient classical cities as well as earlier neolithic settlements. I remember the day I arrived and walked up the long steep hill to the Hora moments from my lodging...a town where no cars are allowed. At the top of the long climb was a small taverna where I stopped for a late lunch. I watched the school children walk by with their happy faces, teasing each other and calling out to their neighbours sitting in the restaurant having a visit. This day I had a vegetable dish called Briam made of zucchini, tomato and potatoes. As I sat there watching the world go by I felt like I could be there forever...like I wanted to be there forever. The next eight days on the island were filled with forging new friendships, creating innovative dishes from fresh ingredients and herbs collected from Aglaia's garden, hiking to ancient ruins...and so much more.

Aglaia says, "Few people can resist these potatoes, which are capable of stealing the show from any food they accompany - so make sure you have plenty for seconds. Although it is served all over Greece this dish is particularly good on islands like Naxos, where the local potatoes have an exceptional taste. On the special days when a leg of lamb or a chicken is roasted, the potatoes are cooked in its juices. If you want to cook this dish using small potatoes, there is no need to peel them, but I suggest that you halve them, because they taste better when they can absorb more sauce." These potatoes will whisk you off to warmer climates. Close your eyes and you can hear the calming rush of the sea and if you listen really hard...you can hear bazooka music playing in the background...and maybe the bleat of a far off goat. Is that Kostis coming around the bay in his traditional caique "Soultana"?? Better get ready for another adventure......

Patates Riganates (Aglaia Kremezi's Greek and lemon Potatoes)

**PATATES RIGANATES (Aglaia Kremezi's Greek and Lemon Potatoes)**
This recipe is excerpted from Aglaia Kremezi's book The Foods of the Greek Islands.

3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1- 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1- 1/2 tsp dried oregano, crumbled
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup beef stock or chicken stock
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice ( I throw the lemon skins in as well during cooking)
2-3 Tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the potatoes in a single layer in a 13-x-9-inch baking dish and pour the oil over them. Add the garlic, dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste and toss well to coat with the oil.

Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes. Add the stock, toss and bake for 10 minutes more. Add the lemon juice (and lemon skins if using), toss and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through. If you like, preheat the broiler and broil the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

Sprinkle with the fresh oregano and serve at once.


Dissolve 1 tablespoon tomato paste in the stock, and reduce the amount of lemon juice to taste. Substitute Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes for the black pepper.

Serves 6 - 8

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. Oregano, lemon and potatoes...one of the holiest of trinities.

  2. Sounds like a fun event. My New Year's Eve dinner was a standout but I'm leaving the door open in case something else spectacular passes these lips before the deadline. I hope you'll be posting reminders.

  3. I don't cook potatoes very often, but then I see recipes like this and feel like I should! Happy New Year to you! ; )

  4. I am totally with you on the idea that the lowly little potato often steals the show. This sounds fun; I'll have to give it some thought. It's going to be hard to come up with "the best." After all, just like you we all eat good.

  5. Oh I love the sound of this challenge and shall have to put my thinking cap on! These potatoes sound divine - I am a huge potato fan too.

  6. I bought some nice potatoes at the farmers' market this morning, so I am ready to try your recipe. I like all the ingredients and I like the idea of a seemingly humble dish that steals the show.

  7. Oh oh...picking the best of anything always stresses me out because so much is dependent on context (how hungry I am, the mood I am in, etc...). I'll have to brainstorm with Giz on this one.

  8. What fun!!! I've been following the t.v. series by the same name. I have just the thing for this challenge. I'm in.

    Love the potatoes - for some reason I've never really and truly mastered Greek potatoes and can't figure out why.

  9. There are so many fabulous things I've eaten, now I have to think of the best???? Time to put my thinking cap on.

  10. Thanks Val. Hopefully I will have shaken the holiday blues soon and will post my entry!!! Hope you are well!

  11. The humble potato raised to new heights! I'll be doing this when the new potatoes come in the spring.... and my oregano is back!
    Now I shall ponder the best thing I ever ate.... Hmmmm

  12. Taters, oregano & lime... can't get better than this Val. I love how yummily you brought this together. May I enter my recent savoury puff pastry for your event? It was the 'Best Thing We Ever Ate' of late. In fact Mr PAB said, 'Don't make this again. It's too good to eat just one, and I feel greedy asking for more!'
    Happy New Year Val...

  13. What a fun challenge! I love how simple this dish is...potatoes are the bread and butter of the earth...and yet can be so addictively delicious!

  14. I have been making this exact recipe for years and can vouch for how fabulous the potatoes come out!
    Gosh, there are so many 'best things' lol!
    Happy New Year & best wishes for 2011!

  15. A really fun challenge, Val. So difficult to decide, too. Best thing I ever ate covers a lot of territory (and I'm pretty old)...and it could be something my grandmother made that I never blogged about. (You can tell I had something in mind.) The avatar is adorable. I'll be thinking....hmmmm.

    You can't beat the combo of potatoes, lemon, garlic and oregano. And the most important part? Roasting! I like my taters brown!

  16. Those potatoes look absolutely perfect! YUM!

  17. What a lovely recipe, Val. I can see why you like it so. The challenge sounds like great fun. Hopefully time and intent will be in sync and I can join in. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

  18. I love this idea, but my problem is that I can't just select ONE of way too many dishes that I love! LOL!

  19. Did I ever mention how I wouldn't mind taking a bath in mashed potatoes. LOL. I can't seem to get enough of them, however, I do my best to be reasonable ;o)

    Great event you've got going on and good luck on selecting the best of...that would probably be a tall order for me ;O)

    Ciao for now,

  20. We are eating less and less meat and this sounds like a perfect meatless dish. Oh take me to Greece the next time you go..in the meantime I'll make this for dinner. Beautiful pictures of the dish.

  21. val. you are the challenge queen, and that's all there is to it. this is a great dish--simple yet satisfying. my favorite.

  22. These potatoes sound wonderfully flavorful with oregano! I've tried to replicate the best thing i've ever had which were some of the dishes from Joel Robuchon's at the Mansion restaurant but not especially successfully, maybe i will try again :)

  23. Isn't it funny how the simplest foods are the best, allowing the flavours of each individual ingredient to shine through?? Will definitely try to make something for this event!

  24. Your description is irresistible, Val. I'm sure the wonderful flavors in this dish could transport me back to Greece with no trouble at all. We love potatoes and this recipe without lots of cream and cheese will help us stay on a healthier diet.

  25. I should make it. I love potato dishes. Really nice Val.

  26. My son is always asking for me to make potatoes in every way possible... haven't tried this one yet, so it's being added to the list! Fabulous!

  27. Yum--the combination of lemon and fresh oregano sounds mouthwatering. I'm stickin' this in my files to make soon!

  28. Reading your experiences of Greece always leaves me eager for more and yet dripping with envy. I've been so few places.

    Trying to think of the best thing I ever ate is so hard. I'm so wishy washy and love so many foods. There is a world of food out there. What's the best?

    I'm not a big potato lover, so I"m always looking for ways to make them more interesting. This looks like a great recipe. I have yet to try lemon with potatoes. I saw that combination on Kalofagas a while back and meant to try it and never did. Once again I am reminded that I have to go for it!

  29. This will be a great event! I am looking forward o reading and discovering new recipes. Love it!


  30. Oh I do love potatoes- these sound wonderful. :) That sounds like a fun challenge. I love so many foods, it would be hard to choose!

  31. I love that you add the lemon skins to this dish while it cooks, Val. :-) Wow - it must smell absolutely HEAVENLY!!!

  32. I'm with Peter on the flavor combo -- oh, my. It's early here, the sky is still dark and I'm wanting these potatoes for breakfast! You've also got me dreaming of a vacation on a Greek island, something I've always wanted to do, but can't talk my husband into : (. Thanks for shring it!

  33. YUM - I love potatoes cooked like this. It is a shame that we don't cook more Greek foods - that end of the Med Sea has such an exotic fusion of easter and western foods.

    I'll have to recycle my earlier post about those blue cheese souffles for the best thing I've eaten recently.

  34. These potatoes look so good! I typically mix in oregano and garlic, but I'll have to try lemon too.

  35. A great challenge Val..love how you keep on "mixing things up" to make it more interesting. I'm not going to argue with this dish...it's been with me since I was breastfeeding!

  36. This is such a fun challenge, Val! And your potatoes do sound fantastic...love the flavor combo :)

  37. I LOVE potatoes and this looks luscious! You might consider sharing it further on the Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent Sat party (open till ~noon Mondays).

    I have flagged this recipe to give it a try soon.

  38. I can't imagine a potato that I wouldn't love and these sound delicious!

    Best thing I ever ate. Hmmm, I'll have to think about that! Great idea.


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