There’s really not a story to go along with this dish – it’s just a tasty, easy dinner to throw together on a weeknight. The quick rosemary-shallot saute is so flavorful that it makes the dish seem much more complex and slow-cooked. If you portion this properly (and use no more than 6 ounces of chicken per serving) and serve it with a salad or a green vegetable, you’ll have a really delicious and healthy meal.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot. Add enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon salt, reduce heat, and simmer until tender, 14 to 16 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, drain the sweet potatoes, and return them to the pot. Mash with the reserved cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Season the chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until golden brown and cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes per side; transfer to plates.
Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, rosemary, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring, until the shallots are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve the chicken with the potatoes and drizzle with the shallot mixture.
Over Presidents’/Valentine’s Day weekend, one of my DC gal pals was scheduled to come to Atlanta and party it up. Alas, the shit-tastic winter weather screwed everything up, and she was unable to make the trip. Since we had already sent our pup to “camp” for a couple of days, Jason and I decided to take advantage of the lack of responsibility and head into the city for a dinner date. We bounced a lot of ideas around, but we settled on taking our inaugural trip to Holeman & Finch.
Why did it take us so long to visit this happenin’ Buckhead spot? Well, for starters, we had a pretty lousy experience at Restaurant Eugene, and both restaurants are owned and run by the same chef (Linton Hopkins). Yes, I know they are two separate concepts, and yes, I know that I could have easily hit RE on an off night, but there you have it – I was gun-shy after dropping triple-digits on a disappointing meal at Chef Hopkins’ other establishment, whether that was fair or not. Also, our “must-try” list has been seriously languishing since we moved to Gwinnett County, for obvious reasons. But I had finally heard enough wondrous and magical things about H&F – and its mysterious and much-discussed burger – to give it a go. And on Valentine’s weekend, no less!
We arrived at about 8 PM on Saturday night, and we only had to wait for a few minutes to snag a table in the bar area. The space is much smaller than I imagined, but the vibe is pretty comfortable. Our server was attentive and helpful from the start, and he brought me a great French white by the glass that was surprisingly affordable. The spirits list is creative yet accessible, so it should be fairly easy for folks to find something to suit them. As for the food, the plates are smaller so you can try a lot of things without breaking the bank. We started with the bread and salted butter, the deviled eggs three ways, and the crisp B&B pickles. The bread “box” consisted of Parker House rolls, a slice of pumpernickel, a slice of crusty baguette-type bread, and a slice of rye. The rolls and the pumpernickel were definitely the standouts – and the butter would have been as well, had it not been inconsistently salted (some bites were bland, and some were SUPER salty). I loved the deviled eggs, though I can’t for the life of me remember the “three ways.” I’m not normally a huge fan of bread and butter pickles, but these fried babies were absolutely delicious, especially when paired with the spicy mayo. Round one, overall, was a pretty resounding success.
Round two started with a perfectly-crafted Aviation cocktail for me, and a gin cocktail called the “Cloak and Swagger” for Jason. Delicious, both. As for food, we decided to do a fish course, ordering the pan-seared black bass with braised Vidalia onions and the fish and chips. The former was somewhat underwhelming – the fish was cooked perfectly and the overall flavor was nice, but I suspect that there were leeks accompanying the dish rather than Vidalias, and they were quite stringy and tough. The latter, however, was frickin’ fantastic. The fish was tender and flaky, and the batter was flavorful and just the right thickness. It was fried perfectly, with just the right amount of grease (come on, you gotta have SOME). The potato wedges were fine, but they needed some kind of sauce (besides the malt vinegar served with the fish). So round two was good, but we wanted to move on to something really special.
After ordering more drinks, Jason and I decided that round three would be all about offal (or, what is labeled on the H&F menu as “Parts”). We knew we wanted to try the gratin of marrow, but we were torn between the sweetbreads and one of the less commonly found choices. In the end, we let our server decide for us, and he brought us the peppercorn crusted veal hearts, served with a parsnip puree and a blood orange marmelade. I was quite hesitant at first, because as much as I love “parts,” some organ meat has that very metallic taste, like sucking on a penny (and clearly that doesn’t make me happy). Thankfully, the heart was rich and tender and not organy at all, kind of like eating a really high-quality steak. The star of the dish, though, was the parsnip puree – not only was it delicious, but it was the smoothest, lightest, most velvety puree I’ve ever encountered. I didn’t care for the blood orange marmelade (I found it bitter and overpowering), but Jason loved it. As for the marrow, I’m not sure I have the words to describe it. It was so ridiculously decadent and over the top, and it was just as good on its own as it was spread on bread and topped with a parsley and onion salad. Round three for the win!
We could have easily stopped at this point and been completely satisfied. That would have been the mature/smart/healthy thing to do. So, clearly, we did exactly the opposite and stayed for a burger.
The H&F burger is a mysterious, mythical creature. From the official website: Around 9:30 each night at Holeman & Finch Public House, the energy shifts from the constant mirth that seems to shroud this establishment to a sort of jubilant tension. More folks start streaming into the place and by 9:50, it’s full—teeming with those eager for the stroke of ten o’clock followed by the squawk of a portable bullhorn announcing, “it’s burger time!” Each night, 24 exquisite, double patty cheeseburgers are assembled on house-made buns and served alongside hand-cut fries and homemade ketchup, mustard and pickles—only 24. Some nights they sell out in under a minute. The thought behind the minimal number and the 10:00 serving is not a gimmick; it’s just the opposite. A handcrafted burger takes a lot of time to prepare correctly. In order to pay the proper respect to this iconic American food, Linton Hopkins and company decided that only a handful would be made and served each night. This way, the burger is done right; and because generally, a burger on any menu tends to trump other items, it allows the rest of Holeman and Finch’s menu to take its place with due respect.
Could a burger possibly live up to such fanfare? Such top-billing? Such cult-like following and devotion? We were gonna find out, gosh darnit. Originally, we reserved two burgers, but when we flagged our server down post-marrow to cut it down to one, he winked and said knowingly, “Yeah, I was waiting for that.” We were such amateurs, but when that bullhorn sounded, we didn’t care. The whole place started to smell like a diner, and I mean that in the best possible way – the meat, the fries, the buns, all of their aromas began wafting into my nose and making me drool (even though I was pretty darn full at that point). Finally, the beautiful creation was placed on our table, and all of the people who were too late to reserve burgers, or who didn’t know you HAD to reserve them, were staring at my meaty monstrosity with lustful envy. Yeah, I said it.
Was it worth the hype? Abso-frickin’-lutely. The meat, while cooked medium throughout, was tender and juicy and flavorful (I’m not sure what the mix is, but it’s good stuff). The bun was fresh and light, but it still stood up to the burger and toppings. Speaking of toppings, the meaty, cheesy, melty goodness was perfectly salty, so the homemade bread and butter pickles were a welcome change from the usual dill. Of course, the mustard and ketchup were homemade, and of course, they were top-notch. The fries were really awesome – I just wish I had room to eat more of them.
While we dealt with the meat sweats and waited for the check, we started playing the “what did that meal cost?” guessing game. Jason thought it would be $170, and I picked $150. The actual total? With tax, all of that food, and three rounds of drinks apiece, the final number came to $129. Not an inexpensive meal, of course, but we felt that it was a fantastic value, considering the atmosphere, the service, and the quality and variety of food and drink.
I may never return to Restaurant Eugene. But I can tell you with certainty that I cannot wait to go back to Holeman & Finch.
It is well-documented that I love roasted chicken and potatoes. After all, the crispy skin of the chicken and the satisfying crunch of the potatoes are so very satisfying. However, sometimes I don’t want to wait the 1-2 hours that it takes to cook such things – and by “sometimes,” I mean pretty much any weeknight.
This recipe allowed me to savor some of the flavors and textures of roasting while still making sure that everything was on the table in about 30 minutes. The first time-saver is the use of bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts rather than a whole bird (and for those of you who freak out about anything other than boneless/skinless, relax…you don’t have to eat the skin if you don’t want to, and the bone doesn’t have any nutritional impact one way or another). Also, browing the breasts in a hot skillet before roasting gives the skin a great color and texture that usually takes a lot more time. Softening the potatoes in the microwave prior to pan- and oven-roasting them also shaves time off your prep and ensures that the spuds will be cooked all the way through.
The balsamic sauce really takes this dish over the edge – it was super duper robust and flavorful. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you should DEFINITELY invest in one – but in the meantime, just relocate the potatoes and chicken from the skillet to a roasting pan before putting them in the oven. Voila!
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450. Combine potatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Microwave, covered, until potatoes begin to soften, about 6 minutes.
Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat additional 1 tablespoon oil in large oven-safe skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until well browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to plate. Add potatoes to skillet and cook until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Arrange chicken, skin side up, on top of potatoes. Roast until chicken registers 160 degrees and potatoes are completely tender, about 12-15 minutes.
Whisk vinegar, garlic, thyme, pepper flakes, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle vinegar mixture over chicken and potatoes.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved chicken parmesan. When I was a kid and my grandmother would come visit, we’d always go to the neighborhood “red-sauce Italian” restaurant (usually Olive Garden), and I would ALWAYS order the same thing. When I grew up and learned how to cook, I experimented with various versions of the classic, trying to find the best replication of those fabulous childhood flavors.
Unfortunately, the biggest downside to traditional chicken parmesan is that it’s quite heavy. I mean, cheese-covered fried meat is great and all, but sometimes it’s just a little too much for the tummy to handle. Enter this dish, which manages to capture some of the familiarity of chicken parmesan in a much lighter, fresher-tasting incarnation. The parmesan crust on the chicken provides cheesy goodness without loads of fat and calories, and the tomato salad brings to the table the acidity and brightness of a good marinara sauce. A nice benefit of the lack of sauce was that the chicken’s crust stayed nice and crisp. The dish wasn’t exactly what I remembered from my youth, but it still triggered some nice memories and didn’t require an extra trip to the gym.
Spread flour in shallow dish. Beat eggs in second shallow dish. Combine panko and cheese in third shallow dish. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. One at a time, dredge cutlets in flour, dip in eggs, and coat with panko/cheese mixture, pressing to adhere.
Heat 3 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Cook two cutlets until golden brown and crisp, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate lined with paper towels. Repeat with 3 tablespoons more oil and remaining cutlets.
Combine tomatoes, garlic, basil, and remaining oil in a large bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer cutlets to individual plates and top with tomato mixture.
I am over winter.
Seriously, I feel like it’s been cold and rainy (if not icy and snowy) since Thanksgiving. And the worst of the weather seems to hit right smack on the weekends, which is when I want to get out and play with my dog and get some fresh air. Stupid mother nature.
Cold weather is good for one thing – SLOW COOKING. There is very little better in this world than coming home from a long day’s work and a nasty commute only to find a warm, comforting, good-smelling creation waiting for you in the slow cooker. And all you have to do is throw some stuff in the Crock-Pot and turn it on! The slow cooker really is a great weeknight convenience, especially when used to create great dishes like this one.
This recipe could not be easier, and the end product was absolutely delicious. Sweet and spicy and tender and rich, the pork shoulder was perfectly seasoned and super-duper meaty. The bok choy added a nice fresh crunch (make sure you don’t add it too early, or it will be overcooked and soggy), and basmati rice soaked up all the juicy goodness. If you’re looking for something warm you up this weekend, this dish will definitely do the trick. Stay safe, everyone!
In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the soy sauce, sugar, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, five-spice powder (if using), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add the pork and toss to coat. Cook, covered, until the pork is tender, on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
Twenty-five minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, skim off and discard any fat from the pork. Gently fold the bok choy into the pork and cook, covered, until heated through, 2 to 4 minutes. Serve with the rice and sprinkle with the scallions.
I haven’t had great luck when it comes to cooking with alcohol.
Okay, let me clarify – when I say “cooking with alcohol,” I don’t mean drinking a glass of wine while preparing dinner. That I do just fine, thank you very much. Rather, I haven’t mastered the art of using booze in my dishes. Sure, I can use white wine when making my famous risotto, but anything more advanced than that has given me trouble. My red-wine braises taste too winey, my attempt at bananas foster went horribly awry, and my recent batch of beer bread had a lousy crust.
As a general rule, I’ll just stick to drinking the hooch rather than cooking with it. But this recipe manages to incorporate whiskey in an unintimidating way, and the dish turned out to be pretty simple and tasty. My parents, who swore they weren’t sweet potato fans, gobbled up the tasty carby goodness. The whiskey sauce was very tasty, though I wish I had more time to reduce it down a little better. My only other issue was that the chops got a bit overcooked, probably because I added them back to the pan and then realized I needed to thicken the sauce a little more – so next time I’ll wait to re-add the pork until I’m satisfied with the consistency of everything else. Overall, though, this was another nice weeknight meal courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen – and also another day when I was too hungry to remember to take a photo. Enjoy anyway!
Bring potatoes and water to cover by 1 inch to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add ¼ cup cream and butter and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm.
Meanwhile, pat pork dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat until just smoking. Brown chops, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and tent with foil.
Add shallot and thyme to pan and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in whiskey, scraping up any brown bits. Cook over medium heat until whiskey is syrupy, about 2 minutes. Add chicken stock and remaining cream and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Return chops and any accumulated juices to pan and cook until sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Serve with potatoes.
As you can probably tell, many of my recent meal ideas have come from lazy Saturday mornings in front of the boob tube. A couple of weekends ago, we were watching the Food Network, and we got sucked into an episode of Ellie Krieger’s “Healthy Appetite” show. She was making a slimmed down version of fish sticks, which happen to be one of Jason’s favorite foods (the shame, I know). He was intrigued.
Since I am the best wifey ever, I attempted the dish that very night. The verdict? Jason the fish stick lover, naturally, loved this meal. On the other hand, I wasn’t the biggest fan. I found the wheat breadcrumbs to be heavy and dry, and they were a gigantic pain in the tush to make. Frankly, I find it hard to believe that regular, store-bought breadcrumbs are SO bad for you that you have to swap them out for this lesser version.
The sauce was quite tasty, and I liked it about a zillion times better than a traditional tartar sauce. However, with all of the steps involved in this dish, the sauce just wasn’t enough to justify making it again. From now on, I think I’ll just stick to one of my tried-and-true fish recipes…and frozen fish sticks for Jason.
Put the bread in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until bread crumbs form. Toast the crumbs in a large, dry nonstick skillet over a medium-high heat, stirring frequently and breaking up the crumbs with a spoon if they begin to stick together, until crisp and golden, about 2 minutes (note: for me, this took MUCH longer, and the crumbs never really got crisp or golden). Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. On a plate, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Cut the fillets into 4 by 1-inch strips. A few pieces at a time, dip the fish into the flour mixture, dusting off the excess. Dip the fish in the egg and then the bread crumbs. Arrange on the baking sheet and continue until all of the fish is breaded. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chives and cayenne, if using. Season, to taste, with freshly ground black pepper.