Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
As any cornbread lover can tell you, South Pittsburg, Tennessee is the location of the National Cornbread Festival. It also happens to be the home of the finest cast-iron cookware in the world, produced by the Lodge family. Joseph Lodge began making cast iron in 1896, in this little town named for its greater industrial counterpart in Pennsylvania. Some 115 years later, his family continues to make products that are venerated in the cooking world and beloved by Chef Linton Hopkins. So much so that he has declared this season “A Winter of Casseroles” at Holeman & Finch Public House.
For Chef, finding a good cooking vessel is as exhilarating as finding good greens or grass-fed beef. He relishes the character that emerges when vegetables and proteins are cooked in unique, and traditional devices. Just as a discerning wine palette will notice the subtle differences in terroir between Napa and Sonoma, dedicated foodies can recognize if something’s been cooked in a clay pot or in a cast-iron skillet.
The right pan deserves the same kind of quest and care as sourcing exquisite sea salt or just-ripe fruit for sorbet. Because Chef feels so strongly about Lodge cookware, he sees no reason to confine it to the kitchen. Y’all can enjoy these casseroles in the very dishes in which they’re cooked.
This winter greens casserole is an homage to Virginia Willis, who was recently guest-of-honor at a Restaurant Eugene Author Dinner with her newest book, Basic to Brilliant Y'all. Using butternut squash from Burge Plantation and greens from Truly Living Well, Chef has conjured a dish that is sure to please on a chilly December night. What brings the whole dish together, however, is a béchamel, whose star ingredient is a ham hock from Benton’s Hams. Which just so happens to be in Tennessee. There’s no need for you to travel far, however. There’s a Lodge casserole dish at the Public House with your name on it every night. And, in case you would like to try this at home:
Winter Greens Casserole
1 medium butternut squash
1 lb. hearty winter greens (collards, mustards, turnips, etc.), diced
1 gallon water
2 tbsp. butter
2 cups milk
¾ cup buttermilk
2 tbsp. flour
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ham hock
1 bunch thyme in sachet
2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
½ cup butter
½ cup crushed crackers
1) In a 2 quart sauce pot slowly heat the butter. Once it begins to foam, add garlic and shallot, place on a medium-low heat and sweat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour and stir until combined. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently to cook off raw flour flavor.
2) Add milk, whisking to mix into roux. Add hock, thyme sachet, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain into a mixing bowl and reserve the hock.
3) Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seed. Place cut side down on an oiled sheet tray and roast at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until tender throughout. Medium dice once cooled.
4) Bring water to a rolling boil. Add 1 cup salt. Blanch greens until tender, about 30 seconds-1 minute. Drain and shock in ice water. Squeeze out all excess moisture.
5) Combine all preparations and buttermilk in mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Put in a casserole dish and top with buttered cracker.
6) Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes or until top is evenly golden brown.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
In his desire to craft a cocktail that could pay homage to both the classic Champagne Cocktail, and the foodways of the South, Greg Best was visited by three spirits; namely, Wathen’s Kentucky Bourbon, Regan’s #6 Orange Bitters and Jacques Pelvas Brut. From this trinity, we have the genesis of a fine drink. And Best saw that it was good and he named it Copper & Cane. The title refers to the copper-pot stills used to distill the whiskey, and to the tall canes of grass which when pressed provide us sorghum syrup (otherwise known as the sweet nectar of the southern gods).
We look forward to sharing this meal with you, and suspect that it will become an instant favorite.
If you'd like to make some ramps at home, see the recipe below:
4 ramp bulbs, root end removed
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup corn starch
½ cup buttermilk
¼ cup dredge
2) Remove ramps from the pickling liquid. Separate bulbs into several hollow, bell-shaped layers.
3) Drop ramps into dredge and toss to coat thoroughly. Remove and shake off any excess dredge.
4) Dip into batter, then add to fryer or pan of frying liquid. Fry until golden brown, approx. 3 minutes, remove to let cool. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to serve.
Friday, October 14, 2011
We love making cocktails as much as we love sharing them, but we are committed to sharing more than just drinks. We also want to share knowledge and skill. Perhaps none among us is more devoted to proselytizing than Mr. Andy Minchow. A steadfast prophet of all the spirits, Mr. Minchow has a special fondness for gin. Which is why two of his concoctions have found their way onto the pages of a new (good) book, All the Gin Joints: New Spins on Gin from America’s Best Bars. The book includes recipes for ‘101 Artisanal Cocktails,’ compiled by Michael Turback, a longtime champion of Slow Food whose other recent tome is the Ithaca Farmers Market Cookbook.
In his introduction, Turback traces the history of the cocktail back to the Prohibition era mixing of ‘bathtub’ gin with various tinctures and botanicals, the history of gin back to a 16th century distillation of barley wine infused with juniper berries (thank you, Dutch physician Sylvius de Bouve!), and the history of the juniper plant back to ancient Egypt, where it was used in burial rituals and believed to secure eternal life for the pharaohs. At the Public House we are always humbled by the rich history of culinary, botanical, and libationary arts that precedes us. We strive to honor that history, at the same time as we pursue, with religious fervor and glee, the new.
Andy’s first drink in Gin Joints, called The Clean Getaway, may be considered a variation on the French 75, that classic combination of gin and champagne. This concoction is distinguished by Amaro, which lends a slightly bitter, herbal note, and Mosacto d’Asti, a brighter, sweeter sparkler. Throw in the gin and some fresh lemon juice, and you’re ready for a party.
His 2nd offering, Wolf’s Bite, is named in honor of H & F partner Greg Best, who’s earned the nickname Wolf for his ‘ferocity and courage.’ The bite comes from the addition of pungent Chartreuse to the gin, rounded out with a splash of grapefruit juice.
Both drinks have been shaken, stirred, and served at the Public House, and are always available upon request.
The dedication page of Gin Joints features a quote from David Augustus Embury that enthuses a well-made cocktail’s ability to make “the whole world…a better place in which to live.” We couldn’t agree more! We encourage you to visit the H & F Bottle Shop, where you can purchase not only the book, but also everything you need to make the drinks, thereby doing your part to make the world a better place.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Since opening in 2008, we've never stopped questing to grow, learn and keep it interesting --- for our guests and for ourselves. Changing it up is imperative, not just because our sourcing (from small-batch, sometimes obscure producers) demands it, but also because that's one way we keep it interesting. Pushing ourselves to gain more knowledge, try new things and always get better. One of our favorite change-ups has just transpired. We proudly present to you Cocktail Menu #14.
These carefully crafted harbingers of fall are conceived and artfully executed by an all-star pirate team including Shooter, Hopscotch, Timber, Captain Snake and, of course, Wolf. Stop in soon to begin the journey of sipping through them all. We promise it'll be interesting, deep and delicious.
Friday, August 26, 2011
This week our staff viewed Working the Miles, a documentary Joe York made for the Southern Foodways Alliance about Johnny and Janice Taylor, who have made their living in Apalachicola Bay. As the film says, Johnny oysters and Janice shucks. Watching the boats, slow and isolated in the waters dappled by sunrise and sunset, and hammers cracking open shells, you realize how much work goes into bringing oysters from their home to your plate. Last year’s oil spill turned our attention in general to the men and women who bring us shrimp, fish, and oysters. York’s film does a wonderful job of bringing just one family to the forefront of an industry.
We believe the more you know about your food, the better it tastes. So watch the film, then come in for a glass of Lemelson Vineyards Pinot Gris and a plate of delicious 13 Mile catch.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Hendrick’s Gin is the result of a good idea and a simple experiment conducted in twentieth century Scotland. The “gin craze” of the nineteenth century had just swept through England, prompting William Grant & Sons to try to create their ideal gin: lighter with subtle essences of cucumber and rose petal.
At an auction in Girvan, Scotland, the company bought two different types of stills which they then restored. The two stills operate by different methods, producing very different tasting spirits. The idea was to blend these two spirits for a uniquely subtle final product. The first, a small pot still, creates a spirit with a heavy and oily character and a strong juniper flavor. Sometimes called the Bennett still, this small vessel allows for most of the aromas of the botanicals to pass into the spirit during the distilling process. The three ingredients, a neutral spirit, the botanical recipe and water, are steeped together and then boiled. Initially, this still can produce gin with up to 92% alcohol, but as the distillation continues, the spirit’s alcohol content will gradually decrease, and the final spirit will be about 75% alcohol. The second still that Grant & Sons bought was a Carter-Head still, a very rare kind of still invented by the Carter Brothers and first constructed in 1948. The Carter-Head produces a gin with light floral and sweet fragrances. Only a neutral spirit, a clear, colorless liquid with a very high ethanol content, and water are added to the still’s pot. The botanicals are added up at the top of the still. Rather than being steeped and boiled in, the Carter-Head bathes the botanicals in the alcohol vapors before they are condensed, making a much lighter gin.
The idea proved to be a good one, and the resulting spirit, the Hendrick’s Gin of today,is indeed a blend of these two different distillations, with the addition of cucumber and rose petal essences. The gin is created in batches of only 450 liters, which allows the distiller to carefully control the entire process, ensuring an artfully perfect concoction, which is then bottled in a dark blue, almost black-looking, apothecary-style bottle, giving it a unique look to match the signature taste.
In 2003, Hendrick’s Gin was awarded the Wall Street Journal’s “Best Gin in the World” award, and since then has merited numerous awards and high ratings.
The creators of Hendrick’s say that it is best served with tonic water over ice with a slice of cucumber as a garnish rather than the traditional citrus or olive. Our staff finds many creative applications for the product. At the upcoming Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, we will be using Hendrick’s Gin in a Gazpacho Martini --- a perfect choice due to the gin’s cucumber essence.
Come in to H&F Public House anytime we're open to discover Hendrick’s Gin for yourself, or bring some friends in for a private lunch or dinner party. You can write to firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange such a thing. Cheers!
Friday, June 10, 2011
Traditionally, currywurst is a fast-food dish, usually served from food trucks. Legend has it that currywurst was first made by Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder that she got from British soldiers stationed in Berlin. Now, it has become a traditional “diner” food and a favorite of many. It is found most often in the metropolitan areas of Berlin and Hamburg.
This dish is back by popular demand at Restaurant Eugene. Chef de Charcuterie James Ellington of Holeman and Finch is making his currywurst with lamb. “I’d say it’s about 90 percent lamb, 10 percent pork, and about 78 percent lean and 22 percent fat.” The lamb comes from Border Springs Farm in Virginia and the pork comes from Riverview Farms in Ranger, Georgia.
After being ground and combined with curry and spices, the currywurst will be piped into a casing and poached. The H&F currywurst will be made with cream, to give the meat lightness and just the right texture.
It is estimated that 800 million servings of currywurst are sold in Germany every year, and it seems that currywurst is growing in popularity in the states as well; overwhelming demand is what inspired James to put it back on the menu. “We usually serve it in early spring, but everyone likes it a lot and wants us to bring it back, so I’m making it now before it gets too hot.”
Currywurst is on the menu at Holeman and Finch now, being served with roasted beets and cucumber chutney, topped with pea shoots and beet greens. Come see what you think.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
On May 23, Restaurant Eugene and Holeman & Finch staff journeyed down to Albany, GA, to see mayhaws and mulberries in their natural environment. The crew visited the farm of Lawrence Funderburke, who lives with his wife Dee on the farm where he was raised. Funderburke, a lifelong farmer and cattleman, spent thirty years as an Engineer for CSX on the southwest Georgia route. He now spends his days growing various fruits, turning bowls and training mules. Dee does the canning and putting up, including jelly-making, both mayhaw and mulberry. As we pull onto the property, we know we're in a special place. We're greeted by an old millstone in perfect condition sitting in the front yard, not too far from a prickly pear plant just beginning to blossom.
The Funderburkes have planted a multitude of fruit-bearing trees on their 30 acre property. “Dee’s got the green thumb,” says Larry. Her garden behind their quaint screened-in porch, features blueberries, peppers and tomatoes. Beautiful daylilies and oleander adorn the front of the expansive property. Pear, fig, and mulberry also grow in abundance, but the dominant crop comes from the sizeable Mayhaw orchards, planted with the assistance of friend and extension agent Burl Turnage.
Mayhaws are a native fruit tree which grow primarily in the wetlands of the southern United States. They are commonly used to make a sweet jelly that Albanians (and folks throughout the Deep South) have been putting on biscuits and toast for centuries. Agent Turnage specialized in mayhaw trees before his retirement. Both the Turnage #57 and Turnage #88 are cultivars named in his honor. He helped Funderburke plant his orchard over the course last few decades, populating it with multiple varieties of mayhaws, many taken from grafts of trees found at one of Georgia’s two experimental mayhaw orchards: one found at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College experiment station, and the other in Attapulgus, GA. Only a few miles from the Florida border, Attapulgus is also the site of a huge fuller’s earth mine, in case you wanted to know.Mayhaws take their name partly from their fruiting time --- you guessed it: May. The “haw” part is derived from their botanical family: the hawthorn. Most people would say that Mayhaws have to grow near a body of water; Funderburke has proven this to be not entirely true. The property had native mayhaws, around which he built a pond. Then he transplanted seedlings onto higher ground. Across the street, he and Burl planted an entire orchard of grafted trees. He says he has been able to get trees to grow just about anywhere. “And they never grow up the same. You can plant three seeds all from the same mayhaw and they will all come up differently,” he informs us.
Funderburke has extended his fruiting season significantly by planting multiple cultivars within the orchard, most of which he can identify by site. No matter how different two mayhaws may look, their taste is always the same --- tart. There’s a reason they're called the cranberry of the south. Despite their small, round, berry-like appearance, the tartness, and the four large seeds inside the fruit make it difficult to pop in your mouth and eat plain.
Recent droughts have unfortunately diminished Funderburke’s mayhaw harvest. “When it don’t rain, I don’t make,” he tells us as we walk through a dried-up riverbed. We briefly stop to look at each type of Funderburke’s trees. Dee may have the green thumb, but Lawrence also has obvious expertise concerning everything he grows on his farm.
The mulberry trees are also producing fruit this time of year. We can reach up and pick them off and snack on them as Funderburke tells us about the mulberry trees. Mulberries can be used in pies and tarts, as well as jelly. Dee tells us that the mulberry jelly is the most fickle jelly she has ever made. “It will gel,” she says, “but it might take a few days. Or it might not; it might take just one day. You never know with mulberries.”
Additional trees of interest on the property are the Osage Orange trees (aka “hedge apples” or “bow dock”), the wood from which was once used by the Creek to fashion bows for hunting, and which Funderburke now uses to turn bowls of a brilliant yellow color, and his Catawba trees, used to attract the Catawba Worm (some say “Catalpa”). Catfish just love Catawba Worms, according to Mr. Funderburke.
Dee Funderburke brings out two bowls containing her mayhaw and mulberry jelly, offering us all a taste of it. The two begin to tease about which is better. “Tell me y’all like the mulberry best,” says Dee. For Lawrence, it’s all about the mayhaw. “The mayhaw is sweet, but not too sweet. It’s got to be a little tart. You’re supposed to be able to feel it in your jaw,” Larry Funderburke tells us as he eats his spoonful. Dee continues that jelly is the only thing she has been able to create out of mayhaws. “They just love the mayhaw down here,” says Dee. She’s from north Georgia originally, see, where they don’t grow mayhaws.
After a final tour around Funderburke’s barn (his “man cave” he calls it), donkeys Sassy and Classy bid us adieu and Larry loads up our cars with bags of mayhaws and mulberries to bring back to Atlanta, with which we’ll make our own jellies, preserves and mixers. Join us soon to try them for yourself.
Monday, April 18, 2011
You may have heard the news: Holeman and Finch Public House is all grown up. Well, maybe not quite, but we have just turned three. Yup, our third year anniversary just passed and since we've got that plus lots of other things to celebrate --- such as spring and all the amazing produce it brings, and the recent opening of the H&F Bottle Shop, and our bakery is killing it now that all the farmer's markets are open (did we mention that the H&F Bread Co. was named one of the top ten bakeries in the US by Bon Appetit Magazine?) --- we thought we'd run an All Stars cocktail menu. For the rest of the month come in and find our greatest hits from the past three years. Have you been craving the Edgewood Cocktail? Celia 39? Rhythm and Soul? A Punch in the Rye? Angora Sweater? Muddy Waters? Jacks' Press? Soul Grabber? Harrier? And, yes, of course, the Southern Cola? They're all on. Come n' get it.
Oh yeah, and thanks for three fantastic years! Y'all are the real All Stars!!!
Friday, February 25, 2011
Seems like everything southern is hot right now, or maybe it always is. The upcoming Imbibe Magazine is all about drinking in the south. We're happy to see so many of our friends and colleagues featured so prominently in this ode to liquid culture. To further support our point, we'd like to announce that our very own Michael Searles (pirate name "Squirrels) is taking some of this heat to New York City this weekend to represent Atlanta in the Cocktail World Cup, an international event co-hosted by 42Below and the US Bartenders Guild. Searles is advancing to New York because he killed it in the regional competition held earlier this year with his "Betty Rampage."
Says Squirrels, "The drink's a bit girl-friendly, but those drinks have their place, damnit! The peaches I'm using are from Gaffney, South Carolina, who beats Georgia in overall production, to this day, and the ginger ale is Blenheim's spicy variety. The cocktail's color and opacity represent a uniquely Southern U.S. red clay that's given life to our local foodways and ruined every pair of white tennis shoes I've ever owned. I've named it for a true Southern Belle who's not afraid to engage in a bit of roller-derby violence. It's sweet and sassy and not at all shy, which again encapsulates (through our character, the Belle) all I've learned and love about the South."
We'll all be cheering for you on Sunday, Squirrels, and can't wait to see you move on the final round in New Zealand.
For those of you who might like to try this at home, we submit the recipe here:
The Betty Rampage
1) Coarse chop one pecan, cut a small wedge from a 2nd pecan
2) Add chopped pecan, .25oz white wine vinegar, 3 dashes Angostura bitters to a tumbler
3) Add 1.5oz peach preserve to tumbler... Canned peaches will suffice
4) Add ice and 1.5oz 42Below vodka to tumbler
5) Top with .75oz spicy ginger ale or ginger beer, though be aware and adjust (more vinegar or more bitters, respectively) if the ginger ale is either overly sweet or the ginger beer is overly citric
6) Shake vigorously
7) Double strain into double Old Fashioned over rocks
8) Garnish with the near-whole pecan and sprig of spicy green such as arugula or rapini
btw, the Bottle Shop is opening next week.