A Hint of Hedonism

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been writing this blog as long as I have, and never told you about one of my greatest talents. (No, not my proclivity for cocktails.) Last night as I made dinner, it occurred to me that I have a remarkable ability to convince myself that whatever I’m making for my family is healthy — even on nights when I am forced to go upstairs to change my T-shirt that has been splattered with the canola oil I used to fry the deliciously crispy skillet potatoes you see above.

Because the potatoes are from my favorite organic vendor at the farmer’s market. And they are technically vegetables. And they are sitting next to a pile of kale. (Remember the Kale Effect? Which is related to Andy’s Broccoli Rule?) And plus, we were having a college friend over for dinner, and when a guest is at the table, the decision to fry the potatoes (instead of roast them) and the decision to use an extra pat or two of butter in the pan-sauce for the chicken (chicken = not red meat) is a no-brainer. Extra fat doesn’t officially register in the arteries when you are cooking for someone else. I can’t believe you didn’t know that.

Last night was a little more buttery than I’m used to, but I will say that as a general rule, I am a firm believer that there needs to be at least a hint of hedonism on the dinner plate — whether it’s crumbled feta in the salad, sour cream on the baked potatoes, or bacon in the brussels sprouts. Because if every meal is boiled kale with quinoa and flax, I have to ask: Where is the joy in life?

Chicken with Wine, Lemon, and Butter Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 boneless chicken breasts, pounded very thin (if they flatten into really large cutlets, you might want to halve them so they’re easier to handle in the pan)
1/2 cup flour or so, salted and peppered, and piled on a plate
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped shallots
handful chopped parsley

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken breasts in seasoned flour then add to pan (in batches if necessary), frying about 3 minutes a side. Remove breasts to a platter after they have cooked through and tent with foil to keep warm. Once all the chicken is fried, add lemon juice, wine, shallots, and remaining butter to the pan and turn up heat, scraping the brown bits as you go. Once the sauce has reduced slightly, pour over chicken on platter. Top with parsley.

Skillet Fried Potatoes
I called these Diner Fries because the girls love hash browns so much, but (breaking news!) fried potatoes don’t really need the hard sell with kids.

Peel and chop 8-10 medium potatoes (any kind but the baking/Idaho kind) into pieces roughly shown above. Pour about 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet set over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and a generous pinch of salt, and after 2-3 minutes, turn down heat and fry for 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Toss them around every now and then so they get crispy on all sides. (I threw in the chopped kale when the potatoes were done. Why get another pot dirty? And plus, the oil made some pieces of the kale all crunchy. Delish.)

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68 Comments

Tara

We had haddock breaded with potato chips last night. It was baked, rather than fried, but since the potato chips had been fried in order to become potato chips in the first place, does it still count as healthy? I guess the answer is, “Who cares?” We managed to make something that tasted like pub fried fish without the fry-o-later. Life is good. Oh, and we made kale chips, so I guess it all counts as healthy anyway, right?

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Jessica

I didn’t know about the whole “extra fat doesn’t register when there is a guest at the table” rule! I see a lot more dinner guests in our future :)

oh and I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

Reply
roni

those skillet potatoes sound amazing!

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Susan

Homemade will always be healthier than eating out and tasty sometimes means a little extra fat;)
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Broc

This recipe looks so yummy and really simple to prepare!

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Jessica

I completely agree! Fat doesn’t count when you have guests…or for your entire birth month!

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Sara

I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?
And those potatoes look delicious!

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kari

I love the idea of having a bit of hedonism on every plate, even if it’s just a bit of feta on Kale or olives in some cracked wheat. Certainly words to live by!

p.s.
I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

Reply
Kim

Haha – I am the same way, I can convince myself that anything is healthy, because it’s from fresh ingredients. My husband asks me what type of oil I used – “Oh, you know… oil…” But I do try to just keep the good stuff in the house, so if I mindlessly reach for something, at least it appears to be good for you.

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Erin

I can’t wait to try this. Looks foolproof even for me!

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Mary

I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

And- YUM! I’m trying not to eat anything deep fried (so no potato chips or fries!) so these potats sound absolutely amazing right now…!

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Caroline

I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

I appreciated this post, as it seems like all we’ve been eating lately is kale and quinoa!

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peter

I don’t know what everyone is talking about with this teak bowl, but I love the look of this recipe. Thanks!

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Brittany

I love your recipes! I have to tell you, I tried the turkey chili a few nights ago and it is the only chili I am allowed to make from now on! Amazing.

PS, I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Elisa

I’ll have to try your potatos – mine always turn out too mushy and not at all crispy.

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Jen

I am all for ‘why get another pot dirty’

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nicole

“I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?”

We are a family with two 11 year olds who are crazy for the graphic novel reviews! Keep them coming!

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Carolyn L.

Love your blog. Thanks for the inspiring tips, especially for chicken. This looks delicious.

“I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?”

Reply
juliana

What do you use to pound the chicken?

Also, I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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elise

i’ll have to go with the broccoli rule, ’cause i can’t get myself to go for kale. i just remember re-using the same sad kale all around the edge of the salad bar at the restaurant i worked at in college. hopefully i’ll get over it someday.

there is no such thing as a bad potato in my book, and the chicken looks divine. everything’s better with butter on it, no? and wine? yes, please.

i read your newsletter. do i win the inmod teak bowl?

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Natalie Thompson

Totally agree on the cancel-out factor when guests are over. There has to be something that makes them come back for more, no!?

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monica

I consider potato chips healthy b/c they are more of a “whole food” than a lot of other snacks!

I agree, though, something about cooking at home can trick you into thinking you are making healthy things, but you have to have a little indulgence. Enjoying yourself can be truly healthy (let’s hope!)….

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mek

Fried potatoes are not a hard sell to kids? Allow me to introduce my daughter, who is clearly an alien lifeform masquerading as a 5.5 year old human child who hates potatoes, except some potato chips. And who prefers her kale raw.

I don’t know where she comes from, but I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Nancy

Love your recipes. Can’t wait to try this one at home.
BTW, I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Judi Yingling

This is my first time reading your newsletter and I find it very interesting and filled with lots of great recipes for me to try. I’ll be back.

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Amanda

Any host that serves potatoes fried in butter is my new favorite best friend. Sometimes I wish my friends would think this way!

PS – I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Dave

The old standby of butter, lemon, and wine. Can’t go wrong! Btw, I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Sarah

This looks so good. It’s 10:23 am and I would totally eat this right now.

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Diane

This recipe looks deelish and I will have to try it. And…..I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Christy

Yum…any excuse for a fried potato is a good one!

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Tawny

Love the site and newsletter and can’t wait to proudly display my bumber sticker once it arrives! Kale is my new favorite veggie – I will have to give this recipe a try.

“I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?”

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Dana

This is my first time commenting! I love your blog and have been reading it for months now. I come here everyday just hoping for something new

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Liberty

I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod teak bowl??
On another note – butter is the substance of life. Every night shoudl be a two pat night… If not butter then fresh farm lard or coconut oil certainly shoudl be used liberally!.
And the hedonism quotient you spoke of, well – it’s why I like to serve dessert for breakfast:
http://bit.ly/ouXgr8

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michelle

Ohhhh KALE! It’s the perfect time of year for kale here -it’s flourishing in the garden. I might try your kale chips tonight – really want the kids to eat it, but like you said, don’t want it to be like homework!

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Heidi

Yum! Reminds me of what I do when I don’t feel like cooking, but don’t want to eat out. I usually add some garlic, lemon zest, and chives (or other herbs) along with the parsley. Potatoes sound great, too!
Oh, and I read (and love) your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Amanda

I love easy weeknight chicken. Every time I ask my 5yo daughter what she wants for dinner…it’s chicken (usually with rice). She even told her kindergarten class chicken was her favorite food! Not chocolate?! But chicken!

BTW – I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

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Jessica

I read your newsletter. Do I win the Inmod Teak Bowl?

Love the chicken! Can’t wait to try it.

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shari brooks

Yum! If everyone ate without any hedonism, we’d have a bunch of grumpy people populating this earth. If we deny ourselves that extra pat of butter or the bacon in the brussell sprouts, we’re only going to want it more, later. As I’m cooking my way through all of my mom’s recipes from the 70′s and 80′s, there’s no way I’m going to sanitize them….I’d be sacrificing flavor and the authenticity of her creation!!!

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betsy

i love fried potatoes also, but i leave the potato skins on–especially since i use organic potatoes.
it is so much faster and better for you.
i even leave them unpeeled for mashed potatoes–yes i am that lazy!

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Cay

Potato question: When making “skillet” potatoes, or any variation on pan fried potatoes, they always stick to the bottom, the crunch bits fall off, and I’m left with mushy, messy insides. Looks more like hash browns. Which taste good, but do NOT look like that picture up there! I am using a cast iron skillet and plenty of oil/butter. Help!

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JJ Horner

I just made this dinner for my family (I tossed some bacon into the potatoes – yum) and it was delicious. Thank you for an awesome, easy weeknight meal – and one that smelled great when my husband walked in the door. Love your blog, LOVE IT.

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Abby Spannagel

“Do I win the GetMaineLobster.com feast?”

This just happens to be what I’m cooking tonight, sub with tater tots from yesterday’s post.
Thanks!

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Sarah Griffith

I very much love your dinner theory: “where is the joy in life.” Yes, we eat to live, but there is a small part of us that lives to eat. Personally, I don’t want to die tomorrow knowing that I skipped the cheesecake (or sour cream on the taters) today. Life is good and if we all lived in moderation, it wouldn’t matter if we added cheese to our scrambled eggs. Great post, love DALS with my whole heart!

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Lisa

Loved this chicken recipe! My husband had 2 servings! Thank you for sharing this!

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