Father's Day is Sunday, and once again we face the question of what to get dear old dad.
This year forget the tie, the socks and the paisley shirt and do something that will make the day special indeed.
Why not take the time to prepare a meal just for dad? The gift of food, especially made for someone dear and with your own hand, is a gift long remembered. It just might become a family tradition.
To make the day less stressful and a lot more fun, plan the meal carefully. Deciding exactly what the menu will be comes first, but it's important to remember to take into consideration how simple or complex you want it to be. Ask yourself a few simple questions; how much time will you have to get everything done and how much can you afford to spend? Drag out your favorite cookbook and look for an idea that strikes your fancy, or go to Google and search your favorite food site. Make sure to pick recipes that look like fun and that require skill levels you are sure you have.
Now that you have decided what you are going to make put together a list of ingredients you will need, check the pantry so that you don't buy what you already have and then go shopping. Next gather the pots, pans and utensils that will be required. Don't forget to sharpen the knife. Do the prep work that is necessary; chop the onions, oil the pan, turn the oven on, boil the water. If you pay attention to the details this meal will be simple and your results will be far better. Take care to set the table in an attractive way; that's an important part of the presentation.
If you want to lighten the burden just a little there is nothing wrong with buying some of what you want to serve from a restaurant or deli, but make sure you buy from a business you know and trust. Does dad have a favorite barbecue place? But don't buy everything already prepared, as that will take the personal touch out of the event.
Here is a simple but delicious menu that will make dad's day special indeed.
Grilling for dad
Is there anything better than a steak on the grill? It's simple and quick and if you have basic grill skills it's hard to go wrong. Make sure to buy the best quality beef that you can. There are three grades of beef found in grocery stores; prime, choice and select, with prime being the best, but there also are special designations you might want to pay attention to: Angus, Hereford, grass fed and if you are really lucky Kobe.
If at all possible cook on a hardwood fire. An armload of limbs picked up from under a pecan or hickory tree will do the trick, but remember wood burns very quickly so your window of opportunity for cooking over maximum heat will be brief. Second choice will be hardwood charcoal that provides a smoky flavor and a longer lasting
and intense flame. Next choice is a gas grill, but it really does not compare to the first two choices.
The type of steak you decide to grill is an important question. Filets are the gold standard for grilling, but there are those that like some of the tougher cuts like flank steak and swear they are more flavorful. Remember that the flavor is in the marbling, so don't buy meat that is too lean. Exactly what cut you decide to grill is another personal decision, but what ever you choose, don't overcook it.
6-8 ounce beef per person
Fresh ground black pepper
Hardwood fire or hardwood charcoal
If you are using charcoal light the fire at least 30 minutes before you want to cook. If you are willing to use a wood fire remember that building a fire is not rocket science, but you do need to pay attention. Gather the wood you think you will need then double it. Lay the fire and have it ready to go, but you do not want to light it until the steaks are ready to go. Dry the beef carefully. Next add olive oil to a bowl, some fresh ground black pepper and just a tablespoon or two of Dale's steak seasoning. Give the beef a good rub in this mixture. Make sure to let the beef come to room temperature before grilling. Throwing cold beef onto a hot fire defeats the purpose of the intense heat. Grill the steaks over the hottest part of the fire, but remember never to use a sharp fork to turn the streaks, use tongs. The best way to tell if a steak is done is by touch -- as it cooks it gets firmer to the touch, so give it a poke every minute or so. If you wait until there is almost no resistance to your touch, you've overdone it. This is a technique that really requires a little practice. Remove the steaks and let them rest for at least 5 minutes. A good steak requires no sauce at all, but a green garnish of rosemary will help presentation.
GRILLED CORN ON THE COB
A great accompaniment to a steak is grilled corn. This recipe is from grill master Bobby Flay of the Food Network.
1-2 ears of husk on corn per person
Salt and pepper
Pull the husks down, but don't remove. Next, remove the silk and fold the husks back over the corn. Add two or three pinches of salt to a bowl of water and submerge the corn in it for about 10 minutes. Remove and drain. Place the corn in a medium hot grill, close it and let the corn roast for 15 to 20 minutes, but make sure to turn them at least four times. Remove from the grill, rub with butter and add salt and pepper as you like. Serve at once.
SIMPLE POTATO SALAD
3 pounds small white potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2-3 pinches black pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Boil the potatoes until tender. When cool chop roughly and mix with the rest of the ingredients, season to taste. Serve warm or put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.