Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Father's Day Recipes

For mother's and father's day, I really like to do a full day of cooking for my parents, especially because it's just so personal and shows my appreciation for them. Since father's day is coming up soon, I wanted to share some of my personal favorites that have been huge hits in my family.

For brunch, I have found great success with Rachael Ray's scrambled eggs with smoked salmon recipe. It is simple and the smoked salmon taste isn't overbearing and all the flavors are well balanced -- plus it's super easy to make.

Prep time: 10 minutes, Cook time: 6 minutes, Total time: 16 minutes

1/4 pound sliced smoked salmon
12 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
12 to 15 blades of fresh chives, finely chopped

Reserve 2 slices of salmon for garnish. Chop the remaining salmon into very small pieces.
Whisk your eggs and cream together. Add 1/2 of your chopped chives and season eggs with salt and pepper. Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Melt butter in the pan and add eggs. Scramble eggs with a wooden spoon. Do not cook eggs until dry. When eggs have come together but remain wet, stir in chopped salmon. Remove pan from the stove and place on a trivet. Garnish the eggs with remaining salmon and chives and serve right out of the warm pan.

Note: If you are serving these eggs with the other recipes provided as a brunch, a platter of store bought fruit filled dainties will complete your elegant brunch. Allow 1 dainty per person but halve dainties so that guests may mix and match varieties.

In addition to the scrambled eggs, I like to pair it with fresh squeezed orange juice from scratch and a little bit of champagne (a mimosa) to add a celebratory touch.

For dinner, I usually pull out the grill if it's a nice day and either do a fish dish or some pork spare ribs.
If your dad likes seafood, the Wegman's grilled swordfish with tomato cucumber salsa is likely to be a hit -- the salsa is crisp and refreshing and adds a lot of flavor to the swordfish, which is light and flaky -- the perfect white fish in my opinion. This really is a great dish for a warm summer day. Some wines that I recommend pairing with this dish are chardonnay, pinot grigio, pinot noir, chablis, or dolcetto. Swordfish is not a difficult dish to pair with wine, but these seem to enhance the flavors of the dish the most.
Serves: 4, Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients for Swordfish
2 Swordfish steaks (about 10 oz each)
Salt and pepper
Wegmans Basting Oil

Preheat grill on high 10 min.
1. Clean grill with wire brush. Using soft cloth, coat grill grate lightly with vegetable oil.
2. Season both sides of swordfish with salt and pepper. Drizzle lightly with basting oil. (Too much oil will cause flare-ups on grill.)
3. Sear swordfish on grill until swordfish has changed color 1/4 way up from bottom. Turn and brush seared side with basting oil. Sear other side; turn again and brush. Reduce heat; close lid.
4. Grill swordfish 1-inch thick or less about 4-5 min/side on medium. Grill swordfish thicker than 1-inch about 6-7 min per side on low.
5. Cook swordfish to 130 degrees internal temp, about 15-20 min. Check by inserting thermometer halfway into thickest part. Remove from grill; let rest at least 2 min. Serve with Tomato Cucumber Salsa (see recipe).

Ingredients for Salsa
1 medium (about 1/2 lb) cucumber, peeled, sliced lengthwise, seeded, diced small
1 tsp salt
1 jalapeno pepper (wear gloves) halved, seeded, diced very fine
4 large (about 3/4 lb each) tomatoes, diced small
3 Tbsp red onion, diced
4 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

1. Toss cucumbers in bowl with salt (will draw out moisture). Let set 30 min; squeeze, then drain water off.
2. Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.

In addition to this swordfish recipe, I have also tried the Kraft recipe for barbecue spare ribs (I know, I know, why would I use a Kraft recipe) that has proven to be easy to make as well as very flavorful. As with anything barbecue related, a good beer seems to be the beverage of choice -- in general, I think good barbecue should be served with something that doesn't compete or contrast heavily with the sweetness of the dry rub, so a light beer is probably the way to go so that the focus of the meal is the flavor of the meat. This recipe is super easy and simple but is surprisingly flavorful for what seems to be an overly simple Kraft recipe -- don't underestimate it!

Serves: 5, Prep time: 10 minutes, Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

3 lb. pork baby back ribs
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. paprika
2 tsp. garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 cup water
1 cup Bull's-Eye or Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce

Heat grill to medium heat.
Place half the ribs in single layer on large sheet heavy-duty foil. Mix sugar and seasonings; rub half evenly onto both sides of ribs. Bring up foil sides. Double fold top and one end to seal packet. Add 1/4 cup water to packet through open end. Double fold remaining end, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Repeat to make second packet. Grill 45 min. to 1 hour or until ribs are done. Remove ribs from foil; discard foil. Return ribs to grill; brush with barbecue sauce. Grill 15 min. turning and brushing occasionally with remaining sauce.

I don't usually make dessert for Father's Day because my dad doesn't have much of a sweet tooth. However, some personal favorites of mine that I like to make if you need some dessert ideas are cheesecake or carrot cake (I really enjoy the cream cheese flavor).

Hopefully these recipes will provide inspiration for some ideas of your own. None of these recipes are my personal creations, I am not nearly creative enough or have the patience to make my own recipes. But my parents really seem to enjoy a good home-cooked meal now and then and I think that this is a great way to show your appreciation for everything your parents do for you. Happy cooking!

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