Father’s Day Gift

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For the past few years, my gift to my dad on Father’s day has been to cook him a meal. It’s always a daunting task, considering his expertise, but I enjoy the challenge and feel very accomplished when he approves of what I’ve made. This year, I began researching many recipes, trying to curate the perfect menu for Father’s Day dinner. I saved a multitude of complicated, more challenging recipes, but ultimately decided to go a simpler route. After all, simplicity is can be wonderful in a dish when the ingredients are stellar. So, instead of practicing new kitchen techniques and anticipating the stress of executing it well once Father’s Day came around, I decided to spend my time finding the best ingredients instead. I know my dad loves a good piece of meat, and he once stated that a guilty pleasure of his was flavored potato chips, so I got to work figuring out exactly where to shop.

To start, we had jalapeño flavored potato chips with onion dip. I unfortunately failed at finding homemade potato chips anywhere in town, but the store-bought jalapeño ones worked out well. I did not have a recipe for the dip, but instead just threw a bunch of ingredients into my food processor and hoped for the best. The consistency was not as thick as I had hoped, but this was anticipated considering I used a yogurt base instead of sour cream or mayonnaise. The ingredients included: plain Greek yogurt, BBQ sauce, Hidden Valley Ranch powder (which, guiltily, I love cooking with), onions, a variety of seasoning, sauteed garlic, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions on top. Definitely got dad’s approval on this one.

For our main, I made cheeseburgers and vegetable skewers. The ingredients I used for each of these definitely made all the difference in the quality of the meal. I got grass fed beef from a local butchery, and all of the vegetables came from the Union Square Farmer’s Market in New York City. I shopped at Whole Foods for the remainder of ingredients, and splurged for slightly more expensive bacon and cheese, because they simply looked much better.

The final product was a medium rare burger with hickory smoked bacon, aged cheddar, BBQ sauce, and onion rings fried in bacon fat, between a fresh pretzel bun from Balducci’s. The burger was marinated in lemon juice, plain greek yogurt, and soy sauce and then thrown on the grill (a marinade I learned from my father). The vegetable skewers were simple and recipe is below, along with the recipe to the onion rings. We ended with store bought dark chocolate covered mini graham crackers and a cheese plate. Huge success!!!

Vegetable Skewers:

  • Soak skewer sticks in water for about 20 minutes to prevent from burning when they go on the grill
  • Marinate vegetables of your choice in olive oil, seasonings, and my personal favorite, Hidden Valley Ranch powder
  • Place on medium-high grill until vegetables are tender and charred

Onion Rings:

  • Follow this recipe: http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Baked-Onion-Rings-Martha-Stewart?columns=5&position=1%2F74
  • ***I used the jalapeño chips in the breading instead of cornflakes!
  • Cook bacon for the burgers simply by putting them on medium heat in a skillet
  • THEN fry the onion rings in left over bacon fat for about a minute on each side or until golden brown

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