It’s Father’s Day…Go Grill the Crap Out of Something

I saw the message above on a greeting card and think it’s very funny.  I don’t believe it’s an accident that Father’s Day is at the begining of summer and dad’s are ready to cook and eat outside.  I guess it’s like getting back to nature and feeling like you’re living off the land and providing food for the tribe.  Or maybe it’s just to get out of the house and away from the kitchen where most of the usual action (good and bad) happens.

Whether your dad is a BBQ guy or not, celebrate everything he does (or did) for you and your family.  I sure miss mine.  I’ll make sure my husband feels appreciated and loved by our kids and even let him watch some golf (before he grills our dinner).

Happy Father’s Day Dad’s, Grandad’s, and Husband’s!

Speaking of grilling, I received a copy of the new Cookouts Veggie Style, 225 Backyard Favorites – Full of Flavor, Free of Meat., by Jolinda Hackett.  This has some great inspiration for using the grill without the meat.  Note this is a vegetarian cookbook and not vegan (although there are many recipes) as there are many dishes with cheese (grilled Haloumi – yum).  Putting on a steak is always good and easy, but what if you want to grill something lighter?  Or you have a few vegetarians for dinner guest?  Or your daughter doesn’t want to eat meat today? (yes, that’s speaking personally).   We discovered putting tofu slices on the grill with our steak suits her just fine (and the rest of the family too sometimes).  See recipe below.


Pros – Lots of great sounding recipes, with simple instructions for a variety of tastes and flavors.  A few mouthwatering photos.  Good grill basic intro.

Cons – Serving sizes and yields seems very large on some recipes (4 people eat an entire head of cabbage for slaw? 1/2 cup of butter for 4 ears of corn!).


Easy Herb-Marinated Tofu

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 package, firm or extra firm tofu, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together juice, oil and garlic until emulsified, then add in basil and rosemary.  Marinate tofu for at least 20 minutes or up to overnight – the longer the better.

Remove the tofu from the marinade and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place on a well greased grill over medium heat for 5 – 6 minutes on each side.

(Make etxra for left overs.  Grilled tofu is great for salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes)


tofu in marinade
Tofu on grill - oops I forgot to slice first




Dad’s Magic Chicken

My 4 1/2 year old hasn’t eaten chicken in 4 or 5 months.  She says she doesn’t like the flavor, although I think it’s more a texture thing.  She didn’t eat much turkey at Thanksgiving either.  Or maybe it’s because she adores her aunt, who is vegan.  She loves to ask “Can TT (Aunt Christy) eat ______?”  The other day is was “Can TT eat snow?”  Although when she says she’s vegan like her aunt, her brother is quick to remind her of all the lamb with mint jelly she likes to eat.

As you probably imagine, I do most of the cooking at our house.  Although my husband does most breakfasts (including weekend pancakes and waffles) and all outdoor cooking.  When the weather is nice you’ll find me inside as sous chef:  making side dishes and prepping veggies and meats for my husband to grill outside.  However sometimes my husband doesn’t wait for the weather to turn warm.  Last weekend he decided to make a new recipe for chicken from the How to Grill Cookbook.   We tried to remember the last time he made a new recipe from a book or even cracked this book (he’s had it about 7 or 8 years).  I was poking fun of him and told the kids he was making “Magic Chicken”.  It got them excited and it was such a hit, my daughter not only tried and loved it, but asked for more.  So much for her vegan ways (this week).  There’s always a tinge of jealousy from mom when dad comes in and makes a great meal (once a month) and gets lots of kudos.  (My son even said “This is the best chicken I’ve ever had!”).  I must admit it really was good.  Now I’m trying to come up with a “mom’s magic” something recipe to compete.  Or maybe I’ll step aside more meals, and suggest dad make more magic.

Dad’s Magic Chicken Marinade

(aka Chicken with Walnut Dill Pesto from How to Grill by Steven Raichlen)

makes enough for 6 – 8 pounds of chicken

1 bunch fresh dill, washed stemmed and chopped

1 bunch basil, washed, stemmed and chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup freshly grated romano cheese

2 strips lemon zest (1/2 by 2 inches)

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 teaspoon each coarse salt and black pepper, or more to taste

Place the dill, basil, garlic, walnut, cheese, and zest in food processor and process until very finely chopped.  With the machine running add the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and 3/4 cup water.  Taste for seasoning (it should be highly seasoned). 

Marinate chicken for 2 hours or up to 12 hours, turning once or twice.  The longer the chicken marinates the richer the flavor.  Grill or cook marinated chicken as desired.


Adieu to Dad

My dad digging potatoes at last year's pumpkin patch

I haven’t been writing, as unfortuately my father  passed away recently.  He was a unique man who loved to play with his grandchildren, and talk politics and religion with the grown-ups.  He loved old cars, houseboats, yellow button down shirts, going swimming in the ocean, watching sports (only the end of the game, when it got exciting) and listening to Rush Limbaugh (yes, really).

The last few months of his life, he lived with my family.  It was fun, frustrating, happy and sad – sometimes all in the same day.  Once of the things that was most interesting was my dad’s food interests.  My dad was always a great eater and loved all types of food.  He was very appreciative when he came to visit and I’d make his old favorites and introduce him to a few new things.  However the last 6 months of his life he couldn’t taste or smell very well and relied on his sense of food memories for some meals.  By this I mean he enjoyed things more if he had already liked them as his mind could imagine the taste and help fill in for the taste buds.  One of his favorites was In-N-Out Burger.  Of course not something my family eats often (or ever), it was sometimes difficult for me to get him his request (burger with extra lettuce and tomato, fries and vanilla shake).  Standing in the long line and hearing the loud numbers being called out, I wanted to be anywhere but there.  But my dad truly enjoyed it when I brought it to him.  

Luckily there were a few other things he could enjoy eating including cherries from our trees, ripe nectarines from the farmer’s market, and my roasted potatoes.  Here’s the recipe to share with your family and maybe your dad too.  Mine liked these with ketchup.

Roasted Potatoes

I make lots of veggies in the oven this way.  It’s quick and easy and doesn’t even require measuring.  Just a pour and sprinkle to your family’s taste.  Be sure not to crowd the potatoes or they can’t brown.  The rosemary salt gives it a little kick and extra flavor.

Makes 6 servings

2 pounds small organic white new or fingerling potatoes (about 24), scrubbed
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon rosemary salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cut potatoes in half and place in a ceramic baking dish. Pour olive oil over potatoes and toss to coat. Sprinkle salt over potatoes and stir to mix. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until potatoes are brown on the outside and tender inside.

(If I need to speed up cooking, I precook the potatoes in the microwave for about 3 minutes before adding oil and salt.  Then put in the oven to finish and brown.  Cuts oven time in half).