Father’s Day Food Memories

Whether you are enjoying a family favorite or trying a new recipe this Father’s Day, here’s hoping it’s a wonderful experience. 
June 12, 2024
Cast Iron Ribeye Photo: Rush Jagoe

For most people, the mention of any food or meal will spark a memory, whether loving, nostalgic, bittersweet or all of the above. Whether you are enjoying a family favorite or trying a new recipe this Father’s Day, here’s hoping it’s a wonderful experience. 

After chef Alon Shaya graduated from culinary school, his first real cooking job was at Antonio’s Italian Ristorante at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas.

“I wanted to show my grandfather my talent; I wanted to impress him,” Shaya, co-founder of Pomegranate Hospitality, told the Journal. “I cooked a steak well done for him, as he’d asked, even though I knew it would ruin the meat.”

While Shaya’s grandfather told him how much he loved the food, and how proud he was, Shaya said the recognition now feels melancholy. 

“That steak dinner was our final meal together,” Shaya said. “That final meal I cooked for my saba — steak and potatoes — inspired many of the recipes in my cookbook.”

He added, “It’s the meal I would make for him if I could get a do-over.”

“It’s the meal I would make for him if I could get a do-over.” – Alon Shaya

Cast-Iron Ribeye

Before you begin, make sure to have at least one dozen bamboo or metal skewers for the chicken and any vegetable kebabs you plan on grilling.

2 boneless 14-to-16-ounce ribeyes
1 tsp Morton kosher salt
2 Tbsp canola oil

Use a paper towel or dish towel to pat the steaks dry on both sides. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt on each side of each steak and give it a pat to make sure it sticks. Refrigerate the steaks on an uncovered plate for at least 1 hour and up to a day.

Before you cook, let the steak sit at room temperature for 20 minutes or so to take off the chill.

Set a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until it’s blazing hot, then add the canola oil. If the steaks won’t fit in the skillet without crowding, add only 1 tablespoon of oil now and save the other for the second steak. Heat your oven to 175°F so that the first steak stays warm while you cook the second. Allow the oil to get smoking hot.

Lay the steak or steaks in the skillet side by side, and immediately decrease the heat to medium. Leave them alone for 5 to 8 minutes, depending on how thick they are. You should see a deep-brown crust climbing about ¼ inch from the bottom for medium-rare or a little higher if you prefer a more well-done steak. Flip and cook the other side for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the other side is deeply browned as well. Again, cook for an extra minute or two if you like.

Let the steaks rest for at least 5 minutes on a plate, so the juices can settle in. (If you’re worried about the steaks getting cold, keep them in a warm oven.) Slice the steak thinly and on a bias to serve, preferably with chimichurri on the side.

Za’atar Chimichurri
Photo: Rush Jagoe

Za’atar Chimichurri

1 cup lightly packed fresh parsley leaves
¾ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
½ clove garlic, grated or minced
2 tsp za’atar
¼ tsp Morton kosher salt
¼ tsp red-pepper flakes
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice

Chop the parsley and cilantro together. Add them to a bowl with the garlic, za’atar, salt and red pepper, then stir in the olive oil. Shortly before it’s time to eat, stir in the lemon juice. This is best eaten when it’s very fresh.

Dawn Lerman’s fad-dieting, 400-pound ad-man dad was never a morning person. Every Father’s Day, she knew the only way to wake him up early was to make him a scrumptious breakfast in bed. Figuring out what to prepare depended on the diet du jour, so she always had to be creative.

“On Father’s Day, right after I turned nine, I came up with a recipe that fulfilled my dad’s diet requirements while also creating one of his favorite dishes from his childhood: ‘little packages of love,’ a.k.a. cheese blintzes,” Lerman, a board-certified nutrition expert and the author of “My Fat Dad: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Family, With Recipes,” told the Journal.

Lerman had seen her grandmother prepare the recipe so many times, she was confident she could replicate them with her healthy twist. 

“Watching my dad enjoy the gluten-free blintzes with no mention of the ingredient swaps, I realized I could help my dad with his weight loss, while still serving up a hefty dose of ‘nostalgia,’ an essential ingredient in any family recipe,” Lerman said.

Gluten-free Cheese Blintzes

 6 servings

Crepe Batter:
3 mashed bananas
3 Tbsp milk or choice
6 scoops protein powder of your choice
1½ cup egg whites, beaten until stiff
A splash of water after, before ladling
in pan
Cooking spray 

Cheese Filling:
12 ounces farmer’s cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar of choice (I like monk fruit)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
Pinch of salt

2 cups berries, sliced thin
Dollop of yogurt.

To make the batter:

Mash the bananas and add the milk. Then stir in the protein powder and egg whites. Make sure you beat the egg whites separately until stiff, and then fold in. 

To make the crepes:

Grease a 6- or 7-inch skillet until it is hot but not smoking.

Put a ladle full of batter into the skillet. Tilt the pan to swirl the batter so it covers the bottom of the skillet.

Fry on one side until bubbles form and the top is set. The bottom should be golden brown. Carefully loosen the edges of the crepe and slip it out of the skillet onto a plate.

Repeat the above procedure until all the batter is used. Grease the skillet each time before pouring the batter.

After all the crepes are made, begin filling them. The brown side should be facing up. Place 3 tablespoons of filling on one edge.

Roll once to cover the filling. Fold the sides into the center and continue rolling until completely closed.

After all the blintzes are assembled, heat 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet and place each crepe, seam side down, in the skillet. Fry for 2 minutes on each side, turning once.

Serve with a dollop of yogurt, garnish with fresh berries.

Happy Father’s Day!

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