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Cooking for Dad on Father’s Day might not be mandatory the way Mother’s Day breakfast is for Mom, but dads appreciate being appreciated. What better way to say, “Thanks for never telling Mom about that time I got arrested,” than to cook a delicious and nutritious meal for him? Here are a handful of recipes among my own favorites that I think dads would dig, a strict criterion I based on one of two highly scientific possibilities: if my dad would love it, or if it seems like a DAD kind of food.

 

Hungry Man Casserole

This first recipe definitely fits in that second highly scientific category of foods that dads would probably like. It was the manliest thing I could think of–dude food, if you will.

 

 

I am a big fan of PaleoPot because the recipes are simple and straightforward, and even when there are a lot of steps, author Jason does an excellent job of explaining them concisely. You don’t have to be a paleo dieter to like these recipes. In general, they’re hearty, spicy, and very meat-and-(sweet)-potatoes. And, as the man says, “If you don’t like sweet potatoes, you’re wrong.” Maybe not a great Father’s Day strategy, but a good life philosophy in general.

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Apple Pie, the Way it Should Be

Next up is one of my own dad’s favorite foods in the whole world, apple pie. I specifically chose a recipe that used a lot of butter. I think this is really important. Butter rounds out an apple pie like an airbrush artist editing photos of JLo. Have you ever had an apple pie with not enough butter, or (shudder) NO BUTTER? I’m sure you have–I’d say that describes about 90% of the apple pies out there at any given time. It’s like there’s a hole in it. The flavor is all high-pitched and one-dimensional, imbalanced, astringent even. Butter brings those crazy apples down to earth. Delicious, well-rounded, earthy, buttery, heavenly apple pie for your pops on his special day:

 

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For more excellent pie recipes, check out Ashley English’s A Year of Pies. Reputable sources tell me that every single pie in there is mmm-tastic! I might be paraphrasing.

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Short Ribs

Beef short ribs are a best-kept secret, so shh. They are so delicious, and braising them like Wicked Noodle author Kristy does in this recipe gets you such a tender and decadent piece of meat, you would not believe how inexpensive it was! I buy mine at a local farm that raises all happy, grass fed, hormone-free animals, and I think I pay $7/lb for it. Honestly, I keep waiting for the short rib lobby or whatever to realize what a cash cow this could be and hike the price up to $12/lb.

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I find this recipe perfect just the way it is, but a couple of things I like to do additionally, as matters of personal pickiness, are: Use ghee or real butter instead of canola oil, add sliced fennel bulbs to the pot, and replace beef stock with chicken stock. This is the kind of recipe that you can have a lot of variations on. Some people serve it over polenta, for example. I think gorgonzola and caramelized onion mashed potatoes would make an exquisite nest. Or, maybe mashed potatoes with bacon, and then top the whole thing with a very mild fig preserve. What, two sauces? Sure, why not! If dad doesn’t or can’t eat potatoes, try a cauliflower mash with herbs (tarragon and thyme, perhaps).

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Thanksgiving(ish) in June

I know, enough beef. I’m sort of stereotyping, huh? Not all dads are cow-mowing, flannel-wearing Dinty-Moore reformists. One of my favorite things to cook for special occasions is chicken. Yep, just a roasted chicken. But, here’s how I make it special: 1) Brine it in salt water for two days (1/2 Tbsp Kosher salt per cup of water), 2) Put lots of butter under the skin to make it just that right kind of crispy, 3) Make my own rub. I like brown sugar, cumin, mustard, celery powder, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, and maybe coriander and chili powder. I pour a little olive oil over the chicken, spread it around, and then sprinkle the rub on, and 4) Cook it in a dutch oven with the lid on until the last 15-20 minutes. Then, I take the lid off to crisp the skin. If I remember.

Anyway, I don’t have a photo or a link for you, but this is eezy-peezy. Just start with a [not frozen] chicken, do all the above things, don’t forget to tie the feet together before sticking it in the oven, and bake it at 375. Cooking time will depend on the size of the bird, but I usually start checking the temperature at about 45 minutes. (It cooks fast with that lid on.) You’re looking for an internal temperature of 160. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes, and enjoy!

A whole chicken is great, because I think dads like to eat turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving, right? It’s like a holiday ritual that lasts almost an entire week, culminating with turkey and rice soup. Well, why not give your dad a days-long eating ritual in the summer? Chicken salad! Pozole! Cook a big enough chicken, and your sweet ol’ dad can have meals for days. Whether or not you want to stick around and cook them, well that’s up to you!

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And Now for Something Entirely Different

Father’s Day is in the summer (duh Becky), and it’s lots of fun to spend summer evenings outside–cook on the grill, eat dinner on the porch, slap a few mosquitos. Well, you don’t have to tell me grilling is hard. And it all gets kinda dried out if you don’t do everything juuuust right. If you’re not a grill-master, that’s no reason to stay away from the grill. Instead, just cook something on there that will make everybody think you’re crazy. Until they taste the breakfast-for-dinner taste-tacular that is grilled stuffed brioche french toast. As a very wise friend once said: Wooow-eee-ooooh.

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This crazy nonsense comes from a book by Jamie Purviance, called Time to Grill. I’ll be honest–I’ve not tried this recipe, or anything even remotely like it. But I a) Cannot wait to, and b) Have no doubt whatsoever about its deliciousness.

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Thank you for reading. All 20 of you. And I wish you a happy, happy Father’s Day! If you’re a dad, I hope you get the meal or visit or phone call or five minutes of silence you’re hoping for. And Dad, thanks for never telling Mom about that time I got arrested.

 
 
 
 

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