by Chef Dez
My dad is a real meat and potatoes kind of guy, and doesn’t stray from this beaten path very often.
Although he appreciates good food and has a palette accepting of spiciness, he usually doesn’t like anything too fancy or extraordinary.
Many dads fall into this category, and thus I dedicate this column to them and the loved ones that cook for them.
Being a dad, myself, I immediately think of barbecued food when it comes to Father’s Day.
Instead of grilling up the same old cookout fare like hamburgers and hotdogs, allow me to give you some refreshing ideas to add some variety to your celebration.
Bacon is a very popular ingredient and almost anything can be “bacon wrapped.”
Try experimenting with ideas like steak bites, chicken strips, stuffed jalapenos, and prawns all wrapped in bacon.
Even an ordinary wiener will make a hotdog taste better if wrapped in bacon before cooking.
Another great idea for the barbecue is corn on the cob.
Most people boil cobbed corn, but how much flavour does water have? Zero.
A better way is to cook them directly on the grates of the grill.
Remove all the husks and the silk as you would for boiling, but instead lay them on a hot grill.
The caramelized flavour and colour of the kernels roasting directly over the fire offers a corn-eating experience like none other.
Just keep rotating the cobs periodically to ensure even cooking and browning. Once the kernels are slightly charred, remove, serve with seasoned butter and enjoy.
If you are doing this over charcoal, the flavour is even better.
Tin foil potatoes is always a favourite with our family.
Simply start out with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Coat the top side of the foil (where the potatoes will be placed) with a thin layer of oil or baking spray to help prevent the potatoes from sticking, and then mound on a pile of potato chunks (with or without skins).
The smaller the potato chunks are cut, the faster they will cook.
Top with an array of ingredients such as butter, seasonings, onions, cooked bacon, peppers, etc.
Then bring the ends and sides of the foil up to completely seal together. Keeping it sealed completely will trap steam in and help to cook evenly.
Place these bundles over low heat and check periodically for doneness.
The time it will take to cook through will depend on the cut size of your potatoes and the volume per bundle. Alternatively, these can also be made in an oven with the bundles placed on a baking sheet.
One of my most favourite barbecue side dishes is grilled red onion.
With the help of a marinade, slices of this sweet onion variety get caramelized and sugary on the grill. A simple marinade of soy sauce and liquid honey will work wonders for you. Simply slice the red onions into 1 to 2 cm thick slices and insert two skewers per slice to keep them from falling apart into onion ‘rings’. Mix the marinade and soak the slices for one to 12 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat the barbecue and grill on each side until caramelized. Season with salt and freshly cracked pepper, then serve.
Adding a cast iron pan to the barbecue’s cooking surface will help to expand the cooking possibilities.
You can now easily saute mushrooms for steak, side dish vegetables, or anything that is not easily cooked on traditional grates. A new cast iron frying pan is also a good gift idea that will last him a lifetime.
Add a couple of cold side salad dishes that you can prepare in advance, and your Father’s Day meal will be complete.
These are just a few of the endless ideas that you can accomplish for a fantastic Father’s Day meal.
There are many unique and tasty recipes available to you on the internet and at the library, and one should always take advantage of these resources.
Have a great Father’s Day and happy cooking!
– Chef Dez is a food columnist and culinary instructor in the Fraser Valley. Visit him at www.chefdez.com.
Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or to P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C. V2T 6R4.