Fathers Day

sunshining.jpglaraine_newman_cameo.jpgYou want to know just how wonderful my husband is? Well, in 2004 my dad died and my grief was crushing. I gained 40 lbs. and cried at the drop of a hat for about 2 years.  Chad got a .mac account in my dad's name and starting emailing me as my dad during certain milestones like my birthday.  Not only did Chad completely capture my dad's way of speaking, but he kept up the derisive insinuations my dad would make about him just to make me laugh. Notice how he refers to Chad as 'what's his name' and 'Chaz'.

My dad's nickname for me was Pie. I don't know why. I still miss my dad terribly, but the pain isn't as bad anymore. These emails my husband writes are so vivid and represent my dad's sensibility so accurately, that for a brief moment, he is with me again.  How lucky can ya get?

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"This intense flavorful rub is great for any type of steak, but I prefer rib eye for barbecuing. This recipe is for indoor cooking, but you can also cook them on a charcoal or gas grill over high heat. Be sure and let the steaks rest before carving – I usually throw some olive coated vegetables (such as zucchini or asparagus coated with olive oil, sea salt and pepper) on the grill after I remove the steaks."

perfect steak Coffee Rubbed Grilled Rib Eye Steaks

3 tablespoons finely ground espresso
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon Spanish sweet paprika
1½ tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 bone-in or boneless rib-eye steaks, 2-inches thick, approximately 1 1/2 pounds each
Canola or olive oil
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F and adjust oven rack to center position. Combine all spices in a bowl and set aside.

Preheat a cast iron grill pan over high heat.

Brush each side of the steak with oil and then season each side liberally with salt and pepper. Rub 2 tablespoons of the coffee rub onto 1 side of each steak. Cook the steak, rub side down until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the steak over, cook for 2 minutes and then transfer to a baking sheet and cook in the oven to medium-rare doneness, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.

– Recipe courtesy of Cook Like James

grilledlobsterSince Father's Day coincides with the start of summer, grilling is the best way to celebrate male parenting.

For me, nothing is better than a platter of grilled Italian sausages with sautéed onions, deveined shrimp seasoned with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, corn on the cob, charred red peppers mixed with capers and garlic and lobsters split open and doused with pats of sweet butter.  With a tossed arugula and carrot salad, a loaf of freshly baked bread and a fresh fruit salad and I am happy.

When the boys come to the house to celebrate a birthday, mother's day or father's day, they frequently take command of the grill. As my younger son, Michael, reminds me, they are my sons so of course they are good cooks. And that makes me very very happy.

Our other son, Franklin, doesn't regard a meal a proper meal unless there are appetizers. So to add to the celebration, I offer three of my favorites. They are all easy-to-make. The tapenade and lavash crisps can be made a day or two ahead. The grilled corn salsa is best made fresh.

All three are addictive so you may find you'll be eating them all summer long.

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fathersday-kipner-shhSome men BBQ ribs. Others grill hearty steaks or shrimp with an array of specialty South American hot sauces. My dad, however, does not. He holds myriad talents, but cooking is not one of them. Or, so I was led to believe.

Since I was old enough to ask for dinner, my dad has continually told my brother and me that he can’t cook. "Lizzie!" he'd yell to my mom, "Quick! The kids need some food!" His panic palpable and contagious. Before long, we’d all be yelling for our mom’s swift and seemingly effortless intervention. Initially, she tried to tell him to make it himself, but each time he would make it so poorly - too much butter, too little jam, toast with too burned edges - that we decided we would never ask him to make anything again. Even the simplest jobs would go awry. "Oops!" he'd exclaim with questionable enthusiasm from the kitchen. "I've charcoaled the popcorn again!"

Realizing his efforts would cause more cleanup than help, my generous mom (who admittedly loves to pamper those whom she loves) began a routine of breakfast in bed that she’d never be able to get out of. Once my mom spoils you, there’s no going back. “Lizzie!” he’d call out from their room, desperate for more attention. It became an addiction, this attention. It was like crack. “WMC?”

We came to understand “WMC” to be an acronym for “Where’s my coffee?”

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dinner.jpg My father got me laid – twice. I’ll get to the food part in a minute.

The first was a cute, spunky doctor who worked with him in his Radiology department in a VA Hospital on Long Island. She told me she was in Los Angeles and my father had told her to call me. She added, laughing, ”Like for a good time.”

"Come on up", I said, "I’m in Benedict Canyon.  I’ll make you dinner." We bonded on my living room couch. Later, in the early hours of the morning I thought, “Gee, thanks, Dad.  A nice present.  And, it was my first doctor.”

The food. Growing up in a tiny town in upstate New York there weren’t any restaurants, just a luncheonette where if you asked for an egg salad sandwich the owner began by boiling an egg. The River Tavern Bar and Grill had a bar and no grill but in the summer you could get a pizza pie and in the winter they would defrost one for you.

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