Fit for a King

It might be true that men are the "king of the grill" but how about celebrating Father's Day this year by making the special man (or men) in your life "king for a day" and give him (or them) the day off. No schleping, no cooking, no walking the dog, no changing diapers, no washing dishes, no grilling, no mowing the lawn, no nada.

Hopefully, your man (unlike mine) has taught you how to safely operate the grill, so I trust you already have the well-marbled entree in mind for the special day. To enhance the sizzling meat of choice, I have compiled a few recipes that will guarantee a fabulous Father's Day meal for the king (or kings) in your life and one the whole family will enjoy.

What pairs better with seared meat than a crisp and cold salad, a very veggie side and a dreamy and decadent dessert to end his special day on a sweet note? I hope you'll find inspiration in the collection of previous blog recipes that are definitely "fit for a king."

Simply (and Manly) Salads

Luckily, my king loves salads and has requested one with lots of blue cheese for Sunday's festivities. Below are a few of our favorite "manly" salads, along with an unctuous blue cheese salad dressing, that will certainly please dear ole' dad and likely win a few others in the process.

The Wedge (click for the recipe)
Though this wedge salad recipe from The Palm is the one that won me over, adding The Palm's famous blue cheese salad dressing (recipe below) will make this plebeian, yet absolutely delicious salad even more spectacular. Taking this extra step of effort to make a homemade salad dressing will prove just how much you love your special guy.

Whenever we eat at The Palm, we always request the blue cheese salad dressing, which David lovingly calls "napalm." It is rich, creamy and still chunky and one of the best things you'll ever drizzle over a salad. Whip some up for dad (put it in a glass jar for a tasty homemade gift) and I promise he will eat every last green leaf on the plate.

Have you ever met a man who turned away a Caesar salad? I think not, which is why this makes such a great choice for Father's Day. Just add lots of shaved Parmesan over the top, lots of freshly ground black pepper and even a few of those lovely (and paleo-friendly) "Parm crisps" from Whole Foods which replace the boring croutons with big flavor.
If dad is a fan of tomatoes, now is the time to enjoy one of our favorite summer fruits. If you have a farmers market nearby, stop in and score some ripe homegrown (and maybe even heirloom) tomatoes for this simple salad. With blue cheese, of course.
This is a salad I made for my cousin's husband's birthday and he flipped. Simple, yet filled with flavor, the sweetness of the shallot vinaigrette marries beautifully with the salty capers, sweet basil and acidic tomatoes. Make the shallot vinaigrette ahead of time and sit back and enjoy a relaxing day with dad.

Very Veggie

Maybe I am a little old-fashioned (or just a nut for getting enough nutrients), but no great meal is complete without a serving (or two) of vegetables.

Though this wasn't always the case for my husband, vegetables are now a must in our culinary world that is becoming more and more plant-centric.

With summer upon us, that means lots of zucchini, squash, green beans, eggplant and tomatoes. Whether you want to a cold or room temperature side or serve it piping hot, here are a few tasty summer sides that are sure to bring a much appreciated punch of fiber and nutrients to everyone's world. Flavor is high on each of these dishes, so don't worry about anyone turning up their noses at blasé or bland veggies, but rather watch them disappear.

This side dish is best served cold or at room temperature, which means this is something else that can be made ahead so you and dad can relax together for a change.

This similar-to-ratatouille dish is really good. Savory eggplant and zucchini are tossed with tomato to make this sensational summer side.

As with anything cooked with tomatoes, this is going to be even better the next day, so go ahead and make it on Saturday and let it meld overnight. Reheat it on Father's Day and you have just earned more free time to spend with your man.

Roasted okra with tomatoes, onion garlic and mint
Maybe dad is a fan of okra? If so, I recommend this easy roasted okra dish as another way to put a smile on his face. Even non-okra lovers have been reformed with this dish. Really.

Full of flavor and not the least bit slimy, this roaster version may be your new favorite way to prepare one of summer's most abundant (and controversial) veggies.

OK, maybe potatoes are not officially a "vegetable," but it is Father's Day and sometimes we just need to do what makes us (and dad) happy. These oven baked fries can also be made with sweet potatoes for a healthier alternative, if you want. Fries make a great accompaniment to grilled meat, hamburgers and even hot dogs or anything for that matter. And the best part? No frying required.

Sweet Endings

No matter what the occasion, whether it is David's birthday, Christmas, Easter or Father's Day, he always (and I do mean always) requests Chocolate Angel Pie. A nutty meringue crust is filled with chocolate mousse and then topped with whipped cream. Light, yet truly incredible, this is what I will be making for him this Sunday, though I have added a few other sinfully rich and even not so sinful desserts to the list. 

Whether your king is seeking something light and tasty, vegan, gluten-free, fruity, paleo, frozen, chocolatey or down and out irresistible, here are some of my top choices for a sweet ending to another great Father's Day.

Perhaps dad prefers a light dessert, but one that has depth, texture, color and visual appeal? Choose this hazelnut meringue that is topped with homemade whipped cream and fresh strawberries. This is a gluten-free treat that everyone will flip for.

A trick to making a really crisp meringue is to bake it low and slow and then let it sit in the oven a bit longer and dry out so it is really light and crisp.

Another reason I love a meringue is you will have a few egg yolks leftover to put to use in a fun way. What do you think about some lemon curd or Hollandaise sauce (perfect for eggs Benedict, perhaps a nice way to start Father's Day off on a savory note) or homemade mayonnaise? Any of these could also be thoughtful gifts the kids make for dad.

Fallen chocolate cake
When was the last time you fell for a dessert? Maybe Father's Day is a reason to try this decadent, yet totally gluten-free chocolate cake. It was the featured dish on the cover of the March 2013 issue of Bon Appetit and with one bite, you will see why this will make dad a happy man.

Summer peaches are in full bloom, both from Fredericksburg, Texas and Georgia, which makes this dessert another winning choice.

Using Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream recipe for an incredible ice cream base (a few tablespoons of cream cheese is the trick), just add plenty of sweet and juicy peaches for a dessert that everyone will love.

Serve the ice cream in a bowl or score some high-quality ice cream cones and celebrate with hand-held desserts. If you go the cone route, be sure and let the ice cream melt a bit so it runs down your arms, just like if you were eating a juicy peach...
Vegan chocolate pudding
Lots of men are enjoying a plant-based diet these days, so if your guy falls into this category, this is the dessert for you. And him.

But don't think that just because it is vegan, it's going to be tasteless or boring, because this dessert is far from that.

Made with a can of full fat coconut milk and chunks of chocolate, a little bit of sweetener (I use stevia drops by SweetLeaf now as opposed to nasty Ideal) and a touch of coconut oil, this pudding is rich and creamy. No one will ever know it's good for them. Especially not dad.

Coffee semifreddo
If your dad or special man just happens to be a coffee aficionado, surprise him with this simple coffee semifreddo dessert.

This, too, needs to be made ahead of time, so he will have no idea what awaits him. Just keep him out of the freezer until the big reveal.

Though this dish is a bit tedious, simply follow the instructions and perform the steps in order and you will be rewarded with a light and flavorful coffee ice cream dessert that dad will swear was made by a professional. Garnish with a dusting of cocoa powder.
Summer means simple and this dessert is just that, plus it's gluten-free, paleo and absolutely delicious.

The topping is made of chopped nuts and dates and a sprinkle of cinnamon which complements the fruit of choice.

A combination of peaches and berries would be divine, but use whatever fruits dad loves best.

Key lime pie pops
Because we are still puckering over these tart-but-sweet key lime pie popsicles, they are a must to consider if your man is a key lime pie fan, a fisherman or just a lover of anything lime.

These pops are absolutely fun and scary simple to make. If you can squeeze and stir and have some popsicle molds lying around, definitely choose these for a funtastic way to end a great meal.
This recipe is a throwback to my teenage years when a friend of the family made the pie and I fell in love. Hard. Though she did write the recipe down for me and I saved it in my very old recipe box, I never made it until I came across what I thought was the pie recipe  in a cookbook featuring Santa Fe dessert recipes. Thirty years later. True story.

All I can say is we have made up for lost time and this has become David's favorite pie of all time. Really. Light and airy but filled with chocolate mousse and topped with whipped cream, OMG. The fact that it is gluten-free, mostly paleo and easy to make are irrelevant. 

From my kitchen to yours, 

Happy Father's Day 

and 

buen provecho!



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