Father’s Day

I can’t start this blog without an update on Gromit. He got his cast off a week ago and licked his paw like a crazy man for about an hour straight. It was a little touch and go at first, he shivered and meowed that entire day and into the night, not wanting to put any weight on his paw. The next few days I got the…”stay away from the paw” glare even when his favorite wet food was pulled out. But I am happy to report that he came gimp running out today to get his treats. So with a deep sigh of relief at least on that front, Gromit is doing great. Is it me or does his paw look like it belongs to a lion in this pic??? It seems abnormally large!

The next latest find is this new ice cream I have discovered. Since it is blazing hot in FL- over 95 every day, I had to find something yummy to cool things off a bit. Dairy on the whole doesn’t agree with me, and soy ice cream…don’t even get me started. Rice milk ice cream, while I have never tried it, somehow I just can’t even go there. When I was at the Natural Gourmet Institute we made several desserts out of coconut milk, including ice cream. It’s a genius idea and these folks are doing just that. I got a pint at Whole Foods (chocolate hazelnut) for $4.00. And let me tell you it is worth every penny. The coconut milk is from Thailand- organic and the sweetener they are using is Agave syrup. There is a ton of info on their website. Check them out!
The last few years on Father’s Day I have been making a traditional meal for my Dad. Each time in the past that I’ve cooked for him I’ve always gotten the standard “fine” reply. We happened to be out at a restaurant a few months after that first dinner and he actually told the chef that I had made him the best meal he had ever had. Needless to say I was speechless for days after that!! So here are the recipes. I’ve included a vegetarian substitute for the meat. Since I am not doing the meat thing anymore, I did end up buying my Dad the highest quality of beef at Whole Foods. I substituted polenta in place of the meat. Just follow the directions on the package for polenta (corn meal). I added a cup of Gruyere cheese and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese to kick it up a notch. And a shout out to Bobby Flay for these recipes. And seriously if you do not make the onion and potato gratin, you will have missed out on of the most delicious dishes ever!!
Don’t skimp on purchasing high quality ingredients for these dishes. All the dairy and produce were organic. The balsamic vinegar was even a high grade. While I personally feel it is okay to choose your battle in the food industry, why cook crappy food? Think fresh, think local, think simple. And to put it best is one of my favorite quotes from Anthelme Brillat-Savarin…”Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”
One last note, I used a cast iron skillet inside of a grill- works like a charm along with a small torch to melt the cheese.

Roasted Red Pepper and Ancho Salsa:

  • 2 ancho chiles
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 2 grilled red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Black Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon with Goat Cheese:

  • 4 filet mignon, 8 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh goat cheese, cut into 4 slices
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish

Roasted Red Pepper and Ancho Salsa:


Place the ancho chiles in a medium bowl, cover with boiling water and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

Remove the chiles from the soaking liquid, stem and coarsely chop, and combine in a blender with the garlic, pine nuts, honey and 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid. Blend until smooth.

Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the bell pepper strips, vinegar, cilantro, salt and pepper. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours before serving.

Black Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon with Goat Cheese:

Heat your grill to high.

Brush the filets with the oil and season both sides of each filet with the salt and 1 side of each filet with the black pepper. Place the steaks on the grill, pepper side down and grill until lightly charred and crusty, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the steaks over, and grill for 2 to 3 minutes longer for medium-rare.

Turn the steaks, once more so that the pepper side is facing up and top each filet with a slice of the cheese. Close the cover and grill until the cheese begins to melt slightly, about 1 minute.

Remove the steaks from the grill, let rest for 5 minutes. Top each filet with the roasted red pepper-ancho salsa. Garnish with cilantro leaves, before serving.

Onion and Potato Gratin:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large Spanish onion, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook slowly until caramelized. Add the garlic and balsamic vinegar and cook for 2 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch baking pan a place a layer of potatoes on the bottom and season with salt and pepper. Spoon 1/5 of the onion mixture over the potatoes and top with 1/4 cup of the heavy cream and a tablespoon of parsley. Repeat to make 5 layers. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the potatoes. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and the cream has been absorbed.


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