By Barbara Beltrami
There’s Dad, dear man, beer, martini or wine glass in one hand, fork, tongs or spatula in the other, standing in a rather large cloud of black smoke grilling our dinner. Nobody does it better. We know that and so does he, so how can we not let him do it almost every night?
But on Fathers Day we have to draw the line. Even though he cooks those steaks to perfection, even though he’s got the magic formula for getting the chicken crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, we can’t have him slaving over a hot grill on his special day. Am I suggesting that we do the barbecuing? Of course not. We understand that the grill is his special territory. I’m just saying that we have to cook for him and pamper him so he knows how much we love him, the greatest grillmeister of all.
So what do we do? We make him a sumptuous but easy meal without the grill. First we marinate a pork tenderloin for a few hours in the fridge, then remove it and cook it for a short time in the oven. Next we chill Dad’s drink(s) and park him in a lounge chair, microwave some enormous russet potatoes and we toss together a big salad with everything we can think of in it. Dessert has been made and frozen the night before, and we’re so organized that we can spend most of our time waiting on Dad hand and foot. After all, doesn’t he deserve it?
Marinated Roasted Pork Tenderloin
One 2-pound pork tenderloin (they often come two in a package so you can cook one and freeze the other or cook both and use the second one for leftovers, sandwiches, etc.)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon A-1 sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
In a small bowl combine the vinegar, oil, mustard, A-1 sauce, tarragon, garlic, salt and pepper. Transfer to gallon-size re-closable plastic bag. Place tenderloin in a U-shape in bag, seal and turn bag in several directions to be sure all the meat is coated. Refrigerate in marinade at least two hours, open bag and rotate meat so all parts of it have a chance to soak in the marinade. Refrigerate one hour more.
Preheat oven to 475 F. Place meat and marinade in a shallow roasting pan. Roast 25 minutes for pork that is slightly pink inside or 30 to 35 minutes for more well done. Let tenderloin rest for 15 minutes, then place on a cutting board and slice into 1-inch-thick rounds. Serve with baked potatoes with sour cream and/or butter.
The Everything Salad
YIELD: Makes 6 servings
1 head red leaf or green leaf lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
1 large tomato, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup chopped fennel
4 radishes, washed, trimmed and sliced
4 scallions, washed, trimmed and sliced
6 frozen artichoke hearts, cooked and quartered
2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
1 medium fresh beet, peeled and shredded
1 cup cooked and sliced asparagus or string beans
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
¾ cup canned chick peas, washed and drained
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup good wine vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 handful basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
10 black olives, pitted and sliced
2/3 cup crumbled Roquefort, blue or goat cheese, crumbled
½ cup sunflower seeds
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
In a large bowl, combine lettuce, tomato, green pepper, cucumber, fennel, radishes, scallions, artichoke hearts, carrots, beet, asparagus, green peas and chick peas; toss well. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Drizzle mixture over tossed veggies; toss again to coat evenly. Arrange or evenly distribute the basil, dill, olives, cheese, sunflower seeds and eggs on top. Serve immediately at room temperature with crusty bread and unsalted butter.
Frozen Banana Split Pie
YIELD: Makes 8 to 10 servings
6 to 8 brownies
1½ cups vanilla ice cream, softened
1½ cups chocolate ice cream, softened
1½ cups strawberry ice cream, softened
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 large banana, sliced
1/3 cup chocolate syrup
2 cups sweetened whipped cream
In a 9-inch pie plate, mash, crush and press brownies into bottom and sides. Spread the vanilla ice cream over the brownie crust, then repeat with chocolate ice cream and finally strawberry ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. When ready to serve, remove from freezer, uncover and spread sliced strawberries and bananas over top; let sit 10 to 15 minutes to soften. Drizzle chocolate syrup over top, then drop dollops of whipped cream over fruit and chocolate.