Side Dishes, Sweet Treats

A Father’s Day Menu: Chimichurri, Hot Bacon Potato Salad, and Flourless Chocolate Cake

A little handmade touch never hurt a Father's Day cake.
A little handmade touch never hurt a Father’s Day cake.

There are two fathers who feature prominently in my life: my own father, and S. and Lemon Baby’s daddy (also known as my husband). They are vastly different men in trait and temperament, but one (very important) thing they have in common is the ability to drop everything and play. My own father demonstrated it countless times while I was growing up, and still to this day, when his grandchildren want him to chase them on all fours, roaring like a fearsome beast, he complies without hesitation. My husband, when asked to tell his nephew, niece, and son a bedtime story, grabs our stuffed Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat and enacts the storyline, complete with an inflatable tire float. (For those who don’t know who/what Mr. Bear is, it’s a ridiculous children’s story from back in the day about –you guessed it– a bear who squashes little woodland creatures’ homes). The ability to play on demand is reason enough to make whomever you (or your kids) call “Dad” a special meal on the third Sunday in June.

For this Father’s Day post, I wanted to provide an outline of a meal, with room enough for improvisation. For that reason, instead of a main dish, below is a recipe for a bright, zesty sauce that goes with practically any meat, fish, shellfish (even vegetables, if that’s what Dad wants!). So let him choose the main, and to round out the meal, try this hot bacon potato salad, and as my husband said, “all the chocolate.” It’s been said that men actually love chocolate as much as women, and my sweetie is no exception.

Let’s start with the sauce. Chimichurri is a typical Argentinian condiment that pairs exceptionally well with the typical Argentinian main course: beef.  The sauce is so incredibly simple and yet so nuanced–you’ll wonder why you haven’t been slathering it on your steak your whole life. I prefer to chop my herbs by hand, but many use a food processor. I sometimes can feel overwhelmed by the richness of meat; thanks to lemon juice and vinegar, chimichurri transforms an ordinary steak.

Not the most flattering of photos, but what chimichurri lacks in looks it more than makes up for in flavor.
Not the most flattering of photos, but what chimichurri lacks in looks it more than makes up for in flavor.

 

Chimichurri Sauce

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  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Total Time: 10m
  • Yield: 1 cup
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a bunch of parsley
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 -2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh oregano
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Chop parsley finely, put into small bowl or serving dish. Add oregano, garlic and lemon juice and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, stirring. Set aside for an hour to let the flavors meld. Alternately, process parsley, garlic, oregano in a food processor. Add lemon juice and vinegar. While the processor is running, add olive oil and process until it's a saucy consistency. You may need to add more olive oil.
New South Potato Salad
Not New Potato Salad

Many dads are the “meat and potatoes” fans of the family. My husband, whose family hails from Indiana, is decidedly one. I prefer to inject a little rabbit food into every meal, (hence the sauce, which the husband wholeheartedly condones, BTW). The side dish, however, is all potatoes and a generous helping of bacon (and its rendered fat), but I got away with throwing a little parsley on top. As a Southerner raised in the North, I get the allure of the typical Duke’s mayonnaise-based  potato salad. There is a time and a place for it (picnics, on a plate next to a hot dog or pulled pork BBQ) and it can even be exceptionally delicious, but if I’m going to make a potato salad at home, it’ll be this one. Bacon, onions, vinegar, and a little stone ground mustard is all it takes to take potato salad to the next level.

Not New Potato Salad

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  • Prep Time: 5m
  • Cook Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 25m

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bag small waxy yellow potatoes
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon coarse, whole grain mustard
  • chopped herbs for garnish (basil, chives, or parsley)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil potatoes in a pot of salted water until easily pierced with a fork. In a large saucepan, cook bacon over medium-high heat until just browned and crisp. DO NOT DRAIN FAT. Add onions and cook, stirring, 5-7 minutes until translucent. Cut cooled potatoes in half or fourths, depending on size. Add to bacon mixture, stir to coat. Add mustard and vinegar. Stir and cook over low heat. Season with salt and pepper and garnish

 

A chocolate cake chock full of love.
A chocolate cake chock full of love.

As I mentioned before, my husband is all about the chocolate. In fact, he has such a good nose for chocolate that he has raided my secret stash on more than one occasion (until I found better hiding places). This is his absolute favorite cake, hands down, and you cannot get any more deep-dark-chocolate-cake than this baby. As an added bonus, it’s gluten free, so celiacs the world over, rejoice! It also happens to be one of the simplest cakes to whip up, ever. One bowl. Yep, that’s right. One bowl. I got the idea for the One-Bowl Flourless Chocolate cake from Baker’s One-Bowl Brownies because I will always find a way to get out of a double-boiler situation. And frankly, if Baker’s One-Bowl Brownie recipe is good enough for Food52, then it’s certainly good enough for me.

Deep, Dark Flourless Chocolate Cake

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  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 25m
  • Total Time: 40m
  • Yield: 1 8 inch cake
  • Category:

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate (70%-85% cacao), chopped
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of salted butter
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • stencil or doily and powdered sugar
  • Parchment paper and butter for pan

Instructions

  1. Prepare pan by cutting a round of parchment for the bottom and buttering bottom and sides of pan and parchment. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a glass bowl, put the chocolate and butter. Heat in the microwave for 30 second intervals, whisking in between each one, until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar, and whisk until incorporated. Whisk eggs thoroughly into mixture, and add cocoa powder, whisking until combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan and is no longer jiggly in the center. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then invert onto serving dish and cool completely. Place stencil or doily on cake and gently sift powdered sugar over. Wait a minute and remove stencil or doily carefully. Enjoy!

 

Happy Father’s Day, from Mr. Bear Squash You All Flat, to you and yours. And if you’re wondering who ate half of the cake, it wasn’t me. Really. It was the two in my household with Y-chromosomes, of course.

Who do you love?
Who do you love?

 

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