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.
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.
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.
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.