We've got another Father's Day coming up. This year I won't be able to get out to my parent's house to cook on the date so I'm planning an early Father's Day. After a bit of reflection, I decided on steak this year. That may seem common-place, but for us it isn't. I'll pig up a grass-fed rib eye from my favorite local producer, make a special trip out to Earth Fare to get some Point Reyes blue cheese, and cruise by the farmer's market to fill in the gaps. I'm thinking I'll make cinnamon ice cream for the occasion.
These tomatoes dipped in vodka aren't my idea, and I don't recall where it came from, but it gets raves at parties. One of the great things about it is even in winter you can buy edible cherry tomatoes (I think the Nature Sweet brand is the best) so it's a year-round appetizer. Although they do involve alcohol, it's only a touch - literally. And it's hard to imagine an easier dish.
This recipe for rib eye steak with pan sauce is something I came up with for my birthday. I don't eat steak often because it's either expensive or not very good. If it's not very good why bother, and if it's expensive… Let's just say I don't get paid enough. In this case the steak is pan-roasted then I make a pan sauce using red wine, shallots, thyme, and blue cheese. If you can find it, Point Reyes Blue is one of the best domestic blue cheeses you can buy and although it partially melts in the sauce, it doesn't completely melt - which is the idea.
Mushroom pilaf was one of my standards for years, and then, as such things do, it fell off the bottom of the menu. But I recently roasted a chicken and remembered it when thinking of a side dish. Pilaf is distinguished from other rice dishes because the rice is lightly sautéed in butter or oil before a broth or stock is added and it's cooked. The extra steps help keep the grains separate and infuses them with more flavor, then it's often cooked in the oven instead of the stove top.
My quick version of Parmesan Tomatoes hardly deserves to be called a recipe, but it's so good that if you haven't ever made it you should make it tonight. All you need is a small tomato for each person, a bit of thyme, oregano, or basil, and some genuine Parmigiano Reggiano (do not use anything but genuine Parmigiano). By the way, a toaster oven works great for these.
Verrines are essentially a fancy French presentation technique and this citrus dessert verrine shows how easy they can be. All you do is layer ingredients in a clear glass. This verrine is made completely of store-bought ingredients and was inspired by fruit-flavored yogurts (I tend to buy plain yogurt and then add a spoonful of jam to it as a dessert). It's a great ending to a celebratory meal such as a birthday or anniversary.