Monday, June 21, 2010

Why I don't write about my Dad

There are several key reasons why my father does not make regular appearances here on my blog.  Let me lay them out for you as follows:
  1. He tends to communicate via extensive, enumerated lists to make his point*.   While his logic is inevitably irrefutable, this doesn't make for good sound bites**.
  2. He's been a very successful bureaucrat for most of his professional life.  Meaning he's diplomatic, even tempered, detail-oriented, authoritative and thoughtful.  But not funny.
  3. He's had both hips replaced, his back hurts a lot, and he should be retired.  But he goes to work every day, cooks and cares for his wife when she's ill, and supports my mom financially.   He's devoted to his dog.   Making him a shining example of nobility and selflessness, but not exactly riveting copy.
  4. He taught me to love reading, puzzles, George of the Jungle cartoons and Monty Python movies.  He put me and my sister through college, raised two strong, confident women, and is inordinately proud of both of us.  And he adores his crop of rapidly growing grandchildren enormously.   We are beyond lucky to have him, but this is more of a personal benefit than a public one.
  5. Perhaps most relevant of all, he's got an iron grip***, is really tall and intimidating, and may actually read this someday.  
Dad with his grandkids and the characters from South Park at his 70th birthday party****.

So, instead of blogging about my Dad on Father's Day, I'm going to blog about what I cooked for my Dad on Father's Day.   It's much safer.  

Warm Grilled Potato Salad
This was an experiment I tried as an accompaniment to our Father's Day mixed grill, and we all loved it. 

About 2 lbs. of red rose or other waxy potatoes, washed and cut into 1/3 inch slices
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 c. of olive oil
2-3 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1/2 c. of chopped green onions
grated zest of 1 orange
3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
Another 1/2 c. olive oil
Plenty of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3-4 cups of arugula

Put a pot of salted water on to boil, and add the potatoes.  Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until potatoes are nearly done but not quite.  To check, look for them to opaque at the edges but still crisp in the middle.

Remove from water and drain well on a towel.

Meanwhile, whisk the garlic, 1/2 c. of olive oil, and mustard together in a small bowl, and season liberally with salt and pepper.  Brush one side of the potato rounds with this mixture, and hold onto the rest.   Mix green onions, orange zest, vinegar and the other 1/2 c. of olive oil in a large mixing bowl until well blended.  Set aside.   Arrange arugula in a shallow serving bowl and keep in the fridge until you need it.

Place potato slices, oiled side down, onto a hot grill.   Brush the tops with the remaining mustard/garlic mixture.   If you have any of the mustard mixture left, stir it into the large bowl with the balsamic dressing.  Close grill and cook potatoes for 6 minutes.   Flip over and continue grilling for another 6 minutes.   The potatoes should be nice and brown and crispy looking when they're done.   Immediately transfer to the bowl with the dressing and toss, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Get out your serving dish, and spoon the potatoes over the arugula, drizzling with any extra dressing.  Serve immediately.

Bonus! The trick to great grilled steak

When you put the steak on the grill, place a few thin slices of cold butter on top.   It will melt into the meat slowly.  When you flip the steaks, put another few slices of butter on the steak.  This will melt quickly.  When you eat the steak, it will literally melt in your mouth.   You will never grill any other way again!

* I suppose I have made use of this methodology here from time to time, so perhaps he has had an impact after all.
** What it does make for are long, drawn out conversations that have a strong tinge of the old college lecture about them.
*** Those of you who have met my dad know what I'm talking about.
**** He may not be that funny himself, but he has a great appreciation for comedy (which he passed on to me) and for campy Godzilla movies (which he thankfully did not).

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