Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fathers Day Feast and Festivities

I have a confession to make -- as much as I love food, I really hate cooking.  No, let me more specific: I like to bake, and I'm happy to spend days toasting almonds, making custard and baking cake in order to assemble a perfect trifle, but when it comes to chopping veggies for a quick stir fry dinner, count me out. My husband, Glen, works at home, and by default also takes care of the house -- which means he does the shopping and cooking and cleaning and homework help in addition to his own freelance writing.  He enjoys reading cookbooks and trying out new foods, and likes coming up with healthy, fun, interesting meals for our family.  It's a win win.

For Fathers Day, though, I thought it would be nice to give him a break, so I planned the menu, shopped, and cooked (most) of the food for the day. I figured out that there are some things that just need to be homemade, and other things I could use a mix, or buy outright. I went to grocery store three times (grr, I didn't check how many eggs were left in the carton! And while I didn't discover that I loved every minute of it, I did get some zen pleasure out of chopping potatoes, peeling boiled eggs, getting my hands messy mixing up a meatloaf, and then there was the perfect flan.  I roped the kids into helping -- Glen is, after all, THEIR father -- and we put together a relatively successful non-cooking day. Here's our menu for 2012:

Breakfast: Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake and strawberries. OK, we changed the name to "milk cake" since we don't drink coffee, but the name didn't matter -- it was delicious.  I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier than necessary for a Sunday morning, so I could pre-heat the oven. And I admit to using a Pillsbury cake mix -- it came with separate pouches of streusel mix, and a little glaze for the top, but given that we all have to be out of the house by 8:40 am to get to church on time, that was the best I could do.  Chopped strawberries and a glass of milk rounded out the meal.

Lunch: Pita and Hummus, deviled eggs, tomato-basil-mozzarella-pesto salad.  This was tricky because I knew I wouldn't be home to serve lunch because I had a meeting after church, so I put together a menu that my children could pull together.  I boiled the eggs on Saturday, and peeled and stuffed them Sunday morning, while the "milk cake" was baking.  I bought the hummus and pita bread, and Glen had made homemade pesto from basil in our garden. (Does it count that Glen made the pesto?)  My kids swore to me that they put everything together on their own, and they even cleaned up and loaded the dishwasher!

Snacks:  Chips and two different salsas.  I totally cheated on this one, but Kate gave Glen a mexican street food cookbook, so it seemed fitting to add two bottles of salsa to the gift. Thanks to Williams Sonoma for the Avocado/Tomatillo and the Fire-Roasted Chile Tomato salsas we had with chips in the mid-afternoon.

Dinner:  Meatloaf, roasted potatoes, baby carrots and flan.  Thanks again to Williams Sonoma for the meatloaf starter that helped me put this together. (I gave up making meatloaf about ten years ago - I just don't have the knack for it, but the starter makes it practically fool proof!) I made the meatloaf on Saturday afternoon because it's always better the second day, and I knew we could just re-heat it. It's not complete without some catsup baked on top during the last few minutes, so that's easy to do the second day.  The loaf is tender and tasty, without being fussy.  I boiled then roasted some Idaho potatoes, and put out some baby carrots (no peeling!).  And for dessert we had flan.

This was no ordinary flan - the recipe was from my friend Lucie's mom, who emailed me some basic instructions earlier this week. I tasted Lucie's mom's flan last week and knew I had to have it again, and since Glen is flan fan, I could get away with making it. This flan is made with evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk (for sweetness) and the caramel-glaze for the base is made with Agave or Honey, which adds some richness to the flavor.  The flan is dense and creamy at the same time.  Just a note -- it takes two hours to bake, and then has to cool and then refrigerate overnight. I baked it Saturday afternoon, and then tortured my children by making them wait to eat it.  They told me it was worth it!

Here's to another Happy Fathers Day, with many more to come!




  1. Actually, Mom, I DID do all the work for lunch! I let Dash cut up the pita bread and mozzarella, but I did absolutely everything else! I swear!