Paul Kidwell, a working father, home cook, and devoted reader of this blog (who has also contributed to it previously—see here for his holiday creamy mushroom bruschetta story) wrote me recently with a Father’s Day story. Here it is:
I think every father wants his child – particularly his son - to take on some of his characteristics, interests or personality traits. And while I think I am a decent role model for my son, and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if he took after some parts of me; I definitely want mostly that he become his own person. There is; however, a particular area of influence where I have made my mark in his life and I am grateful that he has followed me into the kitchen where I prepare meals for my family.
I cannot recall when I first interested him in cooking, but I remember he was a little boy, barely able to reach the kitchen counter without the aid of a stepstool. As a self-professed “man-with-a-pan,” I have been cooking at home for 30 years, so I figured it was inevitable that at some point he learn to share kitchen utensils with his Legos, Power Rangers, and a myriad of sports equipment; and take his rightful place beside me as we made our way through countless meals and recipes. Over the years he has graduated from benign whisking and mixing together ingredients, to more serious cooking tasks such as handling the sauté pan, hand mixer, and my all-time favorite kitchen gadget, the immersion blender. Perhaps his greatest maturation as a home cook came about two years ago when he was 18 years old and took over the summer grilling chores from me.
Honestly, I’ve never been enamored with the whole barbecue/grilling phenomenon and, as a man, I know that statement calls into question my Y chromosome, and is nothing short of espousing sacrilege or blasphemy. I am not a fan of warm weather and anytime the temperature rises above 60° Fahrenheit, I begin to wilt quicker than Scarlett O’Hara in front of Rhett Butler. Happy to pass along those skills to my son, who on this Father’s Day* will be putting them to good use.
For this year’s Father’s Day I have eschewed tradition that can include a gift I don’t need or a restaurant meal I don’t want, and asked my son to prepare a Father’s Day meal for me, my wife and his grandmother. I think he is up to the challenge; however, to ensure that he not walk alone on the high wire without a safety net below, I have volunteered to be sous chef to his chef de cuisine and have already helped with the menu. My plan is watch in the wings as he prepares not just a meal, but a memory that – whether it’s edible or not – will be everlasting, and one that I will forever savor.
*Father’s Day comes on June 17 this year around the nation, but in my home it was celebrated last week and in some other homes the date is flexible, too.
Here’s what he’ll be preparing:
Grilled seafood kabobs
Grilled asparagus wrapped in prosciutto
Key lime pie
And here are the recipes.
Grilled Shrimp-Scallop Kabobs
- 1/4 c. lite soy sauce
- 1/4 c. vegetable oil
- 1/4 c. white wine
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 dashes hot pepper sauce
- 1 dash of black pepper
- 1 (2 inch) strip fresh orange, lemon, or tangerine peel
- 1-1.5 lbs. sea scallops
- 1-1.5 jumbo shrimp
- 1 lb. baby bella mushrooms
- 2 large onions chopped in “kabob-able” chunks
- 2 red/yellow peppers chopped in “kabob-able” strips
Combine first seven ingredients in small bowl. Pour over seafood and veggies, and let marinate 1 to 8 hours. Thread marinated seafood and veggies on skewers. Grill until seafood is done.
Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus
- 2 pounds asparagus spears
- 14-16 slices of prosciutto
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- black pepper
Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Trim ends off of asparagus. Cut prosciutto slices into strips. Place half of one slice onto each asparagus spear. Add minced garlic to olive oil and brush each spear with oil. Season with black pepper and place onto grill and cook for 4 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and serve.
- 2 cups Thai jasmine-scented white rice
- 2 cups good-quality coconut milk
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 2 heaping Tbsp. dry shredded unsweetened coconut (baking type)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. coconut oil, or vegetable oil
You can easily prepare this dish in a medium-sized pot, but save yourself a bunch of trouble and invest in a rice-maker. They are not expensive and you will have it forever.
Place rice, coconut milk, water, shredded coconut, and salt in the pot and set over medium-high to high heat. Stir occasionally to keep rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning.
In about 10-15 minutes the red light indicator will pop off and revert to the start position. Thjis means the rice is done. A few final stirs to fluff up the rice and top with a half-cup of shredded coconut and quarter cup of chopped scallions.
Key Lime Pie
- 2 (14-ounce) cans condensed milk
- 1 cup key lime or regular lime juice
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
I’ve made this pie myself and sometimes I make the crust and other times I buy a pre-made graham cracker crust. Not sure if I can tell the difference and will not expect my son (or you) to make the crust from scratch.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter with your hands. Press the mixture firmly into a 9-inch pie pan, and bake until brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before filling.
Lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. (My brother who is a trained chef told me to do this. Not sure I understand why, but have followed his instructions in savant-like fashion.)
In a separate bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and eggs. Whisk until well blended and place the filling in the cooled pie shell. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Once chilled, combine the sour cream and powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie using a spatula. Sprinkle the lime zest as a garnish on top of the sour cream and serve chilled.