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Every day was Father’s Day at our house. My two sisters, our mother, and I adored my father, and he us. He went the extra mile to make sure that

Rosemary and Goat Cheese Strata

Every day was Father’s Day at our house. My two sisters, our mother, and I adored my father, and he us. He went the extra mile to make sure that

4 Father’s Day Recipes

Greek salad, chocolate cream pie, and barbecue chicken thighs.

Every day was Father’s Day at our house. My two sisters, our mother, and I adored my father, and he us. He went the extra mile to make sure that we were never without love or care or barbecue. He was always there to help us with our homework at the kitchen table while Mom cooked dinner, and he never forgot birthdays or anniversaries. Whenever he returned from an international business trip, he’d bring back small souvenirs, reminding us that we were always on his mind.

My dad, Fred, came from humble means in Salisbury and graduated from NC State College on the GI bill. On the rare occasion when he did treat himself, it was usually with a special meal out — maybe at Salvino’s, where he’d order veal piccata and use the fresh bread to collect every drop of sauce from the plate. Or, if he was in the mood for barbecue, he’d run to Stamey’s and pick up chopped ’cue sandwiches and hush puppies to bring home for us to enjoy.

For my father, like for many others, summer days meant preparing barbecued chicken on his Weber grill, a Father’s Day present from my mother one year. Dad took great pride in getting the charcoal and heat just right, no matter how long it took.

Even though Dad is gone, I’m reminded of him not just on Father’s Day, but also every time I order an Italian dinner, indulge in a sweet treat, or smoke some ’cue at home. This year, I’ll take a moment to treat myself and make one of his favorite desserts, a chocolate pie recipe from a family friend. If Dad could find the time to slow down and enjoy the finer things every once in a while, then on Father’s Day, so will I.

Greek salad with feta vinaigrette

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Greek Salad with Feta Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 large salads.

For the salad:
4 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
½ red onion, thinly sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
6 pepperoncini peppers
8 Kalamata olives, pitted
1 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
½ cup feta cheese, torn into chunks
½ cup large croutons

For the vinaigrette:
¼ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 ounces feta cheese
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 anchovies or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

For the vinaigrette: In a blender on high speed, combine all ingredients for 10 to 20 seconds. Taste and add salt or pepper if needed.

For the salad: Pat dry lettuce with paper towels. Place lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle ¼ cup vinaigrette over lettuce and massage into lettuce with hands.
Place tossed lettuce in salad bowls or on dinner plates. Arrange sliced onion, tomatoes, peppers, olives, and cucumbers around lettuce. Top with croutons. Save extra vinaigrette to add to salads, pasta salad, or for dipping bread in.

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Barbecue chicken on a plate with grilled lemons

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Grilled Barbecued Chicken With Fred’s Sauce

Yield: 4 servings.

For the chicken:
2 tablespoons Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 tablespoon lemon pepper
4 chicken quarters
2 lemons, halved (for garnish)

Fred’s Barbecue Sauce:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons honey
½ cup ketchup
½ cup water
1 lemon, sliced, seeds removed
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon dry mustard

For the sauce: Place all ingredients in a saucepot and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

For the chicken: Mix together seasoning salt, paprika, and lemon pepper. Rub seasoning mixture under and on top of chicken skin on both sides. Place chicken on a baking sheet and let sit for 15 minutes.

Heat a gas grill to 400°. Treat grill grates with a paper towel moistened with canola oil.

Place chicken on grill and reduce heat to 350°. Close grill lid. After 10 to 15 minutes, baste chicken with barbecue sauce. Turn chicken over; repeat this step every 10 to 15 minutes. Cook for about 50 minutes total or until internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°.

Baste both sides of chicken with barbecue sauce and cook for about 5 more minutes or until skin is a bit crispy.

Remove chicken from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. While grill is still hot, place lemon halves face down on the grates. With lid open, grill lemons for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from grill and serve with chicken.

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Veal piccata on a plate with lemon slices and mushrooms

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Veal Piccata

Yield: 6 servings.

1½ pounds veal cutlets
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers with liquid
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 lemon, sliced for garnish

Place veal between 2 sheets of wax paper. With a tenderizing mallet, pound veal to ¼-inch thickness. Season with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge in flour.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, combine butter and olive oil. Sear veal until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes. Set veal aside and keep warm, reserving drippings in skillet.

Reduce heat to medium and add mushrooms and garlic to skillet; sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Return veal to skillet; add wine and lemon juice. Bring to a low boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add capers and their liquid; simmer, uncovered, for an additional minute. Transfer veal to a serving platter. Sprinkle with parsley. Garnish with thin lemon slices.

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Slice of chocolate cream pie

photograph by Matt Hulsman

Shirley Payne’s Chocolate Cream Pie

Yield: 6 servings.

¾ cup salted butter, at room temperature
1⅛ cups granulated sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 deep-dish piecrust, baked per package instructions
2 cups whipped topping
Chocolate shavings (for garnish)

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, or until sugar has dissolved.

Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Mix well.

Add 1 egg at a time, beating on high speed for 5 minutes per egg, for a total of 15 minutes.

Pour filling into piecrust and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Spread whipped topping over pie and garnish with chocolate shavings.

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This story was published on May 14, 2024

Lynn Wells

Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.