Most dads are very happy with a home cooked meal of the best of the basics: grilled meat, potatoes, salad, and chocolate dessert. Here are recipes for steak and salad, and for the potatoes, pierce four large baking potatoes with a fork and bake in a 400-degree oven for about an hour or until tender. Split, add a pat of butter and a sprinkling of chopped chives. (A scattering of crumbled chopped bacon either on the salad or in the potatoes would be a much appreciated gilding of the lily.) Scoops of vanilla or peppermint stick ice cream topped with rivulets of warmed good-quality purchased chocolate sauce make the ideal finish.


Tender, well-aged, fully marbled beef steaks heavily crusted with potent cracked black peppercorns are surrounded with meaty Portobello mushrooms.

Servings: 4

4 rib-eye steaks or other tender steaks (about 6 ounces each)

Coarse salt

3 to 4 teaspoons cracked black peppercorns

About 12 fairly large Portobello mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

Build a hot fire on a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill. Soak hardwood chips such as hickory in water for 30 minutes and throw on the fire shortly before cooking.

Season steaks with salt and sprinkle with the cracked pepper, patting it evenly onto both sides of the steaks. Place mushrooms in a shallow dish, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.

Grill steaks, turning once, to the desired degree of doneness, 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Place mushrooms directly on grill and cook until beginning to soften and the edges are charred, about 5 minutes. Arrange on a platter and serve.


Use any kind of blue cheese you like — Gorgonzola, Roquefort, or a good American blue such as Maytag or Great Hill.

Servings: 4


3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

11/2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

8 tablespoons good olive oil, or a combination of olive and vegetable oils


1 head Romaine, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces

3 handfuls of arugula or spinach

Sliced red onion

Slivered green pepper

Grape tomatoes, halved

About 1½ cups good quality store-bought croutons

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

To make the dressing, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, shallots, and mustard. Whisk in oil. Use immediately or store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Shake or whisk again before using.

In a large salad bowl, combine the greens. Arrange red onion, green pepper, tomatoes, and croutons on top. Sprinkle with the cheese. Toss at the table with enough dressing to coat, and serve.


Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “The New England Clam Shack Cookbook” (Storey 2008). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.


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