Surprise Dad with a meal comprising the flavors of the season topped off with strawberry cake. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

What I love most about this meal is that most of the prep work can be done a day ahead while Dad is busy doing outside chores or running errands. I also love that the kabobs can be made with lamb if Dad prefers it. This entrée is super quick and can be eaten with pitas and garnished with plain yogurt and sliced cucumbers or served as is.

The accompanying salad can be made with couscous or a different favorite grain. Never be shy about experimenting! Just adjust the cooking time according to the package instructions. You can also substitute or add pea shoots or tender snow pea pods to this dish. Just don’t skimp on the radishes.

I’m so excited strawberries are here and really love that they arrive in time for my birthday. It’s strawberry everything for the next several weeks and I will be taking full advantage of the fantastic local picking.

For this photo, I made a smaller version of this luxurious vanilla cake topped with juicy, ripe strawberries. You will definitely want to make the full size and prepare it a day ahead so the jamminess has more time to intermingle with the cakiness. Pack those berries on top of the batter nice and tight and be sure to use them all. Again, no skimping. Good cooks do not do that – ever, but especially on Dad’s Day!

Middle Eastern Beef Kabobs

3 pounds top sirloin or steak tips, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large bowl, toss beef with all other ingredients. Cover and marinate, stirring occasionally, for two hours at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator, allowing meat to return to room temperature before grilling.


Prepare grill and thread meat onto skewers, reserving marinade. Place kabobs on oiled grill about 4-6 inches above hot coals or on medium-high setting on a gas grill. Cook, basting with marinade, until browned, about 12-15 minutes. Yield: 6-8 servings

Grain Salad with Peas & Radishes

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup white wine
2 sprigs each tarragon and thyme
2 cups fresh or frozen peas
5 radishes, thinly sliced

Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and cook over medium-low heat, stirring until toasted, about two minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, wine and herbs. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain off excess liquid and discard herbs. Spread the quinoa out on a plate to cool to room temperature.

Fill a large bowl with ice water and in a small pan of salted boiling water, cook peas for one minute. Drain and place peas in ice water bath. When cool, drain them again. Combine with quinoa and radishes. Pour dressing over all and toss. Yield: 4 servings


3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Strawberry Sheet Cake

9 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved
Whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter sides of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan and fit the bottom with a rectangle of parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat butter, salt and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and beat until combined. Mix in milk. Sprinkle baking powder evenly over batter and beat for 20 seconds or so. Scrape down the bowl. Stir in flour until just combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Arrange strawberries cut side down as snugly as you can get them. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons sugar. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean, 45-48 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack. Leave it on the counter, with just a piece of parchment or wax paper draped loosely over the top. When ready to serve, cut into squares and add a dollop of whipped cream. Yield: 12 servings

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