Father’s Day with a Lighter Touch

Sushi bowl with seaweed, avocado, radishes, cucumber and black sesame seeds.

It’s time to celebrate the great men you know who have nourished your family’s neshamah (soul). It can be a dad, stepdad, grandfather, uncle, new dad, father-to-be or “just like a dad.” We usually think of those big husky steaks to grill. These days, family gatherings often include people with a wide range of individualized needs and tastes. It is tough to satisfy vegetarians and “paleos” in the same outing, but it is possible. And don’t forget the old “picky-eater grandkids.” For a switch from steak and burgers, try long-bone kosher lamb chops. You can never go wrong with fresh fruit. Roasted pineapple is always a winner. Cauliflower “steaks” are a fine veggie choice. However, if you have hard-core vegans, you can always leave the butter out of the recipe. Sometimes, simply putting cheese or melted butter on the side is the safest way to go. You can buy mini-cupcakes for an old-fashioned sugar rush. Make little flags with toothpicks and paper with each male guest’s name (or maybe use a small picture). I believe the whole idea is to tailor your celebration with love and delicious food, making memories for your dad or “man of honor.

Tips & Tricks

  • Choose fresh firm cauliflower with compact flowerets and no sign of yellowing.
  • Pick fresh pineapples that are slightly soft to the touch with no sign of greening. Tightly wrapped, they can be refrigerated for up to three days.
  • For maximum flavor, freeze raw chicken no longer than two months.


11/2 cups cooked sushi rice
1 tablespoon sushi seasoned rice wine vinegar
4 ounces imitation crab shreds or chunks
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and a pinch of sugar
1 firm, ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1/3 cup small diced seedless cucumber
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sriracha
1 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
Light soy sauce for garnish
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Directions: In a bowl, toss rice with the wine vinegar. Season with salt and sugar to taste. Toss the “crab” with olive oil. Season with salt to taste and place on top of rice. Arrange avocado, cucumber and carrots on top of rice around the “crab.” Whisk together mayonnaise, sriracha and lemon juice. Drizzle over the bowl. Drizzle with light soy sauce to taste and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. 1 large serving.


2 heads cauliflower
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley, torn

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut off the cauliflower stems, then place the heads cut-side down and slice into 1/2-inch-thick steaks. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, flipping after the first 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add the pine nuts to a dry medium saute pan and toast over medium heat until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add the raisins and butter, and season with salt. Cook, tossing, until the butter has melted and coats the pine nuts and raisins. Off the heat, stir in the parsley. Transfer the roasted cauliflower to a serving platter. Pour the pine nut-raisin mixture over the top. Season with salt. 4-6 servings as an entree or side dish. Can be served with grits, mashed sweet potatoes or cauliflower “mash.”


For the pistachio salsa verde:
2 medium shallots, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1 cup (packed) fresh parsley leaves with
tender stems
1/2 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves with
tender stems
1/2 cup unsalted, toasted pistachios
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the lamb chops:
12 (1-inch-thick) lamb rib or loin chops
(about 2 pounds)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions: For the pistachio salsa verde: Pulse shallots, garlic, parsley, mint, pistachios, lemon juice, capers, red pepper flakes and salt in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Scrape into a medium bowl and stir in oil.

For the lamb chops: Season lamb chops with salt and pepper, allow to come to room temperature. Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat. Grill chops, working in batches if needed, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the lamb registers 125 degrees for medium-rare, 2–3 minutes per side. Serve with pistachio salsa verde. 4 servings.
Note: Pistachio salsa verde can be stored and chilled in an airtight container for up to three days.


1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Marinade: Garlic, olive oil, rosemany, mustard, lemon juice, ground black pepper, salt

Directions: Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate. Whisk garlic, olive oil, rosemary, mustard, lemon juice, ground black pepper and salt together in a bowl. Pound the chicken breasts to make them a bit thinner. Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag. Pour garlic mixture over chicken, reserving 1/8 cup. Seal bag and massage marinade into chicken. Best to let it marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight. Place chicken on preheated grill and cook for 4 minutes. Turn the chicken, baste with reserved marinade and continue to grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Cover with foil and let rest for at least 2 minutes before serving. 4 servings.

grilled pineapple on grill with flames below


1 whole fresh pineapple, peeled and cored and cut into thick slices
1/3 cup brown sugar
11/2 tablespoons cinnamon

Directions: Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle both sides generously and let marinate for at least 30 minutes. Grill over direct heat, not too hot, for about 5 minutes per side. You want them just slightly browned with grill marks. Use a spatula to carefully remove from grill to keep slices whole. Can be made ahead and reheated. Delicious especially when served warm with vanilla ice cream. About 4 servings.

Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.


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