By Lisa Crockett
Getting dad a gift can be a daunting task – how many ties does one man need, anyway? Still, most dads love a good goodie, so if you’re stumped for a great gift to let your dad know you care, look no further. Here are some treats bound to make his day special:
A batch of decadent cookies: Dress up plain old chocolate chippers with the addition of fancy candy or nuts (think Heath Toffee bits and chopped pecans).
A loaf of easy cheesy beer bread: (see the recipe on page 25) and a jar of purchased apricot preserves.
Cool ketchup: In a medium saucepan, combine and simmer: two cups ketchup, ½ cup cider vinegar, two tablespoons brown sugar, two tablespoons molasses, one tablespoon honey, ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, one teaspoon kosher salt, one teaspoon ground mustard, and a quarter teaspoon each of pepper, celery seed, garlic powder, paprika and chili powder. Cook until reduced and combined, about 25 minutes, then pour into a decorative jar. Wrap it with a festive bow and tell dad to keep it in the fridge until he’s ready to slather it on steaks, chops, or whatever his heart desires.
Remember him year round: they may seem a bit cheesy, but there are several “food of the month” subscriptions from excellent sources. Murray’s Cheeses (visit www.murrayscheese.com), an east-coast cheese shop, for instance, offers a monthly cheese subscription (so . . . that one really is cheesy!)
The right tools for the job: Is your dad a budding pastry chef? Fill a basket with a rolling pin, a pastry cloth, a springform pan and a bag of pie weights. Is grilling more his style? Grab some quality grilling tools at a specialty store like Holy Smokes BBQ (see ad below), and pair them with some lovely steaks from Tony’s Meats & Market (see coupon in the E Guide).
A cooler for a king: is your dad’s picnic cooler looking ratty? Give him an upgrade with a top-of-the-line ice chest with plenty of capacity. Fill it with ice and his favorite beverage for an added level of thoughtfulness.
That’s the rub: many excellent dry rub mixtures are commercially available. Or, whip up a homemade version by mixing a cup of brown sugar, ½ cup kosher salt, four tablespoons smoked paprika, two tablespoons ground black pepper, one teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ tablespoon each of cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder. Rub this mixture on pork or chicken before grilling for amazing flavor.
For the DIY dad: a packet of seeds for his favorite veggie (think peppers, herbs, or zucchini), along with a large pot filled with fresh soil. In a few months, come back and help your dad eat his harvest – time with you is the best gift of all.