Give Dad a Hand on Father’s Day

 Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

Fire it Up for Father’s Day is the all-time great present for your guy! The gift of a live-fire grilling adventure, wine paring with The Vineyard at Dodon Farm, beer, plus my cookbook and the meal.  Give it on Fathers Day. The actual class is June 23-just in time to gear up for July 4th!

Let’s give our favorite guy a hand by allowing him free space in his grill zone while we make the rest of the meal. Your guy can marinate, skewer, sear the entree to his heart’s delight while you adorn the setting and finish off the side dishes. The scrumptious dessert made while our local ruby berries are still in season.


Chimichurri Sauce

Most cultures have a pureed green sauce of fresh herbs to spike up meat, poultry, seafood, soup, veggies and sandwiches. This one hails from Argentina where it is primarily used on steak. The mint is quite predominant so my version goes easy on it while adding fresh basil. 

  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves 
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground  pepper 
  • ⅛ teaspoon coarse salt 
  • Juice of 1 whole lime 
  • 2 tablespoons water 

 Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Mix until well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. 

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.


Halloumi, Snap Pea, and Zucchini Salad

Serves 4

 Halloumi cheese is making it’s way up the list of popular food trends – and with good reason! This is a delicious cheese is uniquely grillable without falling apart. Halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus and was initially made during the Medieval Byzantine period.

 Note: in the recipe you can use fresh garden peas or sugar snaps-whatever is fresh in your garden or farmers market.

  • 1/2 pound fresh garden peas or sugar snap peas, strings removed
  • 4 ounces Haloumi cheese, cut into 4 slices
  • 1/2 pound baby zucchini, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1 small red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges

 Prepare lightly oiled grill for medium heat.

 Cook the peas in pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain in colander and transfer to bowl of ice water. Once cool, drain and if using sugar snaps, halve crosswise.

 Coat cheese and zucchini lightly with olive oil spray. Grill, turning, until zucchini is golden and tender, 4 minutes, and cheese is browned and crisp, 5 minutes. Cut zucchini crosswise into bite-size pieces and break cheese into chunks.

 Combine peas, zucchini, cheese, oil, and mint in large bowl. Just before serving, squeeze 2 lemon wedges over salad and toss. Season and serve with remaining lemon wedges.

Inspired by Organic Gardening Connect


Fresh Strawberry Pie

Serves 8-10

 Use ONLY fresh strawberries for this as they are coated in a glaze that’s just thick enough to hold the strawberries together, but just loose enough so a couple stray strawberries fall out out onto the plate.

Strawberries vary in natural sweetness so add sugar to your taste. 

  • pie dough to fit a 9-inch pie plate, chilled
  • 5 cups quartered and hulled strawberries
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup sugar, according to the sweetness of strawberries
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Whipped cream

 Roll out pie dough to fit pie dish. Gently press dough down into dish. Trim the overhanging dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the dish. Fold edges of dough underneath itself, creating a thicker, 1/4-inch border; crimp edges.

 Heat oven to 425 degrees F. 

 Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack.

Pierce bottom of the crust with a fork (this prevent air pockets or bubbles from forming while baking). Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil. (Be sure to push foil against the edges of the crust). Then, fill foil with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

Place pie crust onto preheated baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.

 Make egg wash by whisking egg and water in a small bowl. Then, remove rice, beans or pie weights and foil from the crust. Brush bottom and sides of crust with egg wash. Bake until egg wash is dry and shiny, 3 to 5 minutes. Cool crust completely before filling.

Mound pie crust with strawberry filling and refrigerate. Top with whipped cream just before serving.