Celebrate Father’s Day - A Meal To Remember

By CHEF KISTLER,

To me, Father’s Day is the BIG ONE. Not only because I am a father of four, and it’s the final round of the U.S. Open, but being raised by a single father adds a lot more importance to this date in my life.

Following my parent’s divorce, I was raised by my father. Because I am my father’s only child, he was determined to play a dual role of mom and dad for me. My father and I have always had a close relationship well before my parents divorced, which only grew stronger after their separation. 

My teen years had its typical challenges, which actually brought us closer.  Friends would ask what it was like growing up with a single father, I’ve often joked that it was like growing up in a bachelor pad. I won’t go into detail, but let’s just say we had a lot of fun.

Food was and always has been a big part of our relationship. Because my Dad has always been somewhat of a health nut, I was introduced to a lot of foods that others might not have eaten at young ages. For example: A typical dinner at my house may have consisted of a spinach salad with warm bacon dressing and a roasted vegetable egg foo young.

I remember snacks of steamed artichokes. I remember pulling the leaves to dip in a roasted garlic aioli and digging out the artichoke heart and spreading it on some toasted French bread.

Some of my fondest memories of food are with my Dad. One particular memory was before my parent’s separation. One night, my Dad came home late from work. That night, I woke up to a very different, delicious smell. My Mom was cooking a late dinner for Dad. When I got out of bed to follow the aromas, I quickly decided I had to taste this new food.

I remember sitting on the couch on top of three pillows next to my father eating liver and onions with mashed potatoes and gravy on an old school TV stand watching the 11 o’clock news. I remember feeling like I was such a grown up.

There are two stories my Dad always tells people when they ask what his son does for a living. First, he tells them that his son is a chef and that he always knew his son would be a chef. Then he tells the story of the two of us at Felix’s Oyster Bar in New Orleans. I was about nine eating raw oysters on the half shell. He would tell them that I ate my weight in raw oysters sucking them straight out of the shell with no sauce or crackers.

Then he tells about the time we lived in Los Angeles. It was Labor Day weekend and we started the day looking for a beach that wasn’t too crowded. As we were looking for a beach, we just happened to pass Del Mar Racetrack. To this day he swears it was “purely coincidental.”  Our search for an uncrowded beach was over and we made it to the racetrack by the third race... “Purely coincidental.” I would pick a horse and he would make the bet. We were a great team, me and my Pops. That day we ended up winning enough money to stay at the Del Coronado Hotel in San Diego.

While we were in San Diego, we celebrated our winnings with a really nice dinner. I ordered Steak Diane. I ordered it because I saw one of the chefs cooking at the table and I wanted my meal to be cooked at the table as well. I remember when they pulled out the garadon to sear the beef and added the brandy, I became consumed by the flames and the artistry of the chef’s craft. It was a night with my Dad I will never forget.

My dad remained a single parent until after I was out of high school. He then met a woman that he would spend the rest of his life with. Because my father was always health conscious, I wasn’t allowed many sweets. But that changed when he met his wife and she introduced us to a German chocolate upside-down cake. That cake is so good, I once ate a whole cake in one day.

So for me, Father’s Day is the celebration of a man for whom I would never be able to repay the debt owed. My Dad has always been my father, my mother, my best friend and I love him dearly. Happy Father’s Day, Pops.

RAW OYSTERS ON A BED OF MOROCCAN SEAT SALT

STEAK DIANE

Ingredients:

4 ea. 4 oz. beef tenderloin

medallions

4 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 cups assorted wild mushrooms such as cremini, lobster,

oyster, chanterelles

3 ea. Shallots, julienned

6 ea. Garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 cup Brandy or Cognac

1/2 cup red wine

1 1/2 Tbs. Dijon Mustard

1 Tbs. Worcestershire

2 Tbs. heavy cream

3/4 cup reduced Veal or beef stock

Directions:

Heat a large sauté pan.

Season beef generously with salt and black pepper.

Sear beef on both sides for about two minutes per side for medium rare. Remove beef from pan.

Add shallots and mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes until mushrooms are soft and shallots are tender. Add garlic and sauté for about another minute.

Pull pan away from heat and add brandy, ignite and let alcohol burn off. Add red wine and reduce by half.

Add Dijon, Worcestershire and stir. Add cream and stir to combine.

Add beef back to pan and spoon sauce over beef. Remove beef to plate and reduce sauce by 1/4. Check for seasoning.

Spoon sauce over beef and serve with your favorite potato and asparagus.

GERMAN CHOCOLATE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

Ingredients:

1 cup Coconut,

shredded

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 box German

chocolate cake mix

8 oz. Cream cheese,

softened

1/2 cup Butter, melted

Pan Spray

Directions:

Prepare cake as directed on the box and set aside.

Spray each well of a large muffin pan.

Divide coconut and pecans in the bottom of each well.

Meanwhile beat cream cheese and butter with electric mixer or standing mixer until whipped light. 

Add powder sugar and mix until fluffy.

Spoon cake mix into each well of muffin pan. With a spoon add the cheese mixture and stir gently to distribute cheese throughout the batter.

Bake at 350 for 10 – 12 minute or until done.

Serve with whipped cream and your favorite vanilla milk shake. I like to put a little Bailey’s or Godiva liqueur in mine.

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