DAD'S DAY CHILI FEAST
To begin the festivities, toast the guest of honor with an iced glass of Texas Tropical Cooler, a thick, creamy refresher that features mango, pineapple juice, and coconut milk with a splash of tangy lime juice. If Dad gravitates to foods with a spicy edge, he will enjoy his fruity beverage with our colorful, fiery appetizer of Thunder and Lightning Corn Salsa, a lively dip made with corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions and zapped with a dose of fresh jalapeno pepper adjusted to Dad's heat tolerance.
Make sure Dad gets his all-important green veggies with a colorful salad bowl of Summer Greens with Fresh Off-the-cob White Corn. Few people serve fresh white corn uncooked and may be surprised to discover how delicious it is to bite into the kernels and feel them pop open with a delightful burst of sweetness. Juxtaposed among the lettuces, carrots, bell peppers, and green onions, the spray of white corn kernels becomes the shower of confetti that brightens the salad. A Creamy Ranch Dressing with its thick base of silken tofu and flavorful seasonings provides the perfect accompaniment to the greens.
Though some fathers may be reluctant to express their preference for special dishes on Father's Day, you can be fairly certain most will welcome a hearty bowl of wholesome chili with its assertive seasonings that satisfy the true chili aficionado. On the satiety scale, our Wild West Chili Size ought to rate at least a 9.9 out of 10. Pleasing and gustatorial, the chili's bold smoky flavors come from a traditional blend of chili powder and cumin simmered in a tomato, onion, and garlic-based sauce, studded with beans and bell peppers and flavored with a jolt of hickory seasoning.
Completing our Wild West Chili Size, the zesty chili is served over a wholesome soy patty on a whole-wheat bun and smothered in a zesty Nacho Cheese Sauce. It's a meal that aims to please Dad as well as the kitchen wizards who prepare the feast.
For the grand finale, fresh strawberries and fresh rhubarb join hands to offer pure bliss with the first tantalizing bite of Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler, an old-fashioned dessert with a new sparkle. Dotted with golden raisins and heightened with lemon zest and rosewater, the cobbler makes its debut and desires only to be revered, devoured, and appreciated.
Thunder and Lightning Corn Salsa
Baked Corn Chips
Creamy Ranch Dressing
Whole Wheat Buns
Nacho Cheese Sauce
When those taste buds want to go tropical, you can't beat this cooling, creamy smoothie that's tangy and fruity and downright refreshing. Serve it along with an appetizer when the family arrives to celebrate Dad's special day.
TEXAS TROPICAL COOLER
Yield: about 5 cups or 4 to 5 servings
Flesh of 1 ripe mango
1/2 cup (120 ml) ice cubes
1/4 cup (60 ml) firm silken tofu
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut milk
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 sprigs mint leaves
Combine all the ingredients, except the mint leaves, in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. Pour into eight-ounce glasses and garnish each glass with a sprig of mint leaves.
Salsa is always a great party starter and almost always pacifies the family members who arrive so hungry they're emboldened to forage for munchies in your pantry. If the dinner guests are spice timid, eliminate the jalapeno pepper and just add a dash of Tabasco Sauce for a delicately spiced treat. Serve the salsa with a basket of baked corn chips or toasted whole-wheat pita wedges.
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING CORN SALSA
Yield: 3 cups (720 ml) or 5 to 6 servings
3 tablespoons corn liquid
1 small tomato, chopped
Combine the whole kernel corn and the corn liquid in the food processor and process into a puree. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well, spoon into a serving bowl, and serve with baked corn chips.
Note: For the heat-loving die-hards, place a bottle of hot sauce or a sprinkle-top spice bottle of cayenne pepper on the table and let them have at it until they holler uncle.
Have you ever tasted fresh white corn uncooked? While most people follow the usual practice of cooking corn on the cob, raw food enthusiasts are discovering the delightful burst of sweetness of uncooked corn. Add raw corn kernels to a salad and experience the joyous flavor with each delicious bite.
WITH FRESH OFF-THE-COB WHITE CORN
Yield: 5 servings
4 to 5 leaves green leaf or red leaf lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
1 large leaf kale or collards, stem removed, finely shredded
1 large carrot, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
6 radishes, sliced
2 green onions, chopped
6 to 8 fresh mint leaves, minced
3 ears fresh white corn
Combine all the vegetables, except the corn, in a large salad bowl. Cut the kernels off the ears of corn using a firm, sharp knife, and sprinkle them over the salad. Just before serving, toss the salad and serve with Creamy Ranch Dressing on the side.
No need to reminisce about the tasty ranch dressing you left behind when you adopted a plant-based diet. You can indulge in the same thick, creamy, rich flavors recreated in an equally delicious vegan version. And all you leave behind is the cholesterol.
CREAMY RANCH DRESSING
Yield: 1 3/4 cups (415 ml)
2 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. You may have to stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides. Blend again to incorporate all ingredients. Transfer to an attractive serving bowl and serve with a ladle.
Bring on the captivating Tex-Mex victuals that will have Dad ready to ride the range in search of seconds. This unabashed main course kicks out a generous serving of dynamic homemade vegetarian chili and spoons it over a soy patty with a whole-wheat bun underneath. Lavished over the chili is a rich, thick, creamy Nacho Cheese Sauce that makes this extraordinary chili as macho a dish as any Dad could imagine. It's a perfect make-ahead dish and always tastes better the next day. If Dad enjoys hearty servings, consider doubling the recipe and dig into the leftovers the following day.
WILD WEST CHILI SIZE
Yield: 6 servings
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 6-ounce (170g) cans tomato paste
3 whole grain hamburger buns, gently warmed
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
Note: If Dad likes it hot, hot, hot, as does the family, sprinkle Tabasco or hot sauce into the chili while cooking. Chances are, though, some family members can't take the heat. The safest way to go is with the hot sauce on the side.
The saying goes, "It's easy as pie," and it truly is. Here's a sauce that comes together in about 6 minutes. It can be made a day ahead and simply reheated just before serving.
NACHO CHEESE SAUCE
Yield: 4 to 5 servings
3 10-ounce (285g) packages Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Nacho cheese *
Salt and pepper to taste
1 or 2 pinches cayenne pepper
2 1/4 tablespoons water
* Available at Whole Foods Market and other natural food stores
Californians are indeed fortunate when it comes to fresh produce. Take strawberries, for instance. They are available throughout the year. Rhubarb, however, is only available from March through June or July. Take advantage of this season and pair the two in a dessert that makes a dazzling debut and a downright succulent finishing touch to a fun meal.
STRAWBERRY RHUBARB COBBLER
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
2 pints fresh strawberries, de-stemmed and halved (about 4 cups (1 liter) halved berries)
1 3/4 pounds (850g) fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) lengths (6 cups or 1.5 liters)
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) organic sugar
1 cup (240 ml) golden raisins
2 tablespoons rosewater
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely minced lemon zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) vanilla flavored soymilk