Let’s Talk Food: Father’s Day is this Sunday

This Sunday is Father’s Day and with what we are going through, what better way to say thank you to fathers than to cook a nice meal for them.

My husband, Jim, said he would love to hop on a plane and go to San Francisco for some clam chowder in a bread bowl. Unfortunately, as good as it sounds, it is not something we can do right now, so the best we can do is do it at home instead.

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Corn and Clam Chowder

Serves: 4

2 slices bacon slices, chopped

2 cups minced onion (1 large)

2 cups clam juice, divided

2 cups chicken broth

2 cups diced potatoes (if you can, Yukon Gold)

2 cups corn kernels

2 cups littleneck clams (about 1 pound) or two cans (6.5 ounces) chopped clams

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons whipping cream

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Cook bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium heat for 5 minutes or until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1 teaspoon dripping from pan. Add onion to drippings in pan, cook for 5 minutes or until browned. Add 1 cup clam juice, scraping pan to loosen brown bits. Add remaining 1 cup clam juice and broth, bring to a boil. Add potatoes, simmer 10 minutes.

Add corn and clams to pan, bring to boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until the shells open. Remove from heat, stir in buttermilk and remaining ingredients. Ladle hot soup into bread bowls, sprinkle with bacon.

Buy bread bowls from your local supermarket. Using a sharp, serrated kitchen knife, slice off about an inch from the crown of the bread. Gently cut around the interior, leaving a 1-inch border of bread along the bottom and sides to prevent leaks. Remove chunks of bread with your hands, being careful not to take too much. Ladle in soup and dip.

•••

Interisland travel restarts today, so perhaps we could go to Gerard’s French restaurant on Maui for the rack of lamb. If not, we could have it at home.

Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb

Gerard’s Restaurant

Serves: 6

2 racks of lamb, well trimmed

Olive oil

2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs made from chunks of bread you removed from bread bowls. Cut the chunks into small pieces, bake in low oven, 250 degrees, for 30 minutes, until bread is dry and crunchy. Place in food processor to make bread crumbs.

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Brush lamb with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Place lamb, meat side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Mix breadcrumbs, garlic, butter and mint in medium bowl. Press breadcrumb mixture onto meat side of lamb. Roast until the thermometer inserted into lamb registers 130 degrees, about 20 minutes for medium-rare. Cut into chops.

•••

Is your dad a cookie, brownie, cake or pie kind of dessert guy? This chocolate cake recipe is from Vanilla Shop in Santa Monica, Calif., and since traveling is difficult right now, bake this at home instead.

Chocolate Cake with Fleur de Sel Caramel Filling

Vanilla Bake Shop

Serves: 12

Caramel Filling:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, diced

1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Large pinch of fine fleur de sel plus additional for assembly

Ganache Filling and Frosting:

1 1/2 pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3 cups whipping cream

Cake:

2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup whole milk

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

2 cups hot water

2 tablespoon instant espresso powder or instant coffee

1 1/4 cup almonds, toasted, coarsely chopped

Caramel filling:

Stir sugar, 1/4 cup water and corn syrup in deep medium saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium, cover pan and cook 4 minutes. Uncover; increase heat to high. Boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber, occasionally brushing down pan side with a wet pastry brush, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cream (mixture will bubble). Whisk in butter, then creme fraiche, lemon juice and pinch of fleur de sel. Cool completely. Can be made three days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Ganache filling and frosting:

Place chocolate in large bowl. Bring cream to simmer in medium saucepan. Pour cream over chocolate; let soften 1 minute. Whisk until chocolate is smooth. Cool, then cover and chill overnight. Can be made three days ahead. Keep chilled. Bring to room temperature before using.

Cake:

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch diameter cake pans with 2-inch high sides.

Line bottom of each with parchment paper, butter paper and dust with flour.

Sift sugar, flour cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into large bowl. Add milk, eggs and melted butter. Using electric mixer, beat at low speed until blended. Increase speed and beat 2 minutes. Stir 1 cup hot water and espresso powder in small bowl to dissolve. Add to batter; beat until blended (batter will be thin). Divide batter between pans, about 3 cups each.

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks for 10 minutes. Cut around cakes, turn out onto racks. Peel off parchment and cool completely.

Using long serrated knife, cut each cake horizontally in half. Place one layer on platter; spread with 1/2 cup room-temperature ganache. Spoon 3/4 cup ganache into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain round tip. Pipe ring of ganache around edge of layer. Spread 1/4 cup room temperature caramel filling evenly inside ring. Sprinkle caramel with large pinch of fleur de sel, then 1 tablespoon almonds. Top with second cake layer, ganache, ganache ring, caramel filling, fleur de sel and almonds. Repeat with third cake layer. Top with fourth vake layer, cut side down. Spread remaining ganache over top and sides of cake. Press remaining almonds onto sides.

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Happy Father’s Day!

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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