Faithful Foodies share their Father’s Day memories and recipes

Since Father’s Day is this Sunday, we thought it would be a fine idea to share some memories of our dads (and their favorite recipes) with readers of Keeping the Feast.

Today, I’ll be sharing thoughts of my dad, Peter M. Rogers Sr. and two of his favorite summer recipes. Tomorrow, George Stevenson, The Monitor’s business director, a grill meister if ever there was one, will feature two ways to grill salmon.

Other Faithful Foodies are still considering their culinary and storytelling options but I am hoping they will come on board.

Me, Dad and Pete on First Holy Communion day.

This Father’s Day for brother Pete and me will be bittersweet of course. It has been more than 11 years since we had the opportunity to sit down to dinner with dad. Yet, the menu will be the same as it ever was reflecting his taste for a nice thick and rather rare chuck steak, grilled as close to perfection as we can make it and a bowl of pasta (his favorite rigatoni) rolling in a sauce of fresh tomatoes, vidalia onions and sliced, black olives (his recipe).

Dad — who appears with Pete and me on our First Holy Communion Day and in later years cooking in the kitchen in photos taken by mom — was quite a home style chef himself and he enjoyed composing meals on the holidays. That being the case, it was almost always Dad who took to the grill on summer holidays including Father’s Day. He’d spend the morning in the kitchen blending a marinade with all the skill of a chemist for the  steak he would grill later in the afternoon and he’d chop the tomatoes and slice the onions for the quick sauce he cooked up in a pan.

Mom would contribute a salad out of fresh romaine, more vidalia onions, some crushed garlic, green olives this time and a dusting of pecorino romano cheese and then she’d spend the rest of the day recording the activities of the rest of the clan with the camera that seemed to be grafted onto her hand.

Back then, her paparazzi approach to life at the Rogers’ sometimes sent us scurrying from the room. But going through the boxes — and I do mean boxes — of photos she snapped over the years to find pictures for this little tribute, I recognized the profound blessing of her lifelong hobby. Because of her, we see our Dad and ourselves through her gifted eyes once again.

Pete’s Grilled Chuck Steak

Ingredients: for the marinade 1/2 cup chopped onion; 1/2 cup lemon juice; 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil; salt and pepper to taste; 1/2 teaspoon each thyme, oregano and rosemary; 1 clove crushed garlic. A 2-1/2 lb. chuck steak cut thick.

Dad baking bread in our kitchen in Point Pleasant Beach

Directions: combine ingredients except for steak and marinate the meat in a covered dish or zip lock bag (which I prefer) for three hours, turning occasionally. Drain and reserve the marinade for basting. We broil the steak on on our Webber charcoal grill aiming for the rare to medium rare range we like best. Pete bastes the steak a couple of times during the grilling.

Pete’s Jersey Summer Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients: 1 pound rigatoni or pasta of your choice cooked according to package directions; 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil;  large fresh garlic cloves, crushed; 2 pounds Jersey tomatoes (you can find early arrivals in the farm markets now though, not the beefsteaks of August) chopped into bite-size pieces; 1 large vidalia onion sliced thin; 1/2 cup sliced large black olives; salt, pepper and romano cheese to taste.

Directions: in a large skillet, heat the oil on medium until it shimmers. Then, add the garlic and onions and cook til the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and basil, stir to coat and then let cook, stirring occasionally  for about 10 minutes.


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