Food for Dad’s day or just a warm day

Whether you are celebrating Father’s Day or simply preparing food for summer entertaining, these recipes will add zest to the menu. Perfect for a dinner in the garden, their seasonal tastes are versatile enough for the vegetarian palate or a perfect partner to the heartiest barbecue.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Curry Dressing

Quinoa is the darling of the grains because of its high protein content. This quality makes it ideal for a vegetarian main course. Look for quinoa in some supermarkets and bulk food stores.

2 cups (500 mL) quinoa
2 cups (500 mL) water
4 green onions, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 can (19 oz/396mL) chick peas rinsed and drained
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh parsley or coriander, chopped

Sweet Curry Vinaigrette
(makes 2 cups/500 mL):

1 1/2 cups ( 375 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) cider vinegar
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup (65 mL) packed brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) curry powder
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper

Using a sieve, rinse quinoa under cold water. In a saucepan bring measured water to the boil; add quinoa, cover and bring back to boil; reduce heat and simmer covered 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed and grain is tender. Remove from heat and let stand covered while preparing vegetables. In a large bowl, combine sliced onions, celery, red pepper and chick peas. When quinoa is cool, stir in prepared vegetables with parsley. Combine well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. May be prepared a day ahead of serving.

Meanwhile, prepare dressing. In a blender or food processor, combine oil, vinegar, onion, garlic, brown sugar, curry powder, salt and pepper. Puree until well combined. Makes 2 cups (500 mL), more than you will need for this salad – leftovers keep well in a covered jar refrigerated for up to two weeks. This vinaigrette is also good on green salad with fruit and nuts or a rice and shrimp salad or as a sauce for barbecued chicken.

Pasta Artichoke and Olive Salad with a Pesto Dressing

The Mediterranean flavours of this salad are a great companion to grilled fish, meat or chicken. Its portability makes it ideal for picnics or trips to the cottage.

12 oz (375 mL) penne pasta or farfalle, cooked al dente
4 green onions, sliced
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) ripe sliced olives, drained
1 jar (6 oz/375 g) marinated artichokes, drained (reserve marinade)
3/4 cup (175 mL) commercial pesto or use next recipe
1/2 cup (125 mL) sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
2 cups (500 mL) cooked chopped chicken (optional)
1 cup (250 mL) toasted natural almonds

In a large saucepan cook pasta in boiling water 14 minutes or until al dente. Drain; rinse thoroughly in cold water.

In large mixing bowl, combine cooked pasta, onions, olives, artichokes, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, chicken if using and almonds. If pasta seems too dry, add reserved artichoke marinade and toss well to combine ingredients. Turn into serving bowl and cover. Refrigerate until serving time. Salad may be made a day ahead but toss almonds in just before serving. Makes four to six generous servings.

Parsley Pesto Sauce

This is a favourite recipe of mine. Although fresh basil is available, this version made with flat leaf parsley and dried basil makes the recipe more economical to prepare with mouth-watering results.

1 bunch flat leaf Italian parsley, washed and dried
1/2 cup (125 ml) Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted pine nuts (optional)
2 tbsp (25 mL) dried basil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor, combine parsley, cheese, pine nuts if using, basil, garlic, salt and pepper. Puree until finely chopped. With motor running, pour in olive oil. Pour pesto into jar and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for up to three months. Makes about 2 cups (500 mL).

Instant Ice Cream Cake

Ever popular, this speedy concoction is sure to please everyone.

4 cups (1 L) chocolate or mocha ice cream
4 cups (1 L) vanilla ice cream
2 cups (500 mL) favourite chocolate bar pieces (about two small bars, broken into bits)
2 cups (500 mL) fresh strawberries, washed and sliced
2 cups (500 mL) blackberries or blueberries or both

Line a nine-inch (2 L) loaf pan with plastic wrap. Pack half the chocolate or mocha ice cream into pan. Sprinkle with half the chocolate pieces. Pack in all the vanilla ice cream; sprinkle with remaining chocolate pieces. Pack in remaining chocolate or mocha ice cream. Cover with plastic wrap. Freeze one hour or overnight.

Using the plastic wrap as a lever, un-mold ice cream loaf onto serving plate. Discard plastic. Smooth out lines on ice cream with knife. Spoon fresh fruit over ice cream loaf. Slice into six to eight servings. Serve immediately with fruit.

Jan Main is an author, cooking instructor and caterer

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