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Want to learn to cook? Read, prep and go slow

Fathers Day feast is a great opportunity to experiment


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Take over the grill from dad on Fathers Day. Follow the recipes for Stets Steak and Two-Tone Potato Salad and you will prepare a successful Dad-pleasing feast.I recently made a pretty tasty dinner — so tasty, in fact, my son Cole said that if he could cook like that he’d have a houseful of very happy roommates. I don’t share this to pat myself on the back but to encourage beginning cooks.

You don’t have to have a culinary degree or the most expensive ingredients to be successful at cooking. Start by following recipes with few ingredients and minimal steps so you can learn how the ingredients actually taste and how they work in harmony with each other.

For instance, the dish Cole found so pleasing was a simple stir fry of chicken and vegetables seasoned with homemade pickled ginger, some of the rice wine vinegar in which the ginger was pickled and tamarind. A small amount of chili oil was heated in the wok before I cooked the chicken. When the chicken was opaque I added the vegetables, ginger, rice wine vinegar and tamarind. I let the whole thing simmer until the vegetables were crisp tender. It was served over brown rice with sweet chili sauce.

Learn to cook with your senses: Watch how the food changes, listen to it sizzling in the pan, smell the aromas and, of course, taste what you prepare. Sample the individual components of a dish so you recognize what each food adds to the whole enchilada, as the saying goes. And practice makes perfect, so keep working at it and experimenting with ingredients.

Dear ol’ dad would love a special dinner on Father’s Day, which is this Sunday. You are sure to meet with success with these delicious and easy dishes. Read the recipes through, gather all your ingredients before you start cooking and take your time. If you do those three things I can almost guarantee your success.

If you are looking for an event with heart to give Dad as a gift, take him to the CureSearch for Children’s Cancer wine and cheese tasting at Lamb’s Palisades Thriftway on June 20 from 4 to 7 p.m. The event is a benefit for Portland’s CureSearch Walk, which will be held Aug. 10 at Oaks Park. CureSearch is a national nonprofit whose mission it is to fund and support targeted and innovative children’s cancer research with measurable results. The organization raises funds for clinical trials and funds basic and translational research so that researchers can understand all aspects of children’s cancer, from its causes to its consequences. My neighbor and friend Susan Schrader has organized the event; she hopes you will attend the wine and cheese tasting (admission is $10) and then sign up for the walk at curesearchwalk.org/Portland. Do it today; kids and their families are counting on you.

And sign up now for the Lake Oswego Relay for Life, happening July 13 through 14 at the Lake Oswego High School track. I’d be honored to have you join my team — go online to relayforlife.org/lakeoswegoor and search for my name.

See you at the wine and cheese tasting on June 20.

Bon appetit! Eat something wonderful!

Stet’s Steak

Servings: 4 or more

4 sirloin steaks, 10 to 12 ounces each, cut 1 inch thick

1/4 cup dry mustard, such as Colman’s

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Juice of 1 large lime

Coarse kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Place the steaks on a platter and sprinkle with half the dry mustard. Pat the steaks with the flat part of a fork to spread the mustard evenly over and into the meat. Sprinkle the steaks with half the Worcestershire sauce, then squeeze half the lime over them. Pat with the fork. Season the steaks generously with salt and pepper. Turn the steaks over and spread the remaining mustard, Worcestershire and lime juice and more salt and pepper, patting with the fork. Let the steaks marinate for 15 to 20 minutes while you preheat the grill.

Preheat the grill to high.

When ready to cook, oil the grill grate. Place the steaks on the hot grate and grill, turning with tongs, until cooked to taste, 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare. Do not rotate steaks here; if you do, you’ll jar off the mustard mixture. Transfer the steaks to a platter and let stand for three minutes.

Thinly slice the steaks on the diagonal, as you would London broil. Let the slices marinate in the meat juices for a minute or two, then serve immediately.

Two-Tone Potato Salad

Servings: 6

For the potatoes and dressing:

2 large baking potatoes (each 10 ounces)

2 large sweet potatoes (each 10 ounces)

Salt to taste

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste

2 tablespoons drained capers

2 tablespoons chopped pitted green olives (with or without pimento)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

For salad:

2 medium ribs of celery with leaves, finely chopped

2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped

3 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed and finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped red onion

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus a few sprigs for garnish

8 pitted black olives for garnish

Peel all the potatoes and cut into 3/4 inch cubes. Place the baking potatoes in a large saucepan with 2 quarts lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and simmer until both types of potatoes are just tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. Combine the mayonnaise and mustard in a large serving bowl and whisk until blended and smooth. Whisk in the oil, 2 tablespoons vinegar, capers, green olives and pepper.

Drain the potatoes, then stir into the dressing while still hot. Set aside to cool and absorb the dressing.

Prepare the salad. Stir the celery, eggs, scallions, red onion and chopped parsley gently but thoroughly into the cooked potato mixture. Adjust the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar; the salad should be heavily seasoned. Garnish the salad with the black olives and parsley sprigs and serve.

(Recipes from “The Barbecue Bible”)

Randall welcomes your questions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281, ext. 100, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



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