Let's face it. On Mother's Day, mom gets a dozen red roses, Chanel No. 19, and an extravagent dinner out. On Father's Day, dad gets socks. Somehow, Father's Day gets lost between the excitement of school's end and the Fourth of July. Advertising may proclaim ``Dads and Grads!'', but it's the latter that gets the glory. To make Father's Day stand out as a special occasion, why not make it the first picnic of the new season? Bringing the party outdoors not only celebrates dad, but also the arrival of summer.
All dads being different, choose the setting which he would enjoy the most - the beach, a grassy park with a baseball diamond or hiking trails, or even (if you must) your own backyard.
One of the great things about a picnic is that the food is prepared in advance so the partygoers can have ample time to just relax or play in the sun. The following recipes are all easy to make the day before. Being outside always seems to make food taste wonderful - either because you're ravenous from exercising in the fresh air, or the smell from the grill is so tantalizing. You should, however, find the leftovers (if there are any) to be just as good back at home!
So spread out a brightly colored tapestry cloth to keep ants away from the important things (the picnic basket and any babies), and put the cooler with the icy drinks within easy reach of all. Make sure you've brought dad a comfy beach chair, and don't let him get up to start the grill. Just let him sit back and enjoy the appetizers and his new socks.
Cold Rice Salad 1 box quick-cooking rice (14 oz.) 4 cups chicken broth 5 or 6 green onions, chopped 2 6 1/2 ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, chopped 1 4 1/4 ounce chopped black olives 3/4 cups mayonnaise, or to desired consistency
Cook rice according to directions, using chicken broth instead of water. Cool. Mix with remaining ingredients and mayonnaise. Easy Quiche 1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell (storebought or see recipe below) Broccoli (about 11/2 cups of small florets) 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1/2 cup milk 2 eggs 1 tablespoon flour Dash pepper 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, Jack or Swiss cheese 3 green onions, chopped
Lightly steam broccoli. Set aside. Blend mayonnaise, milk, eggs, flour, onions, and cheese. Add broccoli. Turn into pastry shell and bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. This can be served cold or warm as an appetizer. Serves 4 to 6.
Note: Any of the following items may be substituted for the broccoli - tuna, shrimp, salmon, mushrooms, asparagus, cauliflower, or spinach. There should be enough to generously cover the bottom of the pastry shell.
Pastry Crust: 1 cup flour 1/3 cup shortening or margarine 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Add shortening. Using your fingers, work it into flour and salt. Handle the dough as little as possible. Start by mixing in 3 tablespoons of ice water; add more as necessary. Refrigerate about half an hour before rolling out.
Skewered Chicken and Vegetables Vegetables Red onions, cut into sixths Yellow squash, cut into chunks Zucchini, cut into chunks Mushrooms, whole, or halved if large Cherry tomatoes, whole Pineapple, cut into chunks
Gingered Chicken Marinade 1 pound chicken, cut into 1 inch cubes 2 large green onions, minced 3 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons rice vinegar 1 tablespoon oil 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger 1 medium clove minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon hot chili oil or 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (to taste) 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
Combine all ingredients except chicken and mix well. Place chicken in pan and pour marinade over.
Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours, turning occasionally.
Arrange a tray of chicken and vegetables for guests to choose from for their individual skewers.
Use metal or wooden skewers for grilling (if wooden ones are used, soak in water for 30 minutes to prevent burning).
When ready to grill, skewer chicken pieces alternately with vegetables and grill for about 4 minutes on each side.
Graham Cracker Brownies 2 cups graham crackers 1 can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup chocolate chips 1 cup broken walnuts (optional) Pinch of salt 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix ingredients in bowl and press into greased 8-by-8-inch pan. Bake for about 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
Fresh Nectarine Ice Cream 2 cups crushed, peeled nectarines (about 4 large) 1/3 cup sugar 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons all purpose flour 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups milk 2 eggs, beaten 2 cups whipping cream 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Mix nectarines, 1/3 cup sugar, and lemon juice in medium bowl.
Combine 1 cup sugar, flour, and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Mix in 1/4 cup milk and eggs. Blend in remaining milk. Stir over low heat until mixture thickens and coats spoon - about 15 minutes.
Cool slightly. Stir in cream and vanilla. Chill well.
Process cream mixture in ice cream maker, according to manufacturers instructions, adding nectarine mixture when ice cream is almost set. Let sit in ice (in the ice cream maker or cooler) for an hour or so, to mellow flavors.
Soften slightly before serving.