Clichés are clichés for a reason.
“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” may, for example, sound gender-biased but it proved true, time and time again, with my Dad.
Baking a Banana Cream Pie for my fabulous father was a great big slice of delicious “I Love You”.
He was easy to love and a pleasure to feed.
If you are able to spoil your wonderful Dad on this Father’s Day, Rebecca Kealey has scrumptious suggestions.
Rebecca loves good food and her dad. She was born into culinary appreciation. Ella’s mother, Korey Kealey, is a longtime food specialist on CTV Ottawa.
Since childhood Rebecca and her brothers have made countless television appearances in cooking segments.
This year though, Rebecca has taken over the spatula, and the screen, in celebration of her Dad, Liam Kealey.
Rebecca and Liam Kealey. (Courtesy Kealey family)“Father’s Day has always been a day where my siblings and I put together a meal to celebrate our dad,” explains Rebecca Kealey.
“And every year we try to incorporate the freshest, most delicious ingredients.”
After all, Dad deserves the best.
“My dad is one of the kindest, strongest, and most loving people I have ever met, and doing something as simple as making him dinner is one of the ways I like to show him how much he means to me,” says Rebecca.
Bet you those words, and that cooking gesture, has gone straight to her father’s heart. He was her official ‘taste tester’ for these Foodland Ontario recipes.
Rebecca is studying Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa with a minor in management. She is an athlete and a bona fide foodie.
“Growing up, I always had the opportunity to learn and help my mom and dad with the meals they prepared for us. Learning how to cook and prepare nutritious meals as a kid has set me up tremendously well for living on my own.”
“Feeding others as well as yourself is such a rewarding experience, and keeps my interest for finding new recipe ideas strong.”
Here’s how Rebecca Kealey suggests you spoil Dad on Father’s Day:
Asparagus and Ham Brunch Bread (Rebecca Kealey)
Asparagus and Ham Brunch Bread
- 3 cups (750 mL) biscuit mix
- 1 tsp (5 mL) dried tarragon
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of dry mustard and pepper
- 2 Ontario Eggs, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 cups (350 mL) Ontario Milk
- 2lb (1kg) Ontario Asparagus
- 1 cup (250 mL) diced Black Forest ham, about 4 oz (125 g)
- 1 Ontario Onion, said
- 1 cup (250 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (4 oz/125 g)
In large bowl, combine biscuit mix, tarragon, mustard and pepper. In another bowl, beat eggs with milk; pour over dry mixture and stir until smooth. Spread half in greased 13- x 9-inch (3.5 L) cake pan (mixture will be thin).
Break tough ends from asparagus. Arrange half in single layer on batter. Sprinkle with ham, onion and half of the cheese. Spread remaining batter over top. Arrange remaining asparagus over batter; sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake in 375°F (190°C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes before serving warm or at room temperature.
Strawberry stuffed french toast. (Rebecca Keley)
Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
Turn breakfast or brunch into a special occasion with this French toast. Sandwiches stuffed with Ontario Strawberries and cream cheese; sweetened with Ontario Maple Syrup and cooked to perfection – sooo good.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
cooking time: 4 minutes
- 8 oz (250 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped Ontario Strawberries
- 1 loaf unsliced egg bread (450 g), preferably day-old
- 2 cups (500 mL) sliced Ontario Strawberries
- 3 Ontario Eggs
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) Ontario Maple Syrup
- 1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) groundnutmeg
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) Ontario Milk
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) butter, softened (approx)
- Ontario Maple Syrup
In medium bowl, mash together cream cheese and sugar; fold in chopped strawberries.
Trim both ends off bread; cut loaf into 12 slices, each about 3/4-inch (2 cm) thick. Spread one side of each bread slice with cream cheese mixture, dividing equally. Top 6 slices with sliced strawberries, dividing equally, then remaining bread slices with cream cheese side down; press gently.
In shallow dish, whisk eggs, maple syrup and nutmeg until blended; whisk in milk and vanilla. Working in batches, dip sandwiches into egg mixture, soaking well.
Heat large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush with a thin layer of butter. Add soaked sandwiches, in batches as necessary, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, pressing gently. Using one spatula under sandwiches and one on top, flip over and cook until golden and puffed and a knife inserted into bread comes out clean, about 1 to 2 minutes. Keep warm while repeating with remaining sandwiches. Add more butter and adjust heat as necessary, to prevent burning.
Drizzle French toast with maple syrup.
Bread that is a day or two old, rather than fresh-baked, is best for French toast as it cuts into nice, neat slices and will keep the shape when soaked with the egg mixture. Just be sure it doesn’t taste stale.
Ontario strawberries are available from May to October.
Quinoa and Grilled Asparagus Salad (Rebecca Kealey).
Quinoa and Grilled Asparagus Salad
Quinoa, native to South America, is combined with Ontario grilled vegetables in this easy-to-prepare salad bursting with refreshing flavour. This vegetarian salad is a great option for brunch and outdoor celebrations, as a main dish salad or as a side salad to accompany grilled meat, chicken or fish.
Grilling Time: 10 minutes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed
- 1 lb (500 g) Ontario Asparagus, trimmed
- 1 Ontario Greenhouse Sweet Orange Pepper, quartered
- 1 large Ontario Onion, cut into 1/2-inch (1 cm) thick slices
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) vegetable oil
- 1 can (19 oz/540 mL) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh Ontario Parsley
- 1 tsp (5 mL) grated orange yield
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) orange juice
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) Ontario Honey
- 1 tbsp (15 mL) each red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard
- 1 small clove garlic, finely minced
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper
In medium saucepan, bring quinoa and 2 cups (500 mL) water to boil; Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork, remove from heat; let stand covered for 5 minutes. Place in serving bowl; let’s cool.
Meanwhile, brush asparagus, orange pepper and onion with 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the oil. Place on greased grill over medium-high heat. Grill, covered, turning occasionally, until tender-crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board as they are done. Let cool slightly and cut into bite-size pieces; stir into quinoa along with chickpeas and parsley.
In small bowl, whisk together remaining oil, orange rind and juice, honey, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper; pour over quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature.
Open-Faced Grilled Chicken, Asparagus and Red Pepper Sandwiches (Rebecca Kealey)
Open-Faced Grilled Chicken, Asparagus and Red Pepper Sandwiches
One of the nicest ways to enjoy fresh asparagus is grilled. Layer it on a toasted bun with grilled chicken, Brie, red pepper and salad greens.
Grilling Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano leaves
- Pinch each salt and pepper
- 1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar
- 2 boneless skinless Ontario Chicken Breasts
- 12 Ontario Asparagus Spears
- 1 large Ontario Greenhouse Sweet Red Pepper, quartered
- 2 crusty buns (such as ciabattas)
- 2 cups (500 mL) mixed Ontario Salad Greens or Baby Spinach Leaves
- 4 oz (125 g) Ontario Brie Cheese, sliced
In small bowl, combine oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper; divide in half. To one half, stir in vinegar. Set aside.
Holding knife blade horizontally, cut chicken breasts in half to make 4 pieces. Brush with some of the oil mixture. Trim asparagus to length of buns. Toss asparagus with some of the oil mixture.
Slice buns horizontally and place on grill over medium heat; grill until toasted, about 2 minutes. Set aside. Add chicken, asparagus and red pepper to grill; grill over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, 10 to 13 minutes, removing as they are done.
Toss greens with vinegar mixture.
To assemble sandwiches, place greens on bun half. Top with chicken, Brie, asparagus and red pepper.
Tip: For easy slicing, freeze Brie for 15 minutes or until firm.
Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse Parfait (Foodland Ontario)
Strawberry White Chocolate Mousse Parfait
Any combination of fresh Ontario berries would be delicious. If you don’t have parfait glasses, use wine glasses or even drinking glasses for a unique look.
Chilling Time: 30 minutes
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
- 6 squares white chocolate (170 g pkg), chopped
- 1 cup (250 mL) light sour cream or plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp (25 mL) fresh lime juice
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
- 4 cups (1 L) Ontario Strawberries
- Ontario Mint Sprigs
In medium microwaveable bowl, microwave chocolate on Medium (50% power) for 3 minutes or until almost melted; stir until completely melted. In large bowl, combine sour cream and lime juice; stir in chocolate. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until thickened slightly.
In a chilled medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form; fold into chocolate mixture.
slice strawberries; reserving some for garnish. Layer strawberries with chocolate mixture in parfait glasses; repeat layers. Garnish with reserved berries and mint sprigs. Serve or refrigerate covered up to 2 hours.