Neither my husband nor I are big birthday people. It’s not like we “did” something, right? Certainly our parents (and God) had a hand in it. We were just the result. So when our birthdays roll around each year, we usually thank/congratulate the folks that made that happen.

Father’s Day and Mother’s Day, however, we are all over. Celebrating parenthood – the joys, the challenges, the sweet little people we gave birth to – is something that is very important to both of us. And so, with Father’s Day around the corner, I need to plan a very special day for my dude.  
The challenge, as we’ve grown older, gotten jobs, and become financially viable is that it’s so much harder to buy each other gifts. We’re both of pretty modest tastes, so if we see something we like, we’ll generally just buy it and not wait for an upcoming occasion. Makes gift-giving almost impossible.
The one thing that my husband has not wavered on throughout the14 years that we’ve been together is his love of good food. So, clearly, one element of his special day will be a home-cooked meal. To make it extra special, I’m taking my cue from some of his restaurant favorites. Here’s the menu I have in mind.

Like most men, he LOVES a good steak. Ribeye is his cut of choice, and he prefers it prepared pretty simply (basically just salt) and barely cooked. I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a “meat and potatoes guy”, because he’s not really into potatoes….but he is into another carby side – popovers. Inspired by the ones served at BLT Steakhouse, I’ll be making these beauties for him on Father’s Day. And as for veggies, we like to keep them pretty simple. Broccoli tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted has been our go-to over the past year. It’s a totally simple, no-fail, and delicious side.

Dessert is a tough one, because the dude loves all kinds of desserts. There’s the coconut cream pie at Capital Grille…or the Great Wall of Chocolate Cake at PF Chang’s….or the classic creme brûlée at our local French restaurant. Chocolate feels right for the occasion, but I’m not ready to commit several hours to making a dessert like the Great Wall of Chocolate…so molten lava cake will do the trick! I’ve made this recipe from Carlsbad Cravings before with success and will be using it again.

Oh…and I skipped a pretty important part – the starter! I’m going with a salad … a classic steakhouse salad. We have the Ruth’s Chris Chopped Salad every time we go for dinner and, after much experimentation a couple years ago, managed to create something similar to enjoy at home. Don’t skip the hearts of palm – they make the salad!! Here’s the recipe.

Ruth’s Chris Inspired Chopped Salad

4 cups of chopped spinach
4 cups of chopped romaine or iceberg lettuce
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, small chopped
8 slices of bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped hearts of palm
1/4 finely chopped red onion
20 grape tomatoes, split in half
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola

French’s crispy onions

1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup mayo
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp Salt (or more, to taste)

Chop all your veggies for the salad. I’ll usually do something like a thick julienne for the lettuce/spinach and a small chop for everything else.  (Note: this can be done earlier in the day). Next, make your dressing. Simply whisk all the ingredients together. I like to do this about an hour plus before serving time to allow the flavors to meld.

Hard-boil a couple of eggs and cook your bacon (I’ll usually cook mine in the microwave). Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, toss all salad ingredients (except for the crispy onions and dressing) in a bowl.

Immediately before serving, toss salad with dressing to coat. If you’re feeling fancy, you can do what they do at Ruth’s Chris and press the salad into a pretty circle mold.

Top with the French’s crispy onions. Garnish with tomatoes and basil.