Happy Birthday to Dad...

It's pretty rare around here that I repeat recipes. My to-do list is currently 140 recipes long for savory dishes, and 61 recipes long for desserts, which doesn't give me a lot of time to back and repeat past favorites. However, there is a certain someone in my life who is unapologetic about being set in his ways, and it isn't Justin. It's my dad, and given that he's pestered me pretty much since the onset of stone fruit season about when he was going to get another peach pie, I decided to pull a repeat performance of last year's success in honor of his birthday last week.

Last year, I did a lattice crust for the pie, but I was more pressed for time this year, so I did a basic double crust, and it was still perfect.
 Actually, my repeat pie performance was just a small fraction of a larger cookout that Justin and I hosted to mark Dad's 58th year on Earth. As it turns out, Dad was sent a very large, and very expensive box of steaks from Allen Brothers, a company that provides choice meats to some of the fanciest steakhouses in Chicago. Without a working grill at their house, the frozen meat had been taking up a huge chunk of space in Mom's freezer for the past seven and a half months. Eager to reclaim her valuable real estate, Mom had been suggesting that she bring the steaks over for a cookout ever since we got our grill. Since the meat was technically a gift to Dad in the first place, we decided that his birthday would be the perfect occasion.

I had Justin read up on proper grilling technique for steaks, with a tutorial from one of my favorite food writers, J. Kenji Lรณpez Alt. Basically, his tips boiled down to a few key points: salt the meat generously, and well in advance of when you plan to toss it on the grill; use a two zone fire, cook the meat slowly over the cooler side until it is close to the desired temperature, then sear it over the hot side at the very end; flip it as much as you want; and don't be afraid to use a meat thermometer. 

With those lessons in mind, Justin did an absolutely superb job grilling the steaks. They were on par with any steak I've had at a steakhouse, and since the meat was a gift, the whole experience was free. After we ate, I looked up Allen Brothers online to see how much our meal would have cost us, and it was over $250!! Honestly, I'm glad that I didn't find that out until Justin was already done cooking, because I think that would have been an awful lot of pressure for a novice grill master.

I'd like to think that the pie was the highlight of the meal, but I think that honor goes to Justin's steaks. More importantly, Dad seemed to enjoy himself, and that's all that really matters. Happy Birthday, Dad!

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