Friends, Family and Food: Father’s Day with OXO Tot’s National Sales Manager
Words Jed Whitters
Father’s Day is my favorite day of the year. This is not because it is a day dedicated to the awesomeness of me, but rather a celebration of us. My day includes friends, family, relaxing and time to be with the people who matter the most. It also consistently occurs the week before both of my children’s birthdays — Kayleigh, 10 and Maxwell, 6 — and is the perfect kickoff to summer. Instead of snoozing and waiting for breakfast in bed, my Father’s Day tradition is outlined here. I stick to my normal early Sunday morning round of golf with some of the best father figures I know. Our group is close, and we celebrate with food, drink, friendly competition, and stories about our kids.
While first arriving at the course you will see the smoke from Todd’s grill gently lifting into the air and the amazing aroma of bacon and burgers. On this day, our usual post round snack is replaced by a full pre-round breakfast of Todd’s Breakfast Burgers and famous Bloody Marys.
These are designed to be lighter because on a warm day all I want is something refreshing!
Makes: A lot. Best when serving a group and made the day before serving.
Vodka of choice
1.5 cups natural lemonade – nothing too sweet
2 cups lime seltzer
1 teaspoon Worcheshire sauce
3 tablespoons fresh horseradish
2-3 dashes of clam juice
1 teaspoon ground garlic
½ – 1 teaspoon pepper (to taste)
½ teaspoon salt
1 handful of green pimento olives finely chopped (I like to add a splash of olive juice as well)
1 stalk of celery with leafy greens attached finely chopped
Tabasco or sriracha
- Fill a large container a quarter of the way with the vodka of your choice
- Add lemonade and lime seltzer
- Fill the remainder of the container with tomato juice, leaving a little room at the top
- Seal, shake (Shake it once you’re fine, shake it twice you’re okay, shake it three times…) and let sit for 15 minutes
- Open container and add Worcheshire sauce, horseradish, clam juice, garlic, salt, pepper, olives, a splash of olive juice, celery, lemon juice, lime juice and their rinds shredded
- Top with Tabasco or sriracha to taste (I prefer my Bloody’s spicy and add both.)
- Optional: Top with vodka or seltzer to fill the rest of the container
- Mix well and let sit overnight
In a 16 oz. glass (or solo cup if you’re at the course) add 1-2 stalks of celery with leafy heads and 1-2 slices of crisp bacon (optional). Fill glass with ice and pour mixture in. Add a couple of olives and enjoy! You may want to have extra Tabasco or sriracha on hand so guests can season to taste.
Todd’s Breakfast Burgers
Makes: Makes 4 burgers
1.25 lbs meat of choice (Generally, we use an 85/15 hamburger mix as these cook a bit longer and you want to retain the juiciness of the burger)
¼ lb cheddar cheese, sliced
- In a bowl, loosely break up the meat. Add salt and pepper generously, and lightly drizzle olive oil over the top. Gently incorporate it all and form burger patties
- Indent one side of burger patty and crack an egg into the indentation
- Layer a piece of cheese over the top of the egg so it’s completely covered, but there is still an edge of meat showing.
- Add another patty on top of the cheese and gently press down the edges so that the egg and cheese are encased. Form burger patty as needed
- Repeat until all burgers are formed
- Salt and pepper patties prior to grilling
- Over a high heat, sear each side of the burger
- Once seared on both sides, remove from heat and turn temperature to low.
- Place burgers back on grill (if using charcoal place over indirect heat) and cover, cooking 5-6 minutes per side
- Top with cheese of choice and melt (my personal favorite for these is a chipotle gouda blend)
- Once cheese is melted, place burger patty on roll. I like to top mine with two slices of crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and serrano pepper sauce mayonnaise
Post golf, it’s back home to pick up the kids, pack a picnic, and head to our favorite lake for canoeing, fishing, and swimming. This is a special time where we’re focused less on what we are eating, and more on who is putting the worm on the hook (Kayleigh usually saves the day for Max and me) and what rules are in place for splashing Dad. We are in the moment, just being together, and enjoying some good dad jokes — what do you call a fish with two knees? A twoknee fish! — games, and listening to Max exaggerate the size of his catch of the day.
Our picnic includes some favorites that we can pick at throughout the day: watermelon, grapes, finger sandwiches the kids help make, our homemade potato chips, and “Sun Tea.”
More of an Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea), this is my kids’ favorites. We usually make two batches and use some of the second batch to make ice “tea” cubes so the drink does not become watered down.
4 cups natural lemonade
3 cups seltzer
10 tea bags of your choice
- Fill a one gallon glass container with natural lemonade.
- Add seltzer and fill remainder of container with cold water.
- Cut lemon into ¼ inch pieces and add to container.
- Take tea bags and place in container so they are submerged in water. Place strings and tags outside of container and screw on lid. Place in a bright, sunny spot for 6-8 hours, shaking every couple of hours.
- Place in fridge overnight and store cold.
- Add sugar or sweetener to taste
I like to make two basic versions: Salt and Vinegar and Sweet Potato
Frying oil (I prefer peanut)
4 large Russet Potatoes or
4 large Sweet Potatoes
- Fill a deep frying pan halfway with oil
- Clean and dry potatoes
- Thinly slice potatoes and lay on paper towel; pat dry
- Once oil is heated to 350 degrees, gently place potato slices in oil and fry until golden brown but not burnt (these are better on the crispier side)
- Remove slices and place on a tray lined with paper towels to drain and pat excess oil off chips.
- If making Salt and Vinegar chips, splash with vinegar to taste and top with sea salt. If making Sweet Potato chips, simply salt as chips cool.
- Once cool store in an airtight container
Finally, we return home and relax with the U.S. Open Golf Tournament on the TV, toy cars on the patio table prepping for their big race and softball pitching practice for Kayleigh. Eventually, we’ll start to cook the kids’ favorite dinner: Pasta with Chicken Parmesan Meatballs and Homemade Garlic Knots. They love this recipe because they can get their hands dirty and actually get involved in cooking. The “meatballs” can be served alone, with a side of pasta or made into sliders.
Chicken Parm “Meatballs”
Makes 16 – 20 large “meatballs”
1 cup of breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup parmesan cheese
2 lbs ground chicken
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon parsley
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb fresh mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees
- In a bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, salt and parmesan cheese
- In a separate larger bowl mix together the ground chicken, eggs, pepper, oregano, basil, parsley and minced garlic
- Cut mozzarella cheese in small cubes
- Combine breadcrumb mixture with the meat mixture and mix together well using your hands
- Take a half palm-size portion of the mix and roll into a ball
- Push cube of mozzarella into center of ball. Add more meat as necessary to completely cover the mozzarella cube.
- Repeat until all meat is shaped into balls
- In a large skillet, coat pan with olive oil and add meatballs to pan. Gently brown on all sides and place in a baking dish
- Once all meatballs are browned, cover baking dish with foil and place in oven for 15 minutes
- Remove foil and cover with sauce. Place in oven for another 15 minutes
- Serve as sliders, with pasta or their own.
I use store-bought biscuit mix…THE HORROR!
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
¾ teaspoons garlic powder
½ teaspoons oregano
½ teaspoons parsley flakes
¼ teaspoons salt
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Lightly coat a baking sheet with oil or cooking spray
- In a small bowl mix together parmesan cheese, garlic powder, oregano, parsley flakes, salt, melted butter
- Hand roll the dough into a “rope” that is about 6 inches long and 1 inch in diameter
- Tie a knot in the center of the rope and tuck the ends into the dough
- Place on baking sheet and brush with butter mixture
- Bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Immediately brush again with remaining butter mixture.
- Serve warm
And just like that, the day is over. I wouldn’t have it any other way: family, friends, food, and fun. Happy Father’s Day!