By Barbie Butz

I have been pondering my theme for this week, what with all that is taking place. Since many other columnists are covering the daily news, and it’s not happy news, I decided to concentrate on something positive.

On Sunday, June 21, we will celebrate Father’s Day, and I’ve selected some recipes that should allow some of the “junior chefs” in your family to show off a little. After all, dads deserve to “give up the grill” for a day and let someone else do the cookin’.

This first recipe is simple and will allow the kids to participate easily. These used to be called Hobo Packs, but apparently, some folks didn’t like the name since they heard that hobos were defined as tramps in the dictionary. So now they are often called Grill Pouches. So, call them what you want, they are delicious!

Grill Pouches

Ingredients and Directions:

Heat the grill to 475 degrees. Toss 1 lb. Idaho potatoes, scrubbed and diced; 1 lb. sweet potatoes, scrubbed and diced; 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and sliced; and 1 small yellow onion, diced, with ½ tbsp. vegetable oil, 1 ¼ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano.

Create 6 large rectangles of 2 layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Divide mixture evenly (about 1 1/3 cups per packet) among foil rectangles. Break up 1 lb. fresh chorizo, casings removed, into small pieces and sprinkle evenly over mixture. Fold packets to seal well. Cook on covered grill, turning over halfway through, until sausage is cooked through and potatoes are tender, 28 to 30 minutes. Open packets very carefully. Sprinkle with additional oregano if desired.

Note: Try andouille or spicy Italian sausage in place of the chorizo. Prep all of the ingredients; toss with the oil, salt, and oregano and place some in individual bowls and let the kids fill the pouches. It might be easier to use some of the sausages that can be sliced, like polish sausage. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

If you can find a smooth spot on the foil, let the kids write a name on the pouch with a black marker. Have fun and be creative with this recipe! Pouches can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This next recipe comes from Kate Dubost, owner with her husband, Curt, of Dubost Winery and Vineyard. It’s also a wonderful and easy-to-make dessert. Use clear plastic 5 ounce cups.

Key Lime Pie In A Cup

Ingredients:

1 8-ounce cream cheese bar, slightly softened in microwave

1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 limes

4 graham crackers, crushed

1 tablespoon butter, melted

Directions:

In a food processor, mix softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth with no lumps. Squeeze juice from 1 lime into mixture, saving peel for grating later. In a separate bowl, mix crushed graham crackers with melted butter, and mix with a fork until crumbly and butter is distributed evenly. In six 5-ounce clear cups, begin to layer, graham cracker mixture on the bottom first, and then cream cheese mixture next. Repeat this process one more time. With a fine grater, grate lime peel on top. Slice remaining lime into rounds and then quarter. Use wedges for garnish atop each serving. Serves 6.

For another quick, delicious dessert, try this simple recipe using strawberries or other summer berries, and whipped cream.

Mix-and Match Berries and Cream

Ingredients:

1 cup chilled heavy cream

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Small pinch of kosher salt

Macerated Berries

1 lb. Any berries, halved, quartered if large

¼ cup sugar

Small pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

Using the largest (and widest) whisk you have, beat cream, vanilla, and salt in a large chilled bowl until soft peaks form, 3-6 minutes. Whipped cream can be made 2 hours ahead. Cover and chill. Just before serving, whisk cream once or twice to re-fluff. Do not over-whip. Combine berries, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Let sit, occasionally tossing, until juicy, at least 15 minutes. Add berries to whipped cream and fold gently until mixture is streaky but barely combined (just one or two strokes). Scoop into small glasses. Berries can be macerated 2 hours ahead. Leave at room temperature. Decorate each serving with a fresh berry or two and a sprig of fresh mint, if available.

Happy Father’s Day. Stay safe and healthy. Enjoy the weekend.

Cheers!

Getting through this together, Paso Robles