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This Father’s Day will be a special one for me. As my two boys are leaving the house for college (one is a junior; the other will be a freshman), I'm feeling especially sentimental. How is it that 18 years flew by so quickly? Wasn’t it just a few years ago that I was making my boys teddy bear pancakes before dropping them off at school?
As one might imagine, there have been many kitchen-teaching moments in the Batali house over the years. Benno and Leo are no novices in the kitchen. But their agendas in the kitchen are likely changing: Rather than take on pancake or burger duty for the family, they’re likely cooking for a different audience. When the day comes that college boys are dating, cooking is a damn good trick to have in your arsenal.
Take me at my word when I say that cooking dinner for a date is a power move. The average 18-year-old might think that picking a choice restaurant is the best way to impress a girl—but if you cook dinner, you mean business. And the process is foolproof if you plan and shop properly then follow one of these recipes. Here are the two I'm sending them off with, for now:
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 medium poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
- 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 6 canned plum tomatoes, drained
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for grilling
- 2 pounds skirt steak
- 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro to yield 1 cup, loosely packed
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 to 3 limes)
- 8 soft corn tortillas
- 3 limes, cut into wedges for serving
For the dough:
- 2 1/2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
- 1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed
For the filling, and to finish:
- 5 large, ripe peaches, pitted and cut into 16 slices each
- 2 pints fresh blackberries
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup mascarpone or freshly whipped cream