In America, Father’s Day is a day for burnt toast and breakfast in bed, family gatherings, bouquets, “I Love You, Dad” scribbled with crayons, and that lovely new tie. It is a celebration of fathers, and for some, an appreciation of father figures—stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, or “Big Brothers.”

How did Father’s Day come about? A woman from Spokane, Wash., Sonora Dodd, first got the idea while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd had lost her mother at an early age, and wanted to honor her widowed father, who had raised her and her five siblings. She petitioned the Spokane governing council to proclaim an official holiday, and they approved it for the third Sunday of June. Over time, the holiday was adopted across the country, and much later, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. It became official only in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Wouldn’t it be nice to mark June 18 by making something special for Dad? The only limit to preparing a Father’s Day meal is your imagination and creativity.

Here’s a recipe for a healthy, cool salad appetizer on this warm day. My husband was in his cooking mood one day and came up with this flavorful concoction. The aroma of the herbs, the tartness of balsamic vinegar, the creaminess of the goat feta cheese crumbles, and the sweetness of the raisins will most certainly get your salivary glands going. It is high in beta-carotene and proteins as well. Make this sprouted green mung salad for your beloved father and see what he says.

a1dd6d8a8e68af89e960018e6fe311ce-3MUNG SPROUT SALAD

4 cups sprouted green mung
2 large carrots grated
¼ cup raisins
1 apple peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons plain or glazed walnuts (baking pieces), or pine nuts, or sunflower seeds
2 to 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 to 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon each rosemary, thyme, and oregano
1 tablespoon crumpled goat feta cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Toss all the ingredients together. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and the goat cheese and serve immediately. Serves four.

The rich, slightly sweet flavor of balsamic vinegar readily lends itself to vinaigrette dressings and gourmet sauces. It brings out the sweetness of fresh fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, and peaches. One can sprinkle the vinegar on watermelon cubes as well. In the peak of summer, watermelons are bursting with amazing sweetness. A tip: when choosing a seedless watermelon, make sure that when you tap the skin it feels firm and sounds hollow.

I will leave the entrée entirely to your imagination because I cannot wait to share the dessert recipe. This straight-from-the-oven banana-pineapple crisp is the perfect companion for a couple of scoops of ice cream on a warm summer day.

a1dd6d8a8e68af89e960018e6fe311ce-2BANANA-PINEAPPLE CRISP

6 sliced bananas
1 medium-sized pineapple peeled and chopped
cooking spray
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup regular oats
½ cup desiccated coconut
8 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 375 F for 10 minutes. Place the sliced bananas and chopped pineapples in a large, flat baking dish coated with cooking spray. Mix flour, oats, coconut, sugar, ginger, and salt in a bowl; add butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1/3 cups of the oat mixture to the fruit mixture in the baking dish, and stir gently to mix it in. Sprinkle the remaining oat mixture on top.
Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Serve with ice cream. Serves eight.

Have a wonderful Father’s Day!

Vaidehi Madabushi loves cooking and is a connoisseur of great-tasting vegetarian fare.

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