My dad's birthday was Friday, so he brought over some venison for me to cook (the thought of him eating all his game in the form of well-done steaks drowned in A-1 makes me cringe). Since he brought it the day before, I gave it an overnight dry rub of my usual secret blend, but with a little cocoa powder and coffee added for depth.
The next day I rinsed off the rub (stay with me, here) and gave it a wet marinade with juniper berries, rosemary, pink and black peppercorns, bay leaf, cassia and allspice berries. The wet part consisted of some budget pinot noir, mushroom stock and a bit of honey.
After an hour or two, I pulled the sirloin roast out of the marinade and pat dry. A quick sear in a hot pan (lubed with duck fat), finish in a 400-degree oven for about 15 minutes (basting a couple times during that period). Whilst the meat was roasting, I reduced the marinade with a spoonful of veal demi and a handful of dried bing cherries. (Don't worry, I hadn't salted the marinade heavily because the dry rub from the night before had already done its work on the meat.) I would've liked to have reduced this down into a sticky syrup, but I could tell my dad really wanted to eat.
The potatoes were simmered with fresh horseradish root and mashed with buttermilk, good French butter and minced chives. In retrospect, I would've just grated the horseradish into the milk and butter and simmered it to pull out the flavor, as the root never really softened up enough to be edible (and we had to pull woody nubs out of our mouths while eating). The asparagus and favas provided a simple side with more of said good French butter, lemon and a chiffonade of fresh mint.
My father, having the palate of a five-year old, would not touch his asparagus or favas. The venison went unsauced, and I had to re-fire the meat after slicing, because he only likes it medium-well to well done. He did, however, like the mashed potatoes because they are pretty much just like baby food.*
Even though he didn't bother staying for his own birthday cake, I also baked him a chocolate cake with homemade pecan-coconut frosting. This was an ordeal and looked like an abortion, but standing over the plate with a spoon, shoveling in warm gooey cake after the harrowing experience of spending three hours with my father was rewarding.
*He reluctantly agreed to a small ramekin of jus on his plate for dipping, and then made a huge fucking production of showing me how open minded he is to try some of my cRaZy sauce. He would stare at me and when I finally turned my head he'd say "see? I'm trying it!" He really is just like a fucking child and leaves me wondering why I even bother. This is the experience of my every holiday.
Also, I rented a movie for us all to watch. "How about Cloverfield? It's a good blockbuster-type monster movie." Scott says "what about No Country for Old Men?", to which I insist, "NO. Cloverfield." My dad doesn't realize we're having a debate over his head because I know that whatever movie we choose will be talked over by my father. "Whoa, what is that?" "I don't know dad, this is the first time we've seen this too." "What is she saying?" "I don't know dad, maybe if you would shut the fuck up for five minutes you'd be able to hear some fucking dialog. I know this isn't Lord of the Fucking Rings, but why don't you just watch it and see what happens." Sheeeesh. I love the man, I really do (mainly because he's my father and I have to, and I'm not completely broken), but I can only take him in small doses. Like an hour every other month.