One of the most challenging parts of my life is being a mother. While it has so many great rewards and I love my daughter with all of my heart and soul – but wow, it can make me crazy. I know that she is on her journey and has her lessons to learn so it is a constant balancing act of when to speak and when not to. The phone ringing in the middle of the night can just send fear like nothing else.
Now times that by 5. My mom was married in August and nine month and seven days later she gave birth to my sister in May! (Her father gave her a dozen roses when she hit the 9-month mark!) Then the following March baby #2 arrived. Eleven months later it was me! Then she took a rest. Two years later her second set of Irish twins we born all before her 29th birthday! Now that is really a WOW! Not just that she had so many in diapers at once, with no more help than her mom, mother in law and an occasional babysitter. She also had 5 teens at one time, taught 5 of us to drive, was the peace keeper of all our crazy hormones and all -plus she worked a full time most of the years.
Ok…she was not perfect, but mostly she mothered with love, grace and an amazing sense of humor. This is exactly what kind of a grandmother she is to her 8 grandchildren. Anytime my heart breaks a little for my daughter as she struggles with life’s bumps and bruises I need only think of my mother and I know that everything will be ok. Today I celebrate and honor my mother because everything I am and everything I have is because of her. Love you mom!
MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH
“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” – Tenneva Jordan
“We women of one country will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.” – Julia Ward Howe, Mother’s Day, 1819
I know that celebrating Mother’s Day is often a restaurant outing, but as occurs on many holidays, restaurants are often too crowded and overpriced. Personally, I love to be at home with my family on Mother’s Day— especially if someone else is cooking. My amazing mother has five children and eight grandchildren, so a relaxed brunch at home is a welcome gift to all of us.
Following are some delicious and simple brunch recipes that are sure to please most everyone. Bloody Mary’s and lemoncello teas are lovely additions to a brunch (see The Weekend Cocktail column for the recipes below), and of course, orange juice mimosas (3/4 glass champagne to ¼ glass juice) are always popular. There are also some delicious variations, so switch it up and try substituting pomegranate juice, cranberry juice or blueberry-mango juice.
These recipes are easy because preparation can be done ahead of time, allowing the host and guests to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Have a lovely Sunday celebrating incredible mothers and everyone else who is like a mother to you.
Mother’s Day Fruit Salad
2 cups chopped pineapple
2 blood oranges, peeled/diced
2 clementines or mandarins
1 Asian pear, chopped
2 large Fuji apples
Juice and zest of 2 Meyer lemons
1-inch ginger, grated
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 star fruit, sliced
Toss all ingredients and chill for at least an hour before serving. Garnish with fresh mint and star fruit slices. Serves 6.
Blueberry and Mango Salad
Juice of 4 limes
Zest of one lime
2 large mangos, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups blueberries
10 mint leaves, sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
Gently toss together let stand for an hour or overnight and serve.
Get a side of salmon, pack it in chopped dill, wrap it in rock salt, sprinkle a bit of aquavit – just to make it moist – wrap it in plastic or big zip lock – but all the air has to be out – weigh it down with bottles or bricks – 24 hours later (no more or it gets hard) thoroughly wash the salt off – display with skin side at bottom – with your best knife, shave the salmon into paper thin slices and serve with the following dressing.
1-cup olive oil
¼ cup Dijon mustard
3-tablespoon fresh dill
Asparagus and Goat Cheese Frittata
1 dozen eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 chopped red bell pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups goat cheese
Butter a 9-12 inch Pyrex rectangular pan. Set aside. In a large sauté pan, melt butter and sauté asparagus, onion, and bell pepper. Meanwhile, whisk together eggs, milk and seasonings. Add the asparagus mixture and mix well. Crumble and add the goat cheese. Pour into baking dish. Bake, uncovered, in a 350 oven about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Serves 8-10
Spinach and Cheese Frittata
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly squeezed
1 large onion, chopped
3 Tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
8 cups cubed French bread (about ½ pound)
2 cups grated Gruyere cheese
1-cup Parmesan cheese
2-¾ cup milk
9 large eggs
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Sauté onion in butter until soft, 4-5 minutes. Add half of the salt and pepper and nutmeg, cook another minute. Stir in spinach and remove from heat. Spread 1/3 of bread cubes and top with the spinach mixture. Repeat twice. Whisk together eggs, milk and mustard with the rest of the salt and pepper and pour over the top. Refrigerate for 8 hours. When ready to bake let the strata stand at room temp for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Serves 8-10
Chocolate Waffles with Raspberry Sauce
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla. Cool to lukewarm. In large bowl whisk together flour, sugar baking powder, baking soda. In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks and buttermilk. Meanwhile in the small bowl of an electric mixer beat egg whites until stiff. Mix the yolks and buttermilk with the flour mixture. Fold in the whites. Spray the waffle iron with bakers joy and place 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup in the center of the iron. Close the lid and cook about 5 minutes until waffle is cooked through and dark golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve at once with powder sugar and raspberry sauce. Serves 6.
3 cups fresh raspberries
2-tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Puree the raspberries and lemon juice in a blender or food processor. Transfer the berry mixture into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and whisk together until sugar dissolves and mixture thickens. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.
Crème Brule French Toast
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 large baguette
3/4 cup half and half
3/4-cup heavy cream
In a small heavy saucepan melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, until smooth and pour into a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Cut one-inch slices of the baguette and arrange baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt until well combined and pour evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, over night. Preheat oven to 350 and bring bread to room temperature. Bakes uncovered until puffed and edges are pale golden about 35 minutes. Serves 8-10
Zucchini Nut Bread
1-cup vegetable oil
1-cup brown sugar
1-tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1-teaspoon baking powder
1/2-teaspoon baking soda
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 325. Oil 2 5 x 9 loaf pans. In a large bowl, combine the oil and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after every addition. Stir in the vanilla and zucchini. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and soda. Stir the dry ingredients into the oil and the egg mixture until just moistened. Fold in the raisins and walnuts. Spoon batter into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for about one hour, until a knife in the center comes out clean. Serves 8.
Here is a trio of Mother’s Day Cocktail Pitcher recipes to round out your brunch party. (These recipes serve 6-8) The tea recipe can be made without the limoncello and gin for a tasty and refreshing non-alcoholic beverage. I have included a recipe for Berry Ice Cubes to make for pretty pitcher presentations. I also like to use sliced citrus and edible flowers, as well as fun vintage pitchers and mason jars for glasses. Look for special napkins and straws to add a touch of elegance to your beverage station.
Enjoy your friends and family while you celebrate all of the amazing mothers in your life. Cheers!
½ cup honey
½ cup hot water
3 cups freshly brewed green tea, cooled
¾ cup gin
¾ cup Limóncello
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1-cup fresh grapefruit juice
1 cup chilled club soda
6 lemon slices (for garnish)
Mint (if desired)
Stir honey and 1/2 cup hot water in small bowl until honey dissolves. Cool completely. Combine honey water, green tea, gin, Limóncello, lemon juice, and grapefruit juice in large pitcher. Add club soda and stir to blend. Pour in a pitcher full with ice cubes.
17 large lemons, preferably Meyers when in season
Two 750-milliliter bottles grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka
5 cups water
6 cups sugar
Wash and dry the lemons. With a paring knife, remove the ends. With a vegetable peeler, remove only the yellow rind, leaving the pith intact. (Squeeze juice from the lemons and reserve for another use.) Place the lemon peel in a 4-quart Mason jar with a rubber-seal lid. Add the grain alcohol, making sure the lemon peel is completely covered. Store in a cool, dark place, shaking the jar once each day to agitate the lemon peel.
On the 14th day, bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and remove from the heat, stirring until it is dissolved. Cover and let cool to room temperature. Place a colander on top of the saucepan and strain in the contents of the Mason jar. Discard the lemon peel. Stir to combine the liquids, about 1 minute. Transfer back to the Mason jar. Store for 1 month in a cool, dark place, shaking to agitate the liquid twice a day. After 1 month, transfer the Limóncello to smaller bottles that can be sealed with rubber stoppers.
3 large stalks celery from the heart, including leaves, plus extra for serving
36 ounces tomato juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 dashes Tabasco, to taste
2 cups vodka
Cut the celery in large dice, including the leaves, and puree in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until finely minced. In a large pitcher, combine the rest of the ingredients except the vodka. With the food processor running, pour 1/4 of the tomato juice mixture into the food processor through the feed tube. Then pour the contents of the food processor into the pitcher with the remaining tomato juice mixture. Add the vodka and chill. Serve in tall glasses over ice with a stick of celery.
A Pitcher Of Mimosas
1 bottle of Champagne, Cava, Prosecco or sparkling wine
1/2-gallon freshly squeezed orange juice
Cut the orange in half crosswise, and then cut the halves into ¼ thick slices. Pour the entire bottle of Champagne into the pitcher. Pour the chilled orange juice into the pitcher. Stir the mixture thoroughly. Add all the orange slices to the mixture in the pitcher.
3 ice cube trays
Cut up the strawberries into pieces. Put them in to one of the ice cube trays. Fill it with water. Carefully carry it and put it in the freezer. Put one or two blueberries into each of the boxes on the second ice cube tray. Fill it with water. Carefully carry it and put it in the freezer. Put the raspberries into the third ice cube tray. Fill it with water and again carefully carry it and put it in the freezer. Freeze overnight.