Brunch or Lunch? Mother’s Day Weekend Special

It’s going to be a rainy, make that very rainy, Mother’s Day in New England. Sounds like a good day to have a long and leisurely brunch or lunch. I’m getting together with my sister this weekend. We’ll share a few favorite dishes, special memories of Mom and maybe a tear or two.

Here are a few suggestions! Let them eat quiche! A Classic Quiche works for me but maybe you’d like some variation of a cheese and egg pie. You can cook up my Spinach Ricotta Pie, Tarte à l’Oignon (Onion Tart) or Asparagus & Goat Cheese Tart for a bit of a change.

Add a lovely salad. Something simple like a Romaine & Radicchio Caesar Salad or Lemony Kale & Radicchio Salad sounds good. Or something a little fancy like one of my favorite asparagus salads – Asparagus Salad with Reduced Balsamic Vinaigrette or Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado.

Instead of the ever-so-traditional quiche and salad – how about a lovely soup and flatbread? For soup, I’d like to recommend Asparagus Soup (obviously I’m in an asparagus kind of mood) or Soupe de Poisson Provençal! Now you can invite everyone to make their own flatbread or pizzas or take control with my Savory Galette with Spinach, Mushrooms & Manchego.

Now then, time for something sweet? Fresh fruit with a creamy pud sounds pretty good. Try my Fresh Berries with Creamy Lime Custard or Fresh Strawberries with Lavender Infused White Chocolate Crème.

Stay dry and have a lovely weekend. Bon appétit!

How will you celebrate Mothers’ Day? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!

© Susan W. Nye, 2017

Lies &Truths Mothers Tell & Crostini with Cucumber, Radish & Feta

All mothers lie. I’m not sure how it works but I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities. My first theory is that an anti-truth drug is mixed into their prenatal vitamins. The second is that new mothers receive an injection of anti-truth serum just after the baby is born.

I’m leaning towards the second. Ingesting anti-truth stuff during pregnancy could mean that all kids would come out lying. We know that’s not true or at least it’s only partially true. Kids only lie about important things, like if they break something or eat all the cookies and then blame their little brothers.

In honor of Mother’s Day this coming Sunday, I’d like to dispel a few of the lies mothers tell and share one important truth.

There is no hotdog-bun conspiracy. The bakers and butchers did not get together in an effort to make you buy too many hotdogs or dash out at the last minute for more buns. Yes, it is an inexplicable fact that hotdogs come in packages of ten and buns are bundled eight to a bag. Rather than a conspiracy, it’s more likely the opposite. The butchers and bakers never bothered to get together and talk.

Mothers doesn’t have eyes in the back of their heads. At least my mother didn’t. We know because my brother looked for them when he was about four years. It just seems that way. Rather than a second pair of eyes, mothers use all their senses to observe and know their children. How else do they know that the backseat is not just quiet, it’s much too quiet?

Although she was probably tempted a few times, your mother never would have sold you to the ragman. This one was a pretty much an empty threat at my house. You could tell by Mom’s delivery. It usually came when I did something that was more funny than naughty. Mom would rock me in her arms, laugh and ask, “What am I going to do with you? I’ll have to give to the ragman.” She never did. As far as I can figure, all the ragmen have moved on to new employment so today’s children needn’t worry.

One real, honest to goodness lie all mothers tell is, “I’ll think about it.” It might be the only lie they tell. I’m sure you’ve figured it out by now but it’s an effective way to, at least temporarily, avoid conflict. As in, “Can we go for ice cream?” Of course the answer is no. It’s 5:30. Dinner is in an hour. However, “Get in the car and I’ll think about it,” moves the meltdown from the supermarket checkout line to the privacy of the family minivan or SUV.

By the time she pulls into the driveway, your tears have subsided, replaced by that awful cranky face. That’s when she tells you, “Stop scowling, your face will freeze that way.” The truth is, no matter how ornery you get and how much you show it, your face won’t freeze that way. In the meantime, that cranky face is pretty off-putting. You have a beautiful smile and the world would love to see it more often.

My mother lost her long fight with Alzheimer’s disease last December. She won’t be telling me any more lies. A few days before she died, she told me one important truth. As I sat next to her bed, she greeted me with her big, beautiful smile, looked me straight in the eye and said, “I love you.”

Happy Mothers’ Day and bon appétit!

Crostini with Cucumber, Radish & Feta
Although she didn’t really like to cook, my mother was a most appreciative recipe tester. Enjoy!
Serves 8

Grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices baguette or ciabatta bread
6 ounces feta, crumbled
1-2 handfuls arugula
4-5 radishes, thinly sliced
About 1/2 European cucumber, peeled, seeded and finely chopped

Prep the oil in advance: put the lemon zest and juice, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch pepper in a jar or bowl. Shake or whisk to combine. Add the oil and thyme and shake or whisk again. Let the oil sit at room temperature for an hour or more.

Preheat the grill or a grill pan to medium high.

Lightly brush each side of the bread slices with the lemon-olive oil. Place the bread on the grill and, turning once, toast for 1-2 minutes.

To serve: top the still-warm toasts with the feta, radishes, cucumber and arugula. If you like, drizzle with a little lemon-olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

Store extra lemon-olive oil in the refrigerator.

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One Year Ago – Crostini with Fig, Stilton and Walnuts
Two Years Ago – Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Three Years Ago – A Duo of Aiolis
Four Years Ago – Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Mushrooms & Mustard Sauce
Five Years Ago – Crunch Salad with Apples & Grapes
Six Years Ago – Grilled Mustard Pork Chops
Seven Years Ago – Rhubarb Crisp
Eight Years Ago – Spicy Grilled Steak

Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What about you? What lies and truths did your mother tell you? What lies and truths do you tell your children? Feel free to share!

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2017

Mothers’ Day Weekend Special

Happy_Mothers_Day_Mom_Susie_Brenda_Summer

Oops! Looking for a fun and festive menu for
Cinco de Mayo? It’s here! Enjoy!

Will you be cooking for Mom this weekend? Breakfast in bed? A cozy family brunch? A tasty dinner? If you need a little help with the menu, here are a few suggestions:

Mothers’ Day Brunch! How about a delicious Asparagus & Goat Cheese Tart? If Mom’s got a sweet tooth, try my Puffy Apple Pancake. Fill out your brunch with some fresh fruit. The strawberries are looking pretty good so how about Strawberries with Yogurt Cream. A bread basket is always welcome – especially if it’s filled with Lavender Scones and/or Rhubarb Muffins.

And don’t forget the Mimosas!

Mimosas

Orange juice – preferably freshly squeezed and chilled
Champagne or Prosecco, chilled
Grand Marnier (optional)
Garnish: orange slice (optional)

Half fill champagne flutes with champagne or prosecco. Carefully top the glasses with orange juice and 1 tablespoons Grand Marnier. Give a gentle stir, garnish with an orange slice and serve.

Mothers’ Day Dinner! For a beautiful start to her special dinner, Mom will love my Artichoke Crostini. Add a few nuts and Spicy Olives.

Sit down to a healthy salad. Perhaps your mom would like my Lemony Kale & Radicchio Salad or my spring favorite Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Cucumber & Avocado. (Rain is in the forecast but don’t worry. You can grill the asparagus in advance between showers.)

Now, the main course. For cozy, perhaps your mom would like my Lamb Shanks with Mushrooms & Pearl Onions or Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs. Thinking a bit lighter, how about Moroccan Baked Cod ? Serve the lamb or chicken with Whole Grain Pilaf and the fish with Couscous with Dried Fruit and Pine Nuts.

What about dessert? Does your mom have a favorite. Mine loves chocolate. Chocolate Panna Cotta, Double Trouble Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes, it’s all good. Or go wild with my Chocolate-Espresso Cheesecake.

Happy Day Mom and bon appétit!

How will you celebrate Mothers’ Day? I’d love to hear from you! Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? Click here for more seasonal menus! For a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog Click Here!

© Susan W. Nye, 2016

On the Sunny Side of a Desert Island & Lemon-Lime Squares

Mom_Susie_Brenda_SailboatIt’s one of those questions that pops up from time to time. In college, it was asked late at night. Fed up with studying, we’d close our books and mull over a beer and a bowl of popcorn. Today it might get asked over dessert and coffee towards the end of a dinner party. Then and now, it almost always guarantees that no one’s going to bed anytime soon.

Stranded on a desert island, who would you want to have with you? I’m sure that many people would go for one of the hunky carpenters on the do-it-yourself channel. Or a brainy scientist for a flashback to the professor and Gilligan’s Island. Sure I’d be happy to have one or both along but I’d also bring my mom. She would make a great companion on a desert island. Besides with Mothers’ Day on Sunday, I wouldn’t want to spend the day without her.

“Your mother?” You ask incredulously. “Really, your mother?” You ask again. Not wishing to seem rude, you pause, change gear and politely ask, “Does your mom have some kind of special, super hero power?” Well, sort of. My mother’s special power is her undeniable, indefatigable exuberance for life. She won’t go all MacGyver on you but she is the ultimate optimist.

Mom has Alzheimer’s and requires 24×7 care. Last summer, we were forced to realize that it was past time for her to move into assisted living. Our dad was in the hospital, so my sister and I made the arrangements and helped her move. After getting Mom settled in, Brenda and I paused in the parking lot to share a tearful hug. Just because something is inevitable doesn’t mean it won’t make you feel very sad. It somehow made it worse that Mom has always been the one to cheer us up and reassure us that everything would be alright. We hugged again.

If you have ever met my mother, it will not surprise you to learn that Mom has indeed found ways to let us and everyone around her know that everything’s going to be alright. True, her memory has failed her. Language sometimes fails her as well. But her smile never does. Her good heart never does. Her optimism never fails her.

My mother is one of those people who walks on the sunny side of the street. And, whether you want to or not, she’ll gently take your hand and bring you along with her.

So yes, I would bring my mother to that desert island. She doesn’t carry a Swiss Army knife or duct tape. She won’t find a dozen coconuts and some driftwood and turn them into a sturdy, seaworthy raft. Don’t look to Mom’s help when it’s time to build a hut or catch a fish. Or even cook that fish.

Instead, she’ll smile her beautiful smile and tell you that you are the best. Mom knows that she doesn’t need to build anything or catch anything. She has complete and utter confidence in you and your ability to do it.

So watch out, her optimism is infectious. Before you know it, you will be climbing up trees for coconuts and starting fires with two sticks. Plus she’ll have you laughing and singing songs you haven’t thought of in years. Yes, I would want Mom with me. She’d make sure I stayed on the sunny side of the island.

Happy Mothers’ Day Mom and a big hug, kiss and thank you!

Bon appétit!

Lemon-Lime Squares
Mom loves lemons and limes and these tart squares are among her favorites. They’ll make a great dessert after a casual Mothers’ Day lunch. Enjoy!
Makes 24 squareslemon-lime_squares_04

Shortbread Base
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter, cut in small pieces

Lemon-Lime Topping
4 large eggs
3/4 cup 50/50 mix of freshly squeezed lemon and lime juices
1 1/2 cups sugar
Pinch salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking pan.

Make the shortbread base: Put the flour, brown sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the dough begins to come together in small lumps. Put the shortbread dough in the prepared baking pan and press evenly into the pan.

Bake the shortbread at 350 degrees in the middle of the oven until golden, about 20 minutes.

Prepare the topping while the shortbread is baking: Put the eggs, citrus juices, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined. Add the zest and flour and process again until well combined.

Remove the shortbread from the oven and pour the lemon mixture over the hot shortbread. Reduce the temperature to 300 degrees and return the pan to the oven. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the topping has set.

Cool completely in the pan and cut into squares. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the squares before serving.

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One Year Ago – Tarte à l’Oignon (Onion Tart)
Two Years Ago – Honeyed Apricots with Creamy Yogurt
Three Years Ago – Black & White Brownies
Four Years Ago – Rhubarb MuffinsOr Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What’s your mother’s special super power? Feel free to share. Let’s get a conversation going.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook as well as a day in the life photoblog! In addition, I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. © Susan W. Nye, 2013