As far as your favourite Mom is concerned, it’s the thought that counts, so remember to use the best china and silver when you serve her a special breakfast or brunch on Mother’s Day.
A few posies are a good idea as well, but the important thing is that you thought to make her something special to give to her.
In most households much of the everyday cooking is done by Mom, so a special treat on her day is anything you make that gives her a break from that chore.
Simple is good as long as it’s simple with fresh, tasty ingredients, and preferably ones that are local and in season as well.
In fact, one of the simplest vegetables to serve is in season now. Asparagus doesn’t really need much embellishment, so a minute or so in the microwave and presto, a great side dish.
There are lots of main dishes that are pretty easy to make, from a barbecued steak to a roast chicken or ham.
Baked potatoes couldn’t be easier to make and they’re pretty yummy, especially with a sprinkling of fresh chives.
As the 19th Spring Okanagan Wine Festival continues this week, take the opportunity to enjoy some new and different wine pairings; taste some of the wines at a winery near you; or take in one of the many events happening around the valley.
I tasted the 2009 Pinotage from The View Winery in East Kelowna last week, and was really impressed by the smooth berry flavours. It would be a real treat with that barbecued steak for Mom. In fact, they’re offering free wine tastings for Mom May 11 and 12, from 1 to 4 p.m., along with a surprise gift.
If none of these ideas work for you, there are lots of others in my book, Jude’s Kitchen, which is available at the B.C. Wine Museum in the Laurel Building, at most bookstores, and at other wine shops.
I wonder if Mom might enjoy a copy of that for Mom’s Day?
Mom’s Day Salad
I prefer just a few simple ingredients in a salad rather than tossing in everything but the kitchen sink. I like them light on the dressing too. However, your choice of contrasting flavours and textures is important when you’re relying on just a few. Something sweet and something tart, smoothed out with something nutty is a good mix. This is quick and easy to make and tastes terrific. Your mom will love it.
4 c. (1 l) crisp, fresh greens
1/4 English cucumber
1/3 c. (75 ml) feta cheese
1/4 c. (60 ml) Craisins
2 tbsp. (30 ml) sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. (15 ml) good balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
pinch of dry mustard powder
salt and pepper, to taste
Tear fresh salad greens into a serving bowl.
Dice cucumber and feta cheese into the greens. Add dried, sweetened cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds.
To make the dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients and beat well until well mixed.
Drizzle over the salad just before serving.
Pecan Coffee Cake
The use of yogurt keeps the crumb nice and light in this cake, and I find fat-free works just fine, although the finished product may not be as rich. The swirl of sugar, cinnamon and nuts through this makes it very special for Mom. This comes out a nice mellow colour with the use of brown sugar instead of white, but it’s got more flavour.
2 tbsp. (30 ml) melted butter
1/3 c. (75 ml) brown sugar
1 tsp. (5 ml) cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 tbsp. (30 ml) whole wheat flour
1/2 c. (125 ml) butter, softened
3/4 c. (175 ml) brown sugar
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp. (2 ml) baking soda
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
1/2 c. (125 ml) plain yogurt
1/2 c. (125 ml) milk
2 c. (500 ml) flour
1/2 c. (125 ml) brown sugar
1/2 c. (125 ml) chopped pecans
2 tbsp. (30 ml) cinnamon
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch square cake pan.
Prepare the topping by melting the butter in the microwave and dissolving the sugar, cinnamon and salt in it; then adding the flour and mixing well. Set aside and let cool while you make the cake.
In a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the softened butter with the sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder with a couple of turns of the whisk, and in another small bowl, mix the yogurt and milk.
With the mixer running, add the wet and the dry ingredients alternately to the butter and sugar, about a third at a time.
Spread half the batter in the cake pan and sprinkle the brown sugar, then the cinnamon and pecans evenly over top. Dollop the remaining half of the batter on top and spread evenly. Then take a table knife and gently swirl the brown sugar in the middle through the cake batter in the pan without combining it thoroughly, so you’ll end up with a line of swirled sugar, cinnamon and nuts through the cake once it’s baked and sliced.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over it.
Bake about 45 minutes, or until the cake has browned nicely and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes or so before cutting and serving.