Mother's Day Brunch
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th. It’s a day to honor the women in our world who gave us life, raised and nurtured us and hold a very special place in our hearts. A bouquet of flowers, a sentimental card and brunch in an elegant setting are high on the list of gifts for a Mom. Trying to make sure that Mom has a break from all that she does for the family each and every day is one small way to say thank you. If you are thinking of taking a Mom out for brunch, there is something to consider. Those in the restaurant industry will tell you that Mother’s Day rivals Valentine’s Day as one of their busiest. Unless you’ve made a reservation and have a very patient group, you may wind up with a long, hungry, fidgety wait with many other families who want to treat their favorite Moms. I am going to suggest that you skip the lines and have an easy, healthy, delicious and affordable brunch at home! That way, Mom can wear her comfortable shoes, relax in her favorite chair and truly enjoy the day. My menu can easily be prepared by anyone with basic kitchen skills---including a teen, a tween or even a Dad!
Start things off with SPINACH SALAD WITH STRAWBERRIES AND PECANS with a sweet and tangy LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING. The cut strawberries look like little hearts and ware sure to bring a smile. The SPRING FRITTATA WITH LEEKS, ASPARAGUS, MUSHROOMS AND HAM is almost as simple as scrambled eggs, but much more elegant and adaptable to your family’s favorite flavors. Does your Mom have a sweet tooth? Is she always foregoing the cookies and cake in order to eat more healthfully? You will surely surprise and delight her with a unique sweet treat. BEET BROWNIES!
Yes, I said beet! These brownies are moist and chocolatey, and the secret ingredient only adds to the special sweetness.
If you prepare this springtime feast at home, you will not only have a more relaxed Mom, but you may just have saved enough from avoiding the restaurant crowds to gift her with a delicious bottle of wine and the latest novel by her favorite author. A delightful Mother’s Day indeed!
SPRING FRITTATA WITH LEEKS, ASPARAGUS, MUSHROOMS AND HAM
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 leek (white and light green part only), washed well and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 cups asparagus, thinly sliced
½-1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup diced ham
8 large eggs
¾ cup cheese, shredded (Monterey Jack, Cheddar, goat, or your favorite melting cheese)
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to BROIL.
In an oven-safe sauté pan (cast iron or with a handle that can go above 550°), melt the butter with the olive oil and sauté the leeks, garlic, and asparagus over medium high heat for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the diced ham and cook until heated through, about 2-3 more minutes.
Crack 8 eggs into a bowl and whisk until homogenized. Add the cheese, parsley, salt and pepper to the egg mixture. Combine well.
Gently pour the eggs over the asparagus mixture. Cook over medium low heat until the eggs are almost set, approximately 4-5 minutes.
Place the sauté pan on the oven rack set about 4 inches under the broiler. Broil for 2-4 minutes, watching carefully, until the eggs are cooked through and beginning to lightly brown.
Remove from broiler and cool slightly. Using a spatula, carefully slide the frittata from the pan onto a plate or platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.
SPINACH SALAD WITH STRAWBERRIES AND PECANS
10 ounces spinach (4-5 cups)
1 pint strawberries
1 cup chopped pecans
Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing (recipe below)
½ cup alfalfa sprouts
To begin, make Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing. Occasionally shake the jar as you prepare the salad, giving the flavors time to develop.
Wash and dry spinach greens. If using baby spinach, leave whole. If using larger leaf spinach, chop or tear into manageable pieces.
Rinse strawberries and remove green tops. Slice strawberries into ¼ inch wide slices, from stem end to bottom, so they resemble hearts.
Chop pecans into rough chunks.
Assemble salad on chilled plates, arranging strawberries and pecans over spinach leaves. Drizzle Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing over salad and top with a wispy scattering of alfalfa sprouts in the center. Serve immediately.
LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING
Zest of 1 lemon
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Put all ingredients into a jar with a lid. Shake well. Drizzle over salad. Refrigerate remainder.
Recipe Author: Krissy Allori - http://selfproclaimedfoodie.com/beet-brownies/
Yields 16 brownies
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups beet puree (less if preferred) – instructions below
1/2 cup buttermilk (for beet puree) – may substitute any milk
1 cup unbleached flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup dark chocolate chunks
1 cup chopped pecans
TO MAKE BEET PUREE: Wrap whole beets (leaves and stems removed) in aluminum foil and roast in 400° oven for at least an hour until soft to the touch. Allow the beets to cool enough to handle and peel away the skin. Puree beets in a blender or food processor with just enough buttermilk to allow puree to achieve a very smooth consistency. 1 beet yields about ½ cup beet puree. You can use any extra puree in soups, pancake batter, etc.
TO MAKE BROWNIES:
Preheat oven to 325°. Grease or line a metal 8x8x2 baking pan with parchment paper.
Using a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir frequently as it continues to bubble. When there are small brown specs and it smells like nutty caramel, remove pan from heat.
Add sugar, cocoa powder and salt to butter. Combine.
In separate bowl, beat eggs. After butter mixture has cooled in the pan 4-5 minutes, slowly pour in eggs, stirring constantly until well combined.
Add vanilla and beet puree. Stir to combine.
Add flour and baking powder. Stir to combine.
Add chocolate chunks and chopped pecans, stir to combine.
Bake 40-45 minutes in preheated 325° oven or until top no longer looks wet.Cool thoroughly in pan and cut into squares. Enjoy!