Years ago, treating Mom at a restaurant on Mother’s Day was a way to get her out of the kitchen. We’d get dressed up in our Easter clothes and sip Shirley Temples while Mom ordered her baked stuffed shrimp or prime rib.
But now that the novelty of restaurant dining has gone the way of French tableside service, what would please Mom more than a home-cooked meal prepared by her family?
I wish I could tell you my mother lounges by the pool sipping a mojito on Mother’s Day while I take charge of the meal, but it’s not in her DNA. So I prepare most of the meal in my own kitchen (read: where I am in control) before the family converges on her house for Sunday lunch.
Here’s a suggested Mother’s Day menu that you can begin to prepare the day before you fete Mom. Finish off with a bakery-bought angel cake with sliced strawberries – or any dessert your brother can manage!
Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with Garlic Croutons*
Marinated Flank Steak*
Orzo with Dried Cherries and Almonds*
Roasted or Grilled Asparagus
Warm rolls or French baguette
For libations, start off the lunch with a festive sparkling rose wine with the gazpacho and move into domestic Cabernet Sauvignon with the entrée. If wine isn’t Mom’s thing, a fruity pitcher of iced tea never fails.
And since I know there are many, many mothers reading this post, feel free to forward this menu to the kids…
YELLOW TOMATO GAZPACHO WITH GARLIC CROUTONS
3-1/2 lb. yellow tomatoes, cored and halved crosswise
¼ c. dry white wine (sauvignon blanc is a good choice)
¼ c. rice wine vinegar
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 medium cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, coarsely chopped
½ c. Vidalia onion, coarsely chopped
½ t. garlic, minced
2 to 3 T. fresh lime juice
1 t. Tabasco sauce
Salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
½ c. sliced green scallions or chopped chives for garnish
Garlic Croutons (recipe follows)
Working over a fine sieve set over a bowl, remove the seeds from the tomatoes. Strain the juices. Pour ½ c. of juices into a small glass measure and add the wine, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce.
Working in batches, puree the tomatoes with the cucumbers, yellow pepper, onion and garlic in a blender until smooth, adding a little of the tomato juice mixture to each batch.
Pass the gazpacho through a fine sieve and season with lime juice, Tabasco, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until chilled.
Garnish with the scallions or chives and serve with the Garlic Croutons.
The gazpacho is best made a day ahead and refrigerated. When ready to serve, mix the soup well.
Olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
16 slices of ¼-inch thick baguette slices
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves cut in half
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet then oil the parchment. Arrange baguette slices on the sheet then lightly oil or spray the bread.
Rub the garlic clove over each side of the bread. Toast in the oven until lightly browned. Usually this takes less than 10 minutes. Flip them over at the halfway point. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
Serve with the Yellow Tomato Gazpacho.
MARINATED FLANK STEAK
2 or 3 flank steaks or London broil (allowing for ½ lb. per person)
1-1/2 c. olive oil
½ c. soy sauce
½ c. honey
5 medium garlic cloves, minced
¼ c. red wine vinegar
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. fresh ginger root, chopped
Trim any excess fat from the steaks. In a large pan, preferably non-metallic, mix all the marinade ingredients. Place steaks in the pan or pans and turn over to fully coat with the marinade. Alternatively, place the steaks and marinade in a jumbo Zip-Lock instead of the pan.
Cover and refrigerate 12 hours. Turn the steaks over at the 6-hour mark.
When it’s time to grill, get a good hot fire going. Shake off the excess marinade and grill the steaks medium-rare (5 or 6 minutes per side) or until the internal temperature reaches 130 to 140 degrees.
Do not baste the meat as this tends to drip into the fire and lower the heat. It also can cause flare-ups because of the oil.
Take the steaks off the grill, let rest for 10 minutes and then carve across the grain on the diagonal.
Serves 8 to 10.
ORZO WITH DRIED CHERRIES AND ALMONDS
2 c. orzo
½ t. crumbled saffron threads
1 t. turmeric
1 T. freshly grated orange peel
4 T. fresh orange juice
Salt to taste
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil (may need as much as ½ c.)
2/3 c. dried cherries
4 T. sliced almonds, toasted
2 small scallions, tender green part only, sliced thin on the diagonal
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add orzo, saffron and turmeric. Boil for 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain and refresh under cold water.
In a small bowl, stir together the orange zest, fresh orange juice and sat to taste. Add the oil in a stream, whisking until the dressing is emulsified.
In a large bowl, toss the orzo, drained well, with the dressing and stir in the cherries, almonds and scallions. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 8 to 10.
* Recipes courtesy of The Foodsmith at lauraraposa.com.