The chance to formally honor our Mothers comes once a year, and often times, we try so hard to show them that we care, losing sight of what really matters. Why not forgo the reservations this year? Restaurants are expensive, often serving too much food, surrounded by too much noise and lackluster service. More often than not, Mom would prefer to spend some quality time at home enjoying a meal prepared by her daughter(s). After all, cooking is an act of love.
You needn’t be a chef to prepare some of my easy and appetizing meals, which require minimum preparation and cooking time. The most important part of your day should not be fussing over an oven, but spending time with Mom at the table relaxing, talking and laughing.
The following recipes are some of my favorite, as they are so manageable to prepare and bien sûr, delicious.
Salmon à l’Unilatéral, served with a side dish of steamed asparagus or Spring Peas with Pearl Onions can be prepared in only twenty minutes! Serve this meal with a glass of pinot noir or a sparkling wine for a bubbly feast.
If you have a few more minutes to devote to the kitchen, Chicken au Champagne is ready in about 30 minutes. This dish will pair beautifully with Brown Rice with Peas. The leftover cooking champagne will make a perfect accompaniment to this meal.
And what would a French spread be without a little dessert to sweeten the occasion? I suggest capitalizing on the fruits of the season with my Petits LU à la Fraise recipe.
A nice (and inexpensive) table can be set with just the right little vase and a couple of flowers, to create a lovely spread. Your Mother will remember and cherish the little effort for a long time.
As for me, every Mother’s Day, I prepare Spaghetti Alle Vongole for my mother-in-law. I think I may have been Italian in my previous life! Edward’s mother always requests this dish and it delights me to oblige her with this delizioso meal:
Spaghetti Alle Vongole
1 pound dry spaghetti
2 pounds clams
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Yield: 4 servings
Begin by rinsing clams to remove debris.
Cook the pasta according to the directions.
While the pasta is cooking, combine white wine, a few cloves of garlic and some fresh parsley leaves in a large pot. Add the clams and cook until the shells open. This will only take a few minutes.
When the clams have opened, remove with a strainer and put aside. Run the remaining juice left in the pot through a cheesecloth lined sieve to remove any sand. Repeat if necessary.
Remove the clams from the shells (depending on the size of the clams, chop if desired) . Discard shells.
In a saucepan combine strained wine with clams. Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat to keep the sauce warm. In a separate saucepan, heat 1/2 cup of olive oil and the last clove of garlic until slightly browned.
Pour cooked pasta into a warmed bowl, add clams & wine mixture, then the garlic infused olive oil. Add a salt and freshly ground pepper to taste and a generous handful of fresh parsley to the top before serving.
Note: The key to serving this dish is in the final touches. Make sure your pasta dish is warmed and be sure to add lots of parsley for color, texture and taste.