Mother’s Day Brunch
We all want to make our mothers happy, especially on her day, but sometimes the perfect gift escapes us. Flowers, perfume, and an afternoon at the spa have all been done before; so, too, has brunch at a lovely (but crowded) restaurant. This year, surprise her with breakfast in bed. Our menu is Dad-proofed: we’ve kept it simple, both in ingredients and technique. It’s also child-friendly, so invite the little ones into the kitchen to act as sous chefs. And, as a finishing touch, remember to clean up afterwards – nothing ruins a surprise as quickly as a sink full of dirty dishes and eggs stuck to the ceiling.
Quiche is easy, elegant, and adaptable. This version is a taste of what’s great now – asparagus is in season at the Greenmarket and Saxelby Cheesemongers, one of our favorites, is offering the first goat cheeses of spring. If you don’t have asparagus or don’t like goat cheese, substitute ingredients that you prefer.
Yield: 5–6 servings
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Roll out pie dough so it evenly laps over the edge of a 9-inch pie dish. Using a fork, poke several holes in the bottom of the crust. Line crust with parchment paper and place a layer of dried beans on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove parchment and beans and discard. Bake crust another 10 minutes, until it is light golden brown.
Snap stem of asparagus about 1 1/2 inches from bottom, where it naturally breaks. Using this piece as a guide, cut other asparagus to same length.
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil and season with salt. Blanch asparagus for 30 seconds and plunge into ice water. Drain well and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Spread asparagus and goat cheese evenly throughout pie shell.
Beat eggs, milk, and heavy cream in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into pie shell. Place pie onto a baking sheet and put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top of quiche and bake another 15 minutes, until quiche has set. Serve warm.
If you’re in a jam because your fridge is empty but you’re dying for a good breakfast, frittatas are a lifesaver. They only take a few minutes to assemble, so a nice meal can be on the table 15 minutes after you start. If you’re looking for a shortcut, use frozen spinach – just make sure you drain it well before adding it to the eggs.
Yield: 5–6 servings
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and season with salt. Cook spinach for 15 seconds and drain well. Slice spinach.
In a medium bowl, beat eggs and season with salt and pepper.
Add oil to a nonstick, oven-safe sauté pan on medium heat. Add eggs and cook for 2–3 minutes, until they start to set. Add spinach, tomatoes, feta, and rosemary evenly throughout. Place in oven and bake until egg has set but is still soft, about 6–7 minutes.
Children get a kick out of soaking the bread in the egg mixture and dusting powdered sugar over the finished product, so if you’re planning on having a little helper in the kitchen, this might be the dish for you. In this case, beware of the brandy! The alcohol burns off during the cooking process but still flavors the bread.
Yield: 4 servings
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add half and half, brandy, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix well. Dip bread into bowl and place in an even layer onto a baking sheet. Pour remaining mixture on top of bread. Soak 5 minutes, then flip bread and soak another five minutes.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter into a large nonstick sauté pan. When foam has subsided, place 4 slices of bread into pan. Sauté until both sides are a light golden brown, about 1–2 minutes per side. Repeat process with remaining butter and bread.
Place bread onto preheated baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 6–7 minutes. Top with additional unsalted butter, if desired, and serve with maple syrup.
If Mom isn’t much of an eater and typically sticks to coffee for the first half of the day, this is a dish she can leisurely enjoy, with a spoonful of here and there. Or, if you’ve already made eggs and potatoes, this salad makes for a perfect light dessert.
Yield: 3 servings
Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spread coconut evenly on top. Bake until coconut is golden brown but not burnt, about 7–8 minutes. Cool.
Add papaya, mango, and lime juice to a bowl and mix. Add coconut right before serving and toss gently.
If you’re afraid of the kitchen but still want to impress Mom, then this is a good recipe to start with. The measurements do not have to be exact – and the hardest part of the dish is mixing all the ingredients together.
Yield: 6 servings
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Mix oats, almonds, and pecans in a bowl. In a small nonstick saucepan, add oil, honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, and salt. Cook on low until warm through. Toss oat mixture with oil mixture until well combined. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread granola on top. Bake 25 minutes. Allow to cool, then mix in dried fruit. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 1 week.
There’s something luxurious about eating homemade jam, and it tastes even better when someone else makes it just for you. Just be sure to serve it with the best bread and unsalted butter you can find, or the jam won’t shine as bright as it should.
Yield: 4–5 servings
Add strawberries, lemon juice, and sugar to a large, nonstick pan on medium heat. When sugar dissolves, raise heat to medium-high, stirring constantly. Cook until mixture has thickened and strawberries break down, skimming foam off top occasionally, about 25–30 minutes. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Hash browns have a tendency to be greasy, which is great after a long night out but not when you’re treating Mom to a special brunch. This version is lighter but still has plenty of flavor thanks to the bacon and thyme, and they’re just the right thing for sopping up a nicely poached egg.
Yield: 4 servings
Add potatoes to a medium pot and cover with 2 inches of cold water. Add stems of thyme and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 8 minutes, and drain. When potatoes are cool, slice in half lengthwise.
In a large sauté pan on medium-low heat, add butter. When foam subsides, add 1 teaspoon thyme, onion, pepper, garlic, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper. Cover tightly with a lid and turn down heat to low. Stir occasionally. Cook until onions and peppers are soft, about 15 minutes. Add bacon and potatoes and sauté on medium until they are warm through, about 4 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve warm.