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Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day Breakfast

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." ~Washington Irving

Still haven't decided what to do for good 'ole Mom this Sunday? How about making HER breakfast! 

There is nothing better than cooking in the kitchen with your kids whether they are small, teenagers or are grown with families of their own. Don't believe me? Then why is it that at any family gathering, most people congregate in the kitchen, no matter how big or small the space is, with everyone pitching in to help in their own unique way. 

Some of the best memories I have are learning to cook with the women in my family including my own Mom, Step Mom, Aunts, Cousins and can't forget my Grandmothers! It always amazed me how seamlessly they could put a meal on the table (sometimes for 35-40 people) without getting flustered. As I grew older and had children, nieces and nephews of my own, I relish the times we've spent cooking together and teaching them what I have learned so that they will hopefully pass it down to their own families. Children are open to learning anything if you have the patience to teach them. Sure, I've had to clean up MANY messes along the way, but the bonding time spent with them was priceless. 

Don't be afraid! Frittata is just another word for a big omelet. It's the perfect way to make eggs when you have to serve a lot of people; especially on an occasion like this one. There are many ways to make this dish and if you don't like broccoli, feel free to substitute items you and your family may like better (i.e. tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms, peppers, etc). In any frittata recipe however, you cannot use a non-stick frying pan (due the fact that it will go in the oven). When it's done, the eggs are fluffy and you can either scoop them out with a spoon or cut them like you would a pie or cake in wedges; it's completely up to you. I also like to cut down on the cholesterol which is why I use eggs and egg whites, but you can use all whole eggs if you prefer. 

Broccoli and Cheese Frittata (Serves 6)
4 Large Eggs, whisked
4 Egg Whites
1 Cup Broccoli Florets;  cooked and chopped
3 Slices American Cheese, cut in pieces
Kosher Salt and Crushed Black Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large, stainless steel frying pan, generously spray bottom and sides with cooking spray.  Add eggs, egg whites, broccoli, and cheese. Using a spatula, draw the egg mixture away from the sides towards the middle until it is almost set but slightly runny in the center, about 4 minutes. Place the entire pan in the oven and cook through approximately 10-15 minutes or until all liquid has been evaporated and the mixture has 'puffed up'.

*Tip: Remove pan from the oven using a potholder, as the handle will be hot.

This next recipe came from my Canadian heritage. My Great, Great, Great Grandmother was an Iroquois Indian and married an English Soldier while stationed in Canada. After several generations of residing in Canada, my Great Grandmother lived on a farm that produced syrup and created this recipe. It's light, almost like a crepe, but thicker like a pancake. I've also substituted the all-purpose flour for wheat flour and 2% milk for the whole milk if you're looking for a healthier variation. 

Fresh Blueberry Pancakes (Serves 8)
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Cups Milk
1/3 Cup Canola Oil
1 tsp. Vanilla
½ Cup Fresh Blueberries

Mix the first 8 ingredients together in a bowl until smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries. Heat your frying pan or griddle on medium heat. When you sprinkle a few flecks of water on your pan and the water 'dances' or jumps off the pan, then you know the pan is hot enough to cook on.  Spray the pan with cooking spray (or you can use butter) and pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan. Cook for approximately 2 minutes or until the pancake starts to bubble on the top and around the edges. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until it is golden and remove.  

*Tip: Heat your syrup in a pan or in the microwave in a microwave safe carafe or pitcher before pouring over your pancakes!

I had never cooked with Linguica until I met and married my husband, whose father happens to be Portuguese. Linguica is a form of Portuguese cured pork sausage, seasoned with garlic and paprika. When you're looking for a little 'heat' in your food, this will do the trick! However, it's a little difficult to find in the North Jersey area. The BEST Linguica we've found comes from Fall River, MA,  so when we head up there we always remember to bring a cooler to stock up on some to keep in the freezer. (When cooking with Linguica or Chorizo, which is the Spanish version, remember it is only partially cooked during the curing process, so you must cook it before eating it!)

Linguica and Potatoes (Serves 8)
3/4 lb. Linguica, remove casing and chop into 1/4" rounds
8 Russet Potatoes
1/2 Yellow Onion, chopped
1/4 Cup Canola Oil
Kosher Salt, to taste

First, cook your potatoes. This process can be done up to 2 days beforehand.  
In a large pot, add potatoes, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.(If the skins start to peel away from the potato, they are probably done.) Drain the hot water and add cold water to the pot to bring down the temperature of the cooked potatoes. You may need to do this 2-3 times. Once cooled enough that you can handle them, carefully peel away and discard the skin of the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1-2” chunks. 

In a large frying pan, add oil, linguica and onions over medium heat. Saute the until the onions start to become translucent and the linguica starts to get slightly browned. Add potatoes to the mixture and mix together. Cook for approximately 1/2 hour stirring occasionally until potatoes become slightly browned.

*Tip: If you prefer your potatoes a little more browned and well done, you may need to gradually add a little more oil.

Here is a slight twist on the regular Mimosa. I prefer pineapple juice to orange juice and this recipe gives a slight twist to the old favorite. I recommend making this recipe right before you're ready to serve it so that the bubbles don't dissipate. 

Island Mimosa (Serves 8)
3 Cups Chilled Champagne
1 Cup Pineapple Juice
1/2 Cup Cranberry Juice

In a pitcher, add champagne, pineapple and cranberry juices. Using a spoon, gently mix together. (You don't want to over mix and release all of the champagne bubbles). Serve in champagne flutes. 

*Tip:If you want your drink to be more frothy, blend the pineapple and cranberry juice with some ice in a blender before adding the champagne!

Whether you decide to host a gathering of your own, celebrate with your own family or simply remember those special women that are no longer with us, I hope you all enjoy this special day. 


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