Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
Oy vey, it’s Mother’s Day again. Time for the annual “honor your mother” dilemma. Flowers and Candy? Candy and brunch? Brunch and a present? Present and mushy card? Phone call and jewelry? The options (and opportunity to really mess up) are endless. This is where I, as your trusty guide through all things “present” and culinary, can really help you out.
My advice, ah hem…do everything you’ve been promising to do but never got around to AND feed her AND clean up afterwards. Simple, effective advice and guaranteed to make the mom, stepmom, mom-in-law, grandmother or the woman in your life who is like a mother to you weep for joy and rejoice in the knowledge that the “to do” list has been emptied. Presents and meals are all well and good but, trust me on this, showing her you love and honor her by doing what’s important to her means way more than any all-you-can eat buffet or “World’s Best Mom” charm bracelet.
Need suggestions? Clean out the (in no particular order) closet, garage, basement, attic, and throw away or give away all the “stuff” that has been annoying your mom for years or decades. Change the oil, rotate the tires, fix the broken [fill in the blank], weed and till the garden, plant the flowers, wash her car.
In other words, think and do what she has told you she wants, what she doesn’t have time to do or what you know she needs done but can’t do herself.
As for the food aspect of the day, taking mom out of the kitchen is always a good idea. I’m going to give you a couple of absolutely super delicious recipes that even those helpers as young as 4 or 5 can participate in and know that their presence is an integral part of the best present ever.
Blueberry-Stuffed French Toast Casserole (dairy)
Servings: 8 – 12
12 slices bread
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 cups milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
whipped cream (optional)
Cube the bread. Spray bottom of 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish with vegetable spray and place half the bread cubes in the pan.
Cube the cream cheese and put on top of the bread. Distribute blueberries over the cream cheese. Place remaining bread over blueberries. Beat the eggs; add maple syrup and milk. Pour mixture over the bread and cream cheese. Place plastic wrap over the dish and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350. Bake casserole, covered with foil, in the middle of oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 30 minutes or until it is puffed and golden. Let it sit about 10 minutes before slicing and plating.
Sauce: Cook the water, cornstarch, sugar and 1 cup of the blueberries until it thickens. Add remaining 1 cup of blueberries, butter and cinnamon. Pour sauce over the individual portions. Top with whipped cream, if desired.
POTATO, SALMON AND SPINACH CASSEROLE (dairy/fish)
8 large eggs
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided in half
1lb salmon cut into bite size pieces
1 cup sliced leeks, white and green parts only
1 lb shredded potatoes (frozen is ok)
8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 cup grated Pepper Jack or Swiss cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350. Generously grease 9X13 baking pans with 1 1/2 tablespoons butter and spread the shredded potatoes over the bottom. Dot the top with additional 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. Bake for 20 minutes until they start to become golden. Remove from oven. Do not overcook. Let it cool.
In a bowl combine the eggs, cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Whisk and set aside. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add salmon and cook, turning often, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet but don’t clean it out. Add the chopped leeks, season with the remaining butter and salt and cook, stirring constantly for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the leeks to the salmon.
Sprinkle the spinach, leeks, and salmon over potato crust. Season with salt and pepper and then pour the egg mixture over the top. Sprinkle the cheeses over the top of the sausage mixture and return it to the oven. Bake 35 to 45 minutes until the top is golden and puffy. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then serve.
Modified from a Bon Appétit recipe, November 2011.
FAKE BACON BRUNCH STRADA (dairy)
1 bag of frozen hash browns
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 container sour cream
1 diced onion
1 lb cooked fake bacon vegetable substitute, diced
2 cups mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. In a bowl combine the soup and sour cream and set it aside. Spread the hash browns on the bottom of the pan. Spoon the sour cream/mushroom soup mixture over the hash browns. Sprinkle the onions and fake bacon over the top and then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.
Submitted by Amy Rostem of NY, NY.
APPLE LASAGNA (dairy)
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup brown sugar
12 slices French bread or challah
1 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 large can apple pie filling
1 cup granola, with raisins or cranberries
In a bowl combine the sour cream and brown sugar; mix and set aside in the refrigerator. In another bowl mix together the cheese.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 baking pan. Place 6 pieces of French bread or challah on the bottom of the pan. Spread 1/2 of the can of pie filling on top of the bead. Then sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese on top of the apple pie filling, then top with the remaining bread slices. Spread the remaining apple filling over the top of the bread and then sprinkle the top with the granola.
Bake for 25 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and bake and additional 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with the sweetened sour cream.
My files, source unknown.
RAISIN BREAD BAKE (dairy or pareve)
You should make this the night before you want to serve it.
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
12 slices raisin bread
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or whipping cream or non-dairy substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon orange juice concentrate
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
powdered sugar (optional)
sliced strawberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9X13 pan. In a saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir constantly while heating so that the butter melts and the brown sugar combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. In a bowl mix together the eggs, half and half, vanilla, orange juice concentrate and salt. Whisk to combine.
Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. Pour ½ the mixture over the bread. Place the remaining bread into the pan and then pour the remaining egg mixture over the top.
In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, orange juice concentrate and salt until combined well and pour evenly over bread. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cooking. Bake, uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden. Serve with maple syrup or sliced strawberries and powdered sugar.
Modified from epicurean.com.
KID-FRIENDLY CINNAMON ROLLS (dairy or pareve)
Servings: 18 – 20
1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup whipping cream or non-dairy substitute
2/3 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or non-dairy substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
Grease 2 9-inch round cake pans. In a bowl combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped nuts. Roll dough to a rectangle (if you’re working with kids, this can be any shape, as long as they can roll it). Brush the top with the melted butter and then sprinkle the cinnamon nut mixture over the dough.
Starting at the long edge, roll the dough up, jelly roll style, not too tight and then, using a little water; moisten the edges. Place the seam side down and cut the roll into 18 to 20 slices. Place the rolls, cut side down, into the two prepared cake pans. Let rise for about 1 hour at room temperature, until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle the cream over the rolls in the pan and then bake for 25 minutes.
While the rolls are baking, in a bowl combine the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla (add more powdered sugar or milk if you want the frosting thicker or thinner). Drizzle the frosting over the rolls while they’re still warm.
Modified from about.com.
CAKE BOX MUFFINS (dairy)
Servings: 2 dozen
1 yellow or white cake mix
1/2 cup oil
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 Granny Smith apples or 3 Bosc pears, chopped
1/2 to 2/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper cup cake liners. In a bowl, combine the cake mix, oil, cinnamon, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix to combine, 3 to 4 minutes; make sure all the lumps are gone when the mixing is done. Mix the apples and golden raisins in the lemon juice and then add the mixture to the batter. Divide the mixture between the muffin cups.
In another bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and softened butter. Mix to combine and then sprinkle the topping over the top of the muffins. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden on top.
From my files, source unknown.
Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer who was born and raised in the Chicago area. She graduated from Indiana University and the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris. She lectures on various food-related topics across the U.S. and Canada and writes weekly columns for the Chicago Jewish News, kosher.com and the OU Shabbat Shalom Website. She is the author of the Perfectly Pareve Cookbook (Feldheim) and is a contributing writer for the Chicken Soup for the Soul Book Group, Chicago Sun Times, Detroit Free Press and Woman’s World Magazine. You can visit Eileen’s blog by clicking: Cuisine by Eileen.