My mother loved Thanksgiving because the family was gathered together. She loved my sister and I working beside her in the kitchen, wrapping sweet potatoes in aluminum foil, shelling walnuts and making turkey chopped liver.
I loved Mother's Day because that was a day to make my mom the recipes she liked. Egg salad with bacon, a dish based on her own modification of her mother's recipe, roasted beet salad, potato salad with grilled vegetables, carrot salad with lemon-black pepper soaked golden raisins, rosemary fried chicken and banana cake with chocolate chips and walnuts.
My mom passed away two weeks shy of her 93rd birthday. She had a good life, filled with ups and downs like any life. My last memory of her was our reading the newspaper together, enjoying a good laugh at the expense of then-President George W. Bush--this was 2006--and she was enjoying a Vietnamese bbq pork banh mi sandwich loaded with lots of pickled carrots and daikon. She was happy. Life was good.
So for everyone who wants some good food on Mother's Day--or any day, for that matter--here are some of my mom's favorite dishes.
Egg Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Crisp Bacon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pour off the hot water, rinse with cold water, let the eggs cool to the touch and peel the shells. Dry the eggs and refrigerate until ready to use.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Use cilantro instead of Italian parsley
In a brown paper bag mix together the flour, sea salt, pepper, rosemary, cayenne (optional), sugar (optional), and onions (optional). Remove one piece of chicken at a time.
- 4 ripe bananas
- 1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sweet butter, room temperature
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2/3 cup half and half
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1/2 cup raw walnuts
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and paint the inside of a 9 x 3 round cake pan, then put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. (The frozen butter prevents the batter from sticking to the pan.) On a cookie sheet bake the walnuts in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes or so; let cool, roughly chop, and set aside.
- 2. In a bowl mash the bananas with a fork, add the baking soda and vanilla. Stir well and set aside. In a mixer use the whisk to cream together the softened butter and both sugars. Add the eggs, mashed bananas, half and half and whisk until blended. Mix in the flour half a cup at a time, being careful not to over-beat. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Use a rubber spatula to blend in the walnuts and chocolate chips. Pour the batter into the buttered cake pan; it will only fill the pan half-way.
- 3. Bake the cake in a 350 oven for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan every 20 minutes so the cake cooks evenly. Test to see if the cake is done by inserting a wooden skewer. If the top is browning too quickly, lightly lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the top. When the skewer comes out clean, take the cake out of the oven and place it on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan, putting it back on the wire rack to finish cooling.
- 4. Just before serving dust the top with powdered sugar and shaved chocolate. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.