But when we did celebrate Mother's Day, she wanted to eat at home rather than going to a restaurant. She had a short list of favorite dishes. She loved salads, fried chicken and cake.
Some were variations on classics she taught me to make, like egg salad. Others were recipes I had created that she always enjoyed, like a chocolate chip-banana cake with roasted walnuts.
Even though my mom barely weighed a hundred pounds and was just under five feet tall, she ate more than our teenaged sons. The last day I spent with her, she hungrily ate a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich.
Here are some of the dishes my mom enjoyed.
Egg Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Crisp Bacon
Yield: 4-6 servings
Use cilantro instead of Italian parsley
- 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.