Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8th! If you’re looking for a way to celebrate Mom sans reservation or packed restaurant, I have a solution for you.
You could avoid the crowds and wow Mom at the same time by making brunch yourself. Show your Mom how much you appreciate everything she’s done for you by taking the time to create a beautiful meal in her honor.
This month, I’m sharing recipes that are delicious, easy to present gorgeously, and not too difficult to make. They do take a little time to make though, so I would recommend getting started the day before.
Caffeine-Free Rooibos Chai Concentrate
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 3 Tbs. rooibos
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 Tbs. cacao nibs
- 1/2 tsp. allspice berry, ground
- 1 anise star
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 c. coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp. cardamom, ground
- 3-4 slices fresh ginger
- Reusable tea bags (optional)
Directions: Bring water to a boil and add in sugar. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds out. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce heat to a simmer and add both the vanilla seeds and the empty pod to the pot, as well as all the other ingredients except the rooibos.
Reusable tea bags, or a little muslin pouch are great to hold your spices and tea. If you don’t have anything that would work for this, you can just strain all the bits out with cheesecloth when you’re done.
Simmer the spices for 20 minutes, then add tea and steep for another 5 minutes. Strain all the spices and tea leaves out and pour into lovely container of choice.
To serve, mix equal parts chai concentrate and milk of choice and heat to desired temperature.
This recipe is perfect for customizing—want a caffeine kick? Use black, green, or white tea! Adjust the spices to your (or your mom’s) preferences. My son and I made this recipe mainly by smell and I encourage you to experiment.
Smörgåstårta (Swedish Sandwich Cake)
Adapted from Saveur
- 1 large or 2 small round or square loaves of bread
- 1 1/2 c. sour cream
- 10-12 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 6-8 oz. hummus, or other sandwich spread of choice
- 1 medium cucumber, sliced
- 2 hard boiled eggs
- 3-4 radishes
- 1 small bunch dill
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, for garnish
- Other garnish suggestions: avocado slices, smoked salmon, shrimp, pickled herring, cherry tomatoes
Directions: This is another great customizable recipe—it’s basically a beautiful stack of sandwiches.
Start by choosing to make either a square or round cake. If you decide to make a round one, slice the top, bottom, and sides off of your round loaves to make them flat on the top and bottom and crustless all around. Then slice horizontally to make three round layers. If making a square cake, lay out slices until your bottom layer is the size youwant.
Now, in a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper if desired.
For myfirst filling layer I combined finely chopped dill with 1/2 cup of the sour cream/cream cheese mixture, but this is where the creativity really starts. A honey mustard layer would be delicious; a more traditional filling is a smoked herring mousse; hummus works well too. Spread the first bread layer with your first filling of choice and top with cucumber slices or other sliced vegetable of choice.
Add another bread layer. Add another (different) filling. A honey mustard and smoked salmon combination works well here, but let your taste guide you. Top with the final bread layer.
“Frost” the top and sides with the cream cheese and sour cream mixture much like you would a cake. I decorated the sides of mine with individual parsley leaves which was beautiful but very time-consuming. You could also just press handfuls of chopped parsley or shredded lettuce into the sides. Garnish the top with all the remaining ingredients plus anything else that suits your fancy. Make it beautiful, colorful, and delicious.
This should be made at least a few hours ahead or the night before serving and allowed to rest in the refrigerator.
Balsamic Strawberries with Ricotta Cream and Black Pepper
- 1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbs. maple syrup
- 1 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 2 Tbs. sugar
- 1 lb. strawberries, sliced according to preference
- 2 pinches ground black pepper
Directions: Blend ricotta, maple syrup, vanilla, and lemon zest in the food processor until smooth.
In a small saucepan combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Allow to cool completely.
Toss the berries with the balsamic syrup and black pepper and serve atop little clouds of ricotta cream.