Sunday, 13 May 2007

To Mom, With Love...

Posted by Bonita

may13_04

There’s nothing like saying “I Love You” than cooking for my mom. My mom has spent countless years slaving away in the kitchen day in and day out to feed us hungry kids. Not only has she fed us great food, but she’s truly fostered a great love of food within me. So thanks Mom, for being so supportive and loving, and for also instilling a passion for all things edible. Therefore, as my gift to you, you’ll get the day off from cooking today!

may13_03

I started Mother’s Day with brunch, but rather than do our usual pancakes or waffles, I wanted to do something extra special. There was some leftover smoked salmon in the freezer, so I thought it would be perfect to make Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. Rather than serve the eggs on the typical toasted English muffin, I decided to use French baguette instead. I bought the bread a day before from the French bakery down the street so I wouldn’t have to deal with the LONG line-ups that would be anticipated on Mother’s Day morning. The meal was easy enough to put together…it was all about timing though. I made my Hollandaise sauce a bit too early, so that by the time I was reheating it, it had gone a bit runnier than I would have liked. Poaching the eggs was also quite a hectic event for me, but somehow I survived and only wrecked two eggs (yeah!). I served the smoked salmon eggs benedict. Yes, it was a bit of a pain trying to put this all together, but it was all worth it in the end, and it was delicious. The dill in the sauce was definitely a must as it compliments the smoked salmon very nicely (and we all know that dill and salmon are pretty much best friends!). Also served a basket of freshly baked Pineapple Carrot muffins using an old recipe that my mom has been using since I was a little girl. Ah, those muffins certainly brought back memories of my childhood!

may13_01

I opted to make a three-course meal for dinner, which was easy enough considering I had no help in the kitchen today. I made the soup a day before so that it would save me time. All I had to do today was reheat them and serve. It took me a long time to decide what kind of soup I wanted to make, but then I came across a recipe for a duo of Roasted Yellow Pepper & Roasted Tomato Soups at Epicurious, and I knew I had to make this for my mother! It sounded absolutely delicious, and I could picture how beautiful they would look in my mom’s new, white dish set. The soup is really easy; it’s just time consuming because you have to roast your vegetables. But I ended roasting my tomatoes in the oven while simultaneously “roasting” the peppers on the grill outside. All I can say about this soup is that it’s probably my favourite part of the whole meal. It was absolutely delicious, with the sweetness of the pepper soup balancing the acidity of the tomato soup. Delicious, light and healthy! I topped the soup off with some basil cream (plain yogurt mixed with some finely chopped fresh basil) and served it with the leftover baguette from this morning. I just popped it in a 325°F oven for about 10 minutes to reheat it and make the outside crusty again.

may13_05

The only fish I’ve ever dealt with is salmon (well…unless you count canned tuna, but then again, I’ve never actually cooked canned tuna meat before…). I often cook salmon. I don’t have a problem with salmon. So I was definitely entering uncharted territory tonight by opting to cook a fish dish. Fish is delicate, and it can either turn out really nice or it can be a major flop. The original recipe was for a Pistachio-Crusted Halibut with a Spicy Yogurt Sauce. Alas, there was no halibut at the store that I went to the other day, so I substituted haddock for halibut. I also didn’t have any madras pepper, not could I find the red pepper flakes, so I substituted a Sriracha hot chili sauce instead. I didn’t have any problems cooking the fish, since I used a non-stick pan. I was worried for a minute when flipping the fish because it looked like it might flake into pieces on me, but luckily the fish held together. Served the fish alongside rice, stir-fried zucchini and the spicy yogurt sauce. My parents really enjoyed the fish, and said that it was cooked perfectly. Phew!

Strawberries and cream are a classic combination, so I thought it would be great to make a dessert using such a classic combo. And who doesn’t love strawberries and cream? I made a strawberry shortcake. Made the cake last night and wrapped it in plastic wrap so that all I had to do today was assemble the cake. Made a HUGE mess while assembling the cake as I was applying the almonds to the side of the cake, but atleast it made the cake look pretty, despite the fact that it was lopsided. The cake was very good, but I credit the chantilly cream for that. The texture of the cake was a bit too dry in my opinion, so I’ll definitely want to dry a different sponge recipe next time, perhaps one that calls for cream of tartar for a lighter cake base. But otherwise, it was still rather quite tasty.

may13_02

It was certainly a fun day today, cooking for my mom. I had fun in the kitchen, but I’m so exhausted now. And to think…my mom has been cooking for me for the past 20 years!

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