Mothers Day is Sunday, May 14, so if you are planning to cook Mom a meal, you have endless choices and a few of them are presented here. Any time I have gone out for a Mother’s Day meal, it has been difficult, especially if there are no reservations. Some restaurants have a pretty good brunch event, so that is one consideration. I may be all alone in my preference to stay home, but I am fine with it, as long as someone else tackles the dish washing chores. To me, that is a great gift. I enjoy cooking but I can’t say I like washing stacks of dishes and pots. It is nice to have options, especially for holiday meals and celebrations.
Baked apple roses
1 large red apple, cored and very thinly sliced
1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting ramekins
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup melted butter
2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar, optional
1. Preheat oven to 400. Butter 2 small ramekins (6 to 8 ounce) and dust with granulated sugar.
2. Place apple slices on a plate, overlapping slightly if you need to. Microwave on High about 45 seconds just until slices have softened a bit. Cover plate with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.
3. In a small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon. Roll puff pastry sheet to less than 1/8-inch thickness. Using a pizza cutter, cut two 3-inch by 12-inch rectangles. Reserve remaining pieces for another use.
4. Spread melted butter over dough; top with a generous amount of cinnamon-sugar. Place apple slices along 1 long edge of dough, about 1/4 inch beyond edge of dough, overlapping slices slightly. Fold bottom half of dough over the apple slices to form a long folder of dough with rounded edges of apple slices exposed.
5. Beat egg and water together in a bowl. Paint surface of dough with egg wash. Sprinkle with more cinnamon-sugar, to taste.
6. Starting from one end, roll dough not too tightly to form a rose-shaped pastry. Seal roll with end of dough strip.
7. Transfer roses to prepared ramekins. Sprinkle with a little more cinnamon-sugar. Place ramekins directly on middle rack of preheated oven.
8. Bake until well browned, about 45 minutes. Remove ramekins with tongs and place on baking sheet to cool 5 to 10 minutes. Remove apple roses from ramekins and finish cooling on rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Notes: If you don’t have a microwave, just saute the apple slices in a little bit of butter over medium heat for about half a minute per side, or until flexible but not soft. If you use a metal muffin pan instead of a ramekin, reduce the heat to 375 degrees, and cook about 45 minutes, or until the pastry is well browned. Makes 2 servings.
Fresh strawberry upside-down cake
2 cups crushed fresh strawberries
1 package (6-oz.) strawberry flavored gelatin
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1 package (18-oz.) yellow cake mix, batter prepared as directed on package
1. Preheat oven to 350. Spread crushed strawberries on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Evenly sprinkle strawberries with the dry gelatin powder, and top with mini marshmallows.
2. Prepare the cake mix as directed on the package, and pour on top of the marshmallows. Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the pan to loosen the sides, and turn the cake out onto a serving tray. Store cake in the refrigerator. Makes 12 servings.
Chicken, asparagus and mushroom skillet
After the chicken browns, you may want to add more lemon juice and wine, for a total of about 3 tablespoons of each. This is a good dish to serve over hot cooked rice.
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons white wine
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, sliced
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high; stir the parsley, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, lemon juice, and wine into the butter mixture. Add the chicken; cook and stir until the chicken is browned, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 10 more minutes.
2. Add the asparagus; cook and stir until the asparagus is bright green and just starting to become tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook an additional 3 minutes to let the mushrooms release their juice. Serve hot. Makes 2 servings.
1 pound seedless green grapes
1 pound seedless red grapes
1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 jar (7-oz.) marshmallow creme
1 package (6-oz.) slivered almonds
1. Wash grapes in a colander under running water, and remove all stems. Place in a large bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, stir together the cream cheese and marshmallow creme until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the grapes. Using a rubber spatula or large serving spoon, fold the mixture into the grapes until well coated. Fold in the almonds.
3. Salad may be served immediately, or covered and refrigerated for 1 hour to set slightly, and to allow flavors to blend. Makes 8 servings.