A Perfect Excuse for Brunch!
Brunch always is fun, no matter the occasion, but, for Mother’s Day, it’s a great opportunity to show Mom how much she is loved and appreciated. Neither the food nor the service need to be elaborate. Moms will appreciate the effort just as much as the food. Brunch foods can cover a wide variety of dishes, so make sure that it is something your mom likes.
Give her something to sip on while the meal is being prepared. You can add a surprise, such as ground cinnamon to the coffee grounds before brewing, a new flavored creamer, or even melted ice cream. Add a little fizz to apple, orange or pineapple juices with ginger ale or club soda. Sparkling cider and grape juices are good, too, especially if you add frozen berries to keep them cold.
Fruit can be prepared in a variety of ways, and it offers a balance to heavy dishes. Cut different types of fruit into chunks (apples, peaches, strawberries, etc.), then combine and drizzle with a mixture of honey and lime juice. Fruit also can be cooked to top pancakes, waffles or other dishes.
Pass the Syrup
Prepare pancakes and substitute the water in the recipe with coffee creamer, fruit juice, light-colored soda or eggnog to add extra flavor to your batter. Canned pumpkin puree can substitute for the oil. To be really extravagant, substitute dry cake mix for the flour.
The trick to a successful and easy French toast is to use old bread; sourdough and challah work the best. Simply whisk one egg per two pieces of bread, with a dash of salt, a ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a ¼ cup of milk and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Dredge both sides of the bread in the egg mixture, and place on a hot skillet, with either canola oil or melted butter. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, then flip and repeat. Serve with powdered sugar, syrup, fresh fruit and whipped cream.
Time to Make the Doughnuts
Canned biscuits can be used as a shortcut to making doughnuts. Simply cut a hole in the middle of each biscuit. Spray with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Once all the biscuits have holes, lay on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for approximately 10 seconds, then stretch them out while they are still pliable. Cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet with canola oil and heat over medium until bubbles appear. Place the doughnuts in the oil, and turn as soon as you see golden brown at the bottoms (less than 1 minute). Cook briefly on the back side, then remove and lay on paper towels to drain. Once they have drained, dredge them in equal parts sugar and ground cinnamon.
Breakfast casseroles usually involve grits or hash browns, eggs, meat and cheese. An option that has fewer carbs is a cheesy sausage pie. Cook 1 pound of breakfast sausage. A small chopped onion, or even a diced bell pepper, or jalapenos, can be added to the meat while cooking. When the sausage is brown, drain and place it in a pie plate that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the top with one cup of shredded cheddar cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk two eggs with one cup of milk, a ½ teaspoon of salt and black pepper, along with a ½ cup of flour. Pour over the sausage mixture, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until the eggs are set. Serve with fruit, and you’ve got a fancy breakfast!
No matter what you have planned for Mother’s Day, Mom will appreciate that you made an effort for her. Cleaning the kitchen and washing up afterward goes a long way, too. Happy cooking, everyone!
– Tiffany Hughes is an Acworth resident and works for the Booth Western Art Museum. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dutch Baby (Oven Pancake)
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
Put the butter in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish or a 12-inch cast iron skillet, then place in the oven and heat to 400 degrees. When the butter is melted, remove the dish from the oven.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into the prepared dish, then return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes uncovered. The pancake will rise on the sides, then fall again. Dust with powdered sugar, or serve with your favorite syrup or fruit!
Caramelized Peach Sauce
• 4-5 peaches, peeled and sliced
• 4 tablespoons butter, divided
• ½ cup dark brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• ¼ cup heavy cream
In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat, then add the peaches. Cook until they soften. Add the remaining butter, and cook until melted, then stir in the brown sugar. When the sugar has melted, add vanilla and cream, and mix until well blended. Cook approximately 5 minutes, or until the sauce has started to caramelize. Serve over pancakes, waffles or French toast.
NOTE: Bananas or apples can be used instead of peaches.
Chocolate Banana Bread
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• ½ stick butter, softened
• 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
• 2 eggs
• ⅓ cup plain lowfat yogurt
Optional: ½ cup peanut butter chips, ½ cup chopped nuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer on medium speed until there are no lumps (about 1 minute). Add the bananas, egg and yogurt, and mix until well blended. Next, add the flour mixture, and beat until just moist. Stir in the nuts, peanut butter chips, etc., with a spoon.
Pour the batter into two medium loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then remove from the pan, and finish cooling the bread completely on the wire rack. Store leftovers in the fridge.
NOTE: Unsweetened applesauce can be substituted for the yogurt.