I have three sisters. Because of this fact, I do know that there is a special bond between Dads and daughters. Conversely, I absolutely know that there is a special bond between Moms and sons, as well. It is no different for me. I’m pretty proud of my Mom, too. She was a loving wife for 63 years; raised five kids, taught elementary gifted and talented kids, and ran the household for years. Dad has since left us, and Mom continues to carry on like a trooper. She is currently in her late 80’s and is still very active with caring for her rescue terrier Sam, bridge clubs, garden club, altar guild, and redecorating/remodeling her home; and she does this undeterred by titanium knees and degenerative arthritis.
Despite working full-time, maintaining a long-distance relationship of 80 miles or so, being a stained-glass/mosaic artist, and a food blogger, I did manage to schedule to be home for Mother’s Day this year and was proud to honor my Mom by doing what we did when we were kids. Essentially, Mom doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to for the entire day, and all the necessary stuff is done for her. So, went last Sunday. For breakfast, I made Mom some French-toasted oatmeal bread, with maple syrup and sliced strawberries and sausage links. I made sure I stayed up with the dishes, took Sam for his walks, got Mom her Sunday paper, and generally tried to stay out of her way. For her dinner:
- Delmonico Tips Stroganoff/Buttered Egg Noodles
- Sweet Potato Casseroles
- Iceberg Wedges with Blue Cheese and slivered almonds
- Cherry Crepes
Delmonico Tips Stroganoff
I took a big Delmonico Rib-Eye steak and trimmed the fat, then cubed the meat, and then cut them diagonally across the cube to make triangular tips. I dredged these in some flour that had been salted and peppered. I browned the tips in butter and olive oil and combined them with 2 Vidalia onions that had been chopped and then caramelized. I sautéed an 8 oz. package of sliced baby portabella mushrooms and tossed these in, too. I then added 1 cup of red wine and a can of beef consommé and stirred it all to combine. I put a cover on it and baked it off in a 350°F oven for about an hour. I took it out and let it sit for about 30 minutes to cool down and then stirred in about a pint of sour cream. It was a wonderful sauce and I spooned it out over some medium egg noodles that had been sauced with melted butter and about 2 teaspoons of poppy seed.
Sweet Potato Casseroles
Mom loves sweet potatoes. And, they’re always on everybody’s Super Foods list. You know; the lists with blueberries and almonds on them. I baked two average sized sweets in a 350°F oven for about an hour and a quarter. You can poke them with a fork to make sure they are done all the way through. I usually slice off the pointy ends and don’t forget to scrub them and poke a few holes in them so steam can escape while they are cooking. Peel the skins off of them when they are cool enough to handle. I lightly mashed the cooked potato and added to them a small drained can of pineapple chunks, about 1 cup of chopped walnuts (not too finely chopped, just run your knife through them to make the pieces chunky), about 3 TBSPS softened butter, about ½ cup of dark brown sugar, and about ¼ cup of dark rum. Everything was stirred to combine and I split it back out amongst two oven-proof personal casseroles. Lastly, they were sprinkled with some grated sharp cheddar cheese and baked for about 30-40 minutes, until the cheese was crispy and crunchy and the potato mixture is heated through. Be careful, these dishes come out of the oven real hot and you want to put some trivets or potholders under them for serving.
I started with a can of cherry pie filling and here I would recommend paying a little more and getting the better quality brand. I opened the can into a small saucepan and added to it a ¼ cup of Chambord Raspberry Liqueur, a ¼ cup of sherry, and the juice of half a lemon. Simmer this filling on low for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning. I then took about ¾ of a cup of sour cream and added about 2 TBSPS of sugar, the juice of half of a lemon, about ¼ cup of Kirshwasser (cherry liqueur); then stirred it all together and set it aside to let the sugar dissolve and the flavors assimilate. (Knowing that crepe batter likes to rest a bit before using, I had the cherries, the sour cream topping, and the crepe batter all prepared and done before the Stroganoff came out of the oven) The crepe batter is pretty simple. I think the key to a good crepe batter is to spend some time with the first step which is combining 2 eggs with a cup of flour. The egg tends to capture some of the flour, creating lumps that will need your attention to stir out. So, I combined my two eggs with a level cup of flour, working out those lumps with a wire whisk. Then I slowly added ½ cup each of water and of milk, adding a little bit at a time and taking some time to incorporate the liquids. You’ll end up with a slightly gummy batter that you finish with a couple of pinches of salt and 2 TBSPS of melted butter. Stir it all one more time and set it aside to rest.
Mom has a cast-iron crepe pan that she has had for over forty years. It was a Christmas gift from her husband and it has a thumb notch at the base of the handle for spreading the batter and is perfectly sized for ¼ cup of batter which is the right amount for one individual crepe. Mom has seasoned the gently sloping sides and bottom of this pan to perfection and it is a wonder to use. However, regardless of whatever pan or skillet that you use (a small non-stick/”Teflon” skillet with sloping sides will work just as well), the temperature that you use under it is important. Too cool and the crepe batter runs and forms weird shaped crepes, too warm and they set too quickly (another shape/form issue) and they tend to burn, too. Patience is a true virtue in making crepes, but well worth the effort. (Always an impressive presentation, too.) Invariably, you will always waste one or two per batch, as well. That’s how you test for the correct temperature. The last thing you will need is a thin bladed, small, spatula. We have a little spreader that works perfect.
So, you heat the pan; wipe it with a paper towel moistened with cooking oil. Pour a ¼ cup of the batter in the center of the pan. Pick up the pan and slowly tilt it in a circular motion to coat the bottom of the pan with the batter to the preferred finished size of about 6-7“across in diameter. Now, the uncooked side of the crepe will show some signs of being ready like bubbling like a pancake; but, you really want to think in terms of time. About a minute and a half on the first side; when the first side is ready, it will be able to be lifted up on the side with the small spatula. When released all around, and lightly browned on the first cooked side, flip the crepe in the pan with the small spatula. It’s elastic dough and will stand up to more punishment than you think. About thirty seconds only are needed on the second side and it will be lightly browned. You can make and fill these individually, or, you can keep them individually separated by clear plastic wrap and they will keep in the freezer for a long time.
I filled each one of Mom’s by spooning a generous serving of the flavored cherry filling onto the bottom quarter of each of two crepes. Fold them in half and then in half again, leaving the cherries in the bottom pocket, and a double layer of crepe on top. Top the crepes with a dollop of the flavored sour cream and serve warm. Enjoy!
And please remember, honor your Mothers every day for the love they have shown you and the sacrifices they have made. I love you, Mom!