Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother’s Day is on Sunday. Have you thought about what you’d like to do for your mom, or your friends who are mothers? My favorite, fool-proof gift for those who are close to home is a meal. Mother’s Day is synonimous with brunch to me (and most restaurants). My favorite brunch to make is Chicken and Wild Mushroom Crepes with a Brandy Creme Sauce. Two salads accompany the crepe -  Citrus Marinated Red Pepper, Heart of Palm and Artichoke Heart Salad and Orzo, English Cucumber, Grape Tomatoes and Feta Salad. The perfect dessert is a light parfait with fresh strawberries and bananas with Cointreau cream and chocolate shavings.

This is one of those meals that is sure to please. It will make you an instant gourmand with all of its big, fresh, bright flavors and colorful presentations. Your mom will wonder how she got it so good and where did you learn to COOK like this?! But don’t thank me, thank your mom.
It’s her day!

Chicken and Wild Mushroom Crepes

Ingredients:
Filling:
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups of chicken broth
1 1/4 cups of whole milk
1/4 cup of chopped shallot
1/2 cup of chopped shitake mushrooms
2 cups of finely chopped cook chicken
3 tablespoons of Brandy or to taste
1 stalk of Thyme

Herb Crepes:
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cups of milk
1 large egg yolk
1 whole large egg
4 tablespoons of melted unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of minced chives

Topping:
1 large egg yolk
5 tablespoons of chilled heavy cream
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted

Special Equipment:
2 Heavy bottomed skillets
Non-Stick Pan to make crepes in
Microplane to grate nutmeg
Fine mesh sieve or sifter

Preparation:
Filling:

  1. Using a heavy bottomed saucepan melt 5 tablespoon of unsalted butter, when foam subsides, whisk in flour and cook until pale golden. Gradually add milk and chicken broth, whisking and bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is silky and thick, reserve ½ cup sauce for topping.
  2. In another skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and add chopped shallot and cook until they are soft. Add mushrooms and cook until they are lightly brown. Add cooked mushrooms and shallots to sauce, stir in cooked chicken, Brandy and add a stalk of thyme.

Herb Crepes:

  1. For the crêpes, sift flour into a large bowl, add salt, nutmeg and stir together, create a well in the flour. In a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, egg yolk and gradually pour mixture into the well of the flour mixture. Whisk in 1tablespoon of melted butter and then mix in minced chives.
  2. Using a non-stick skillet, brushed lightly with melted butter, spoon in ¼ cup of batter, tilt skillet to coat bottom. Cook for 10 to 15 seconds until the edges begin to brown.  Using a spatula, run it around the edges of the crepe then GENTLY lift crêpe with spatula and flip. Cook until crêpe is cook through (another 10-15 seconds). Turn the crepe out onto a plate. Repeat until you have your desired amount of crêpes, brushing skillet with melted butter as needed and stacking crêpes on a plate, placing a sheet of paper towel between each crêpe.
  3. Spread ¼ cup of filling into the centre of each crepe and roll into a cylinder. Line a baking dish with the rolled crepes, seam side down. Bake for 15 minutes.

Topping:

  1. For the topping, stir together yolk, 2 tablespoons of cream and reserved sauce until smooth. Whip remaining 3 tablespoons of cream until it holds soft peaks, and then fold in to yolk mixture.
  2. Spoon topping over crêpes and broil 5 to 6 inched from heat until lightly browned.
  3. Plate crepes, serve and enjoy!Yield: 8

Citrus Marinated Bell Peppers, Hearts of Palm and Artichoke Heart Salad

Ingredients:

Marinade:
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 garlic clove; minced
Salt and freshly ground pink peppercorns
1 cup hearts of palm; fresh or canned, drained and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 cup red bell peppers, sliced
1 cup artichoke hearts, canned or fresh, quartered
4 cups mixed greens
1 tablespoon chives; chopped
2 tablespoon diced red onion

Preparation:
In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and mix until smooth.

Add the hearts of palm, bell peppers and artichoke hearts and toss to combine.

Marinate for 1 hour.

Be sure that all vegetables are submerged under the marinade.

Drain the vegetables, reserving the marinade.

In a large bowl, toss the greens with enough marinade to coat, and arrange on salad plates.

Top with the marinated vegetables, drizzle with more marinade, and sprinkle with the chives and red onion.

Yields: 4 servings


Greek Orzo Salad

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
½ English cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

In large bowl combine pasta, tomato, cucumber, feta, olives, parsley, lemon juice, oregano and lemon pepper. Toss and chill for 1 hour in refrigerator.

Yields 6 servings


Strawberry and Banana Parfait with Cointreau Cream

Ingredients:
1 pint fresh ripe strawberries
2 large ripe bananas
Cointreau to taste 1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1 vanilla bean pod, scraped
1 cup fresh cream for whipping, COLD
1 cup thick Greek-style yogurt, COLD
1 milk chocolate candy bar, COLD

Special Equipment:
Super cold mixing bowl and whisk or hand mixer
Cold parfait glasses or high balls
Grater

Preparation:

Wash and dry the strawberries, then hull them. Cut in half or cut into thick slices. Place strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of Cointreau. Dust with sugar and chill for an hour or two.

Making sure the cream, yogurt, mixing bowl and whisk are all cold from the refrigerator, whip the cream lightly, fold in the yogurt with the vanilla bean scraping, powdered sugar and 2 Tbsps of Cointreau until soft peaks form and chill.

When you are ready to serve, slice bananas and layer in glasses, adding cream, then strawberries and repeating until glass is full ending with cream.  Shave milk chocolate over the top then serve.

Serves 4 to 6

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