By Tina Wasserman
This Mother’s Day I have tried again to find recipes that can easily be made with a child or by a novice cook. I hate going out for dinner on Mother’s Day (or Valentine’s Day for that matter) but I also don’t want to cook so I always think about you, dear reader, and want you to enjoy the fruits of your labor (not to pun) as well. However, I am acutely aware that not everyone still has their mothers, not everyone is a mother and some might not have family around to celebrate with, so I have included recipes this time that can be gifted for yourself or for anyone else when entertaining. So consider this my thank-you note to all of you who are nurturing and giving no matter what your circumstances.
Here’s a simple, but delicious, gift that can easily and quickly be made by a child with simple assistance from a grownup. Place the contents in a jar whose top is draped with a colorful piece of cloth or let the young child decorate the jar with stickers of their choice. You can even find decorative tins that will keep the sugar airtight and decorate the kitchen counter long after gift-giving. Not to be gifted only to moms or grandmas, this is a perfect housewarming or hostess gift as well.
- 2 cups fine granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons dried rose petals or lavender
1. Place the sugar in a 1-quart bowl.
2. Add the dried flower of your choice to the sugar and rub the petals into the sugar for a minute.
3. Store in a freezer ziplock bag until you find the container of your choice and transfer to the airtight container of your choice.
4. Allow the flowers to scent the sugar for 4 or more days before using.
5. Use sprinkled over cereal, in tea or coffee or as a substitute in your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Sifting out the flower petals is your choice!
Makes 4 4-ounce jars or 2 8-ounce tins
• The finer the sugar (Domino, C&H or Imperial) the more the essence of the flower will disperse evenly.
• Some store brand sugars are actually the sugars listed above. However, it is my experience that the organic sugars from Trader Joe’s and CM are a little too coarse for my liking.
• Although I have tried to dehydrate aromatic roses and lavender from my garden, I suggest you try a reputable spice or Middle Eastern store.
• Never buy rose petals that are yellow and thorny-looking. You will spend too much time discarding the bad, flavorless petals and probably stick your fingers too many times (DEFINITELY NOT for children).
• If all else fails, think of adding lemon zest, cardamom or a combination of cinnamon and instant espresso to your sugar.
Strawberries are past their prime in Israel and coming into season in June and July. However, in Texas, local strawberries should be coming in now so look for some red, juicy berries to make this dessert. Biscuits can be made in advance as well as the macerated strawberries, and canned whipped cream can be an easy fill-in especially if young hands are responsible for making the dessert.
- 2 hardboiled egg yolks (see Tidbits)
- 11/3 cups all-purpose flour or 1½ cups if omitting semolina flour below
- 3 tablespoons semolina flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ of a stick of unsalted butter, cold
- 2/3 cup half-and-half
- ½ teaspoon vanilla, optional
- 1 or more tablespoons of cream
- Coarse or granulated decorative sugar for tops of biscuits
- 1 recipe for strawberries (below)
- 1 can sweetened pre-whipped cream or homemade whipped cream
1. Place the first 6 dry ingredients into a processor work bowl and pulse 5 times to break down yolks and combine the ingredients.
2. Working quickly, cut the butter into 6 slices and then cut each slice into halves.
3. Add butter to the work bowl and then quickly pulse the machine on and off 15 times or until butter looks like the size of a small pea.
4. Pulse the machine while you add the cream. Do not work the dough too much. It should look like little pebbles barely holding together.
5. Lightly flour your counter or a board and dump the dough onto the surface.
6. Lightly press the dough together into a block and then fold the edge over itself for 3 or 4 times to just hold together.
7. Either gently pat the dough into a ¾-inch-thick brick and then cut out 3-inch circles of dough or use a ¼ cup measuring cup or scoop to scoop up mounds of the dough. Either way, place shaped dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
8. Cover with plastic wrap and place in freezer for 10 minutes or as long as it takes to preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
9. When ready to bake, brush the tops of the biscuits with the remaining cream and sprinkle with the coarse or granulated sugar (plain or colorful — kids’ choice!).
10. Bake for 22-25 minutes in a convection oven or a little longer until biscuits are golden brown. Cool completely if not serving right away and store in an airtight container.
11. Meanwhile, make the strawberry filling.
- ½ pound strawberries
- 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- Finely grated zest from ¼ lemon
- Pinch of salt
1. Cut the stem end off each strawberry and then cut the strawberries lengthwise into halves or quarters. Place in a 2-quart bowl.
2. Add all of the remaining ingredients, stir or cover and lightly shake the bowl to combine. Refrigerate until ready to use.
1. Cut each biscuit in half horizontally. Spoon some strawberries onto the bottom half.
2. Top berries with enough whipped cream as you can stand!
3. Place top half on top and, if you like, drizzle any juices from the bowl around the shortcakes.
Serves 4 or more depending on size of your biscuit cutter
• Gluten is necessary for the structure of your cookie or biscuit, but too much will make your biscuit hard and dense. Adding cooked egg yolks to pastries interrupts the development of strong strands of gluten which make your pastry tough and the result is a light, buttery dessert.
• Rather than cook eggs when I need the cooked egg yolk, I keep a small supply of purchased hardcooked eggs in my refrigerator, use the yolk and munch on the good protein egg white for a snack!
• Most recipes use heavy cream, which would make these biscuits even richer. However, I use lactose-free half-and-half to cut down on the lactose.
• You can use canned coconut milk and refined coconut oil if you want to make this dish pareve. Just use a nondairy whipped topping and you are all set.
• The coconut milk might make your biscuits a little heavier, but the coconut flavor will balance with the strawberries.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Since strawberries are on my mind, I thought I would share with you an oldie but a goodie, a recipe that can augment a delicious meal made for Mom or everyone to celebrate the day. Mom is not supposed to cook so this can be made, again, with the help of children to accompany anything from grilled burgers to rack of lamb to Chilean sea bass. So enjoy and don’t try to go out for Mother’s Day if you don’t want to. Menus are limited, prices are higher and it’s too noisy to carry on a conversation — although some of you might find that agreeable! Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
- 1 10-ounce package fresh baby spinach or a combination with arugula
- 1 pint strawberries
- 1 teaspoon minced onion
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 heaping tablespoons toasted sliced or slivered almonds
- 1-2 cups croutons, garlic-flavored preferred
1. Rinse spinach leaves, pat dry and remove all large stems if not using baby spinach. Tear into small pieces. Place in a large serving bowl covered with a damp paper towel. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
2. Rinse strawberries and remove stems. Slice berries lengthwise into halves or quarters if very large. Place in a small bowl and set aside in the refrigerator.
3. Combine the remaining ingredients (except the croutons) in a tightly lidded 8-ounce jar. Shake the mixture vigorously until the dressing is emulsified. Refrigerate until ready to use.
4. When ready to serve, combine the strawberries with the spinach, nuts and croutons.
5. Heat the salad dressing without the lid in the microwave for 45 seconds, pour the hot dressing over the salad and toss. Serve immediately.
• Using baby spinach makes the salad more delicate but large leaves of spinach destemmed and broken into small pieces are acceptable.
• You could use kale but only baby kale because the hot dressing won’t wilt the larger, coarser leaves.
• During peach or blueberry season, this recipe will taste just as good!