Friday 7 May, 2010

Mother’s Day

This Sunday marks Mother’s Day, a holiday to celebrate moms and all they do for their families.  Mother’s Day started in 1858 when Anna Reeves Jarvis campaigned for a Mothers’ Work Day.  Jarvis wanted to improve the sanitation and health conditions in West Virginia, and she worked with a group of women to raise money for medicine, take care of household chores for women with tuberculosis and inspect food and milk.  In 1905 Jarvis passed away, but her daughter, also named Anna, took over her campaign.  Finally, in 1914 Mother’s Day became recognized as a national holiday. 

Mother’s Day is a time for dads, uncles and grandfathers to round up the kids and to treat the women they love to a relaxing day.  How about bringing her breakfast in bed?  Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Strawberry and Banana Stuffed French Toast
Makes 8 slices

1 loaf of French bread, approximately 12 inches
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup chopped strawberries
¼ cup chopped banana
2 tablespoons strawberry jam
6 eggs, lightly beaten
¾ cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Strawberry sauce (see accompanying recipe)

Cut French bread into eight 1½ -inch slices. Make a pocket in each slice by cutting through the top crust of the bread, almost to the bottom, with a serrated knife. Make sure the bread slices are still intact on the bottom.

Combine cream cheese, strawberries, banana and jam in a small bowl to make the filling.

Place a large tablespoon of the filling into each pocket, pressing back together, but be careful to not squish bread.

Beat eggs and milk in a wide, shallow bowl. Add the bread and let it stand to coat the bread for a minute, then turn and coat the other side.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over low-medium heat. Add as many bread slices as will fit comfortably. Cook until lightly brown. Turn and cook the other side. Remove and place on a platter and cover with foil. Repeat with the remaining butter and bread slices. Serve with Strawberry Sauce.

Strawberry Sauce
Makes 1½ cups

1 pint strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon strawberry jam

Combine strawberries, sugar and strawberry jam in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until the strawberries are puréed.

 (From Janet Burgess of Culinary Adventures Cooking School)

Homemade Granola
Makes about 4½ cups

2 cups rolled oats, such as Quaker Oats
2½ teaspoons whole-wheat flour
3 teaspoons nonfat dry milk
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup chopped almonds
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 tablespoons pineapple juice
1¾ tablespoons honey
⅓ cup dried currants
⅓ cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix the first 10 ingredients (oats to orange zest) together — don’t be afraid to use your hands! In a separate bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice and honey. Stir mixture into dry ingredients until well combined.

Evenly spread granola mixture onto a large baking sheet with rim and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 6 to 8 minutes to keep the browning process even. Remove from oven and allow to cool until just slightly warm.

Stir in the dried currants and golden raisins until evenly distributed. Store granola in a sealed, airtight container in a cool, dry place, such as a cupboard, until ready to use. Granola can be stored for up to two weeks.

Chef’s tip: This recipe is user-friendly and fun for all ages, can be made ahead and makes a great snack on its own.

(From Pastry Chef Melissa Logan, The Grand Del Mar)