Monday, May 12, 2008

To Mom, With Love

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and although I'm not a mom myself, it's always a day I enjoy. I like having a day dedicated to doing whatever Mom would like, and I love that when she says "Oh, you decide..." I have the most excellent rebuff of "No, it's Mother's Day, and you're the mom! What do you really want to do?". Thank you Mom, for being understanding, supportive, and a hell of a lot of fun to be around. I love the time we get to spend together, and I'm always thankful for it. 

For Mom this year, we started off the day with Mimosas and Bellinis. What an excellent start it was! We added a bit of Cointreau to the Mimosas and Creme de Peche to the Bellinis. Both brought a lovely little zing and depth of flavor. 
As for actual food, I tried a recipe of Tartelette's, her beautiful Sweet Potato Vidalia Scones. I modified the recipe slightly by using a little extra of the delectable Garnet yams I picked up, sauteing my onions a bit differently, and substituting brown sugar for granulated white. We topped the little lovelies with poached eggs and a sprinkling of chive. They were fantastic; moist, deeply flavored, but still light and incredibly addictive. I think if I had made a triple batch, we would have found a way to eat every last one. 

We couldn't have a family breakfast without bacon, so I picked up a delicious thick-cut applewood smoked variety. It was great, as always, but I've been noodling over making my own lately. I think it would be a fun project, but Mom worries that it would turn out so superior to anything store-bought that we would be then unable to bear anything but homemade, and that I would then turn into the permanent bacon-maker. I personally don't think that sounds like such a bad gig. Isn't it sweet that Mom worries that I would be too good at something? 
"Sweets to the sweet" as they used to say, so of course Mom deserved a dessert. I didn't want to make anything too heavy for so early in the day, so I tried my hand at a Pavlova. It was easier to make than I had anticipated, and turned out remarkably well. Of course, I was a little curious about this dessert that I had not only never made before, I had never eaten, so I was examining it, and although I had read that "pav's" are quite fragile, I somehow neglected to remember that fact, and in the course of my investigation, I broke the meringue. In fact, 'broke' isn't really even the right word. The poor lovely thing shattered. I was shocked that I had been so silly and careless, and then Tim and I found the silver lining to that sad little cloud: now we got to make sure it was good! We picked up shards of the crisp, airy outer crust and used them to scoop up the fluffy, gooey, decadent center. "Dessert-nachos!" we happily proclaimed! Even better, there was some tart homemade raspberry-rhubarb preserve leftover from a Linzer torte experiment earlier in the week. It was wonderful paired with the sweet pav. We enjoyed more than we should have before dinner, and then I got back to business and made a second meringue. I was a bit more careful with this one, especially during the transfer from baking sheet to cake stand, and it traveled to Mom's without incident. Once there, I topped it with fresh sweetened whipped cream, another batch of tart stewed rhubarb, strawberries, and blueberries. 

The pavlova was universally liked. It was fresh and flavorful, sweet enough to feel like you were really being decadent but light and airy enough so that no one felt uncomfortably full. It was just wonderful. This one definitely goes into the dessert repertoire. 

Yam-Vidalia Scones 
adapted from Tartelette

1 small Vidalia onion, diced
1 C all purpose flour
2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1 Tsp packed light brown sugar
1 generous C mashed cooked Garnet Yams
3 Tbs butter, melted, cooled, divided

In a medium skillet, saute the onion with a little butter or nonstick spray. When the onion is just tender, remove one-third and set aside. Allow the remaining two-thirds of the onion to continue sauteing until they become a deep golden brown. Sift the dry ingredients together into a small bowl. Add the brown sugar, being sure to break it up between your fingers as you sprinkle it in.  In a separate container, mix the mashed yam with 1.5 Tbs of the melted butter. Add all of the onions and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the yam mixture and stir just to bring it together. The dough will look floury and you may be tempted to add some liquid, but just turn it out onto a floured surface and mix it a little with your hands. It will quickly come together. Pat the dough out till it reaches 1/2" thick, then use a 2 inch round cutter or just cut into triangles as I did. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining 1.5 Tbs melted butter. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 10 small scones. 

Cocoa Pavlova
adapted from Joy of Baking
 I followed Stephanie Jaworski's recipe and method pretty closely, so I will link to her excellent explanation.  My main change was to omit the chopped chocolate pieces and use 2 Tb of cocoa powder instead of 3 Tb. I really only wanted a cocoa-tinged Pavlova, not a sweet chocolate bomb. It turned out perfectly. 

Happy Mother's Day!


Elaine said...

I just have to say that I really enjoy reading your blog, but not as much as I enjoy eating your cooking. Thanks for such a great Mother's Day.
Elaine a.k.a. Mom

Rach said...

Those scones look and sound delish, and I will be trying them out myself very soon! My mom is a HUGE sweet potato fan.

PS - Your mom's comment is too cute! :)