It’s Mother’s Day weekend and what better way to honor the mother in your life than with a home-cooked breakfast. And it doesn’t have to be elaborate and especially fancy to let mom know she is special, say local chefs, moms and home cooks.
This time of year, you can easily find strawberries, blueberries and some early varieties of tree fruit at local farmers markets. There are also several farm fresh egg vendors and local bakeries who sell croissants and pastries.
“The key is to make it simple and fresh,” says Becci Colla, who owns Batter Up Pancakes in Fresno with her husband Jeff. “You can help the kids make great tasting scrambled eggs with a little salt, pepper and cream. You can even make toast look pretty by putting a little bit of jam on a side dish or bowl.
Jeff Colla, an avid cook, is well-known for his omelet, made with gently sauteed vegetables, fluffy eggs and flavor-rich Italian sausage. But Colla says if an omelet seems too daunting, try his fairly simple recipe for French toast made with croissants, topped with sliced strawberries and sweet-tasting devonshire cream.
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The sweetness of the cream, the slight tartness of the berries and the fluffy texture of the bread makes for a great combination of flavors. You can serve the French toast with a side of scrambled eggs and sausage or bacon.
“It not only looks good on the plate, but it tastes really good,” Colla said.
Involving children in the preparation and cooking adds to the specialness of the day, chefs and moms say. Kathy Powers, host of the food show “Hey Kids Let’s Cook,” says one recipe that children can help prepare is crepes.
“I love recipes like crepes because they are so fun and easy to make,” Powers says. “You just measure all the ingredients, place in the mixing bowl, whisk them together, cook, roll with fresh fruit, sprinkle with a little powdered sugar, and it looks like you’ve spent hours preparing them.”
And Powers says don’t stress if the crepes don’t turn out perfectly, as in a round shape or if they tear. Crepes cook quickly in the pan so the shapes can vary at first. They are also tender so they can tear easily while you’re learning to remove them from the pan. If they tear, just roll them up and no one will ever know the difference, she says.
“You can even stack the crepes with fillings in between each one and cut it like a pie,” Powers says.
For those too young to help out in the kitchen, they can pick fresh flowers from the garden, or help juicing oranges for fresh juice. They also can cut strawberries with a safety knife, says Shayna Telesmanic, owner of Young Chefs Academy in Fresno.
Making mom stay in bed, and out of the kitchen while the rest of the family prepares breakfast, is also a good idea.
“The most important thing is that the kitchen is cleaned up afterward so that mom can really enjoy her special breakfast,” Telesmanic says.
Adults with good pancake making skills may want to try a recipe from Chef Catherine Heaney, owner and operator of Char-Cu-Te-Rie in Visalia.
Heaney has adapted a recipe from one of her favorite New York City restaurants: Clinton Street Baking Company.
The trick is the egg yolks and whites are separated initially and incorporated during different stages, giving the pancakes a lighter texture. You add the egg yolks to the initial batter and then incorporate whipped egg whites in to the almost finished product.
“We use a version of their recipe whenever we make pancakes, as they’ve been voted the best in the city for years now and they’re mighty tasty,” Heaney says.
Mother’s Day croissant French toast with Devonshire cream & strawberries
1 basket of strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup of milk (you can use reduced fat milk)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
Beat together egg, milk, salt, desired spices and vanilla. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or skillet over medium-high heat or griddle at 350 degrees. Cut croissant in half. Dunk each slice of croissant in egg mixture. Do not soak. Place in pan or griddle and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden. Place on plate crust side down. With a knife spread a little devonshire cream on each croissant, place strawberries on croissant and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Try warm maple syrup on the side for dipping.
To make cream, place all ingredients in a large bowl and beat until the mixture holds its shape and looks like softly whipped cream. Use right away or cover and refrigerate until serving time.
Italian Style Eggs Benedict
4 slices prosciutto
2 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
¾ stick butter, melted
¼ cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 English muffins, split in half, toasted and buttered
4 thick slices of tomato
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut prosciutto slices in half. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 4 minutes, or until crisp. Set aside.
To make the Hollandaise sauce, place the egg yolks, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice in the bottom of a bowl or blender. Blend until the yolks are pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. With the hand mixer (or blender) going, slowly add (drizzle) the warm melted butter until fully incorporated. Add basil and blend until combined. Season with salt. Keep the sauce warm.
To poach the eggs, fill a large shallow pot with water. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to barely a simmer. Stir in 2 tablespoons of vinegar. Crack an egg into a small dish. Using a wooden spoon, make the water swirl in a circle. Carefully drop the egg in. Poach for 3-4 minutes until the white is set and the yolk is still runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
To assemble, place a tomato slice on top of a toasted and buttered English muffin half. Season with salt and pepper. Top with 2 pieces of crispy prosciutto, then a poached egg. Serve with warm basil Hollandaise sauce. Makes 4 servings.
— Shayna Telesmanic, Young Chefs Academy
Linzer heart French toast
11⁄2 cups skim or low-fat milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
8 slices whole grain sandwich bread
4 tablespoon raspberry jam
1/8 cup powdered sugar
Mix the milk, egg, orange juice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together in a bowl using a whisk. Spray the griddle with cooking spray. With adult supervision: Preheat griddle for 2 minutes on medium-high heat.
Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture. Carefully, place the bread onto the hot griddle. When each slice is golden brown underneath, turn it over and cook the other side. Move to a cutting board and allow to cool.
Cut a heart shape in the center of each of the 8 slices of bread. Dust 4 heart shapes lightly with powdered sugar using a small strainer and spoon. Spread the remaining 4 heart shapes with raspberry jam.
Assemble by placing a powdered sugar slice on top of each slice spread with jam. Serve with syrup if desired.
— Shayna Telesmanic, Young Chefs Academy
Pancakes (Inspired by Clinton Street Baking Company)
6 eggs separated
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
12 tablespoons of butter, melted
Seasonal fruit, chocolate chips, or mom’s favorite treats.
Mix (and ideally sift) together all dry ingredients while gently melting butter on stove top, set butter aside when melted. Using a stand mixer, or by hand, beat egg whites until they reach “soft peaks” or to the point you can lift up whisk and the meringue holds. After allowing butter to cool, quickly beat together egg yolks, milk and melted butter until combined.
Gently incorporate dry ingredients with egg yolk, milk, butter mixture. Do not over mix as this will create gluten: leading to a tougher pancake. Clumps are good!
Gently fold meringue in to pancake batter but try not to over mix. You’ll want to see bits of foam in the finished product.
On a buttered hot (350°F) skillet or griddle, place just enough batter to cover about 50% of the surface area and allow to cook, undisturbed, for about 3 minutes, or until large bubbles form on the surface and the pancake can easily be lifted. Flip and allow to cook for 2 more minutes.
— Catherine Heaney, Char-Cu-Te-Rie
1½ cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups low-fat milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons melted butter
Optional: low-fat ricotta cheese
For fresh fruit fillings try: fresh peaches, raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. For a savory filling try: scrambled eggs and ham, or blanched broccoli and grated cheese.
Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk and vanilla into a large mixing bowl. Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl and give them a quick stir, just breaking up the yolks.
Pour into the large bowl with the rest of the ingredients and using a whisk, whip the batter until smooth. Heat a medium size frying pan, add 1 teaspoon of margarine and heat until bubbly. Add about 1/3cup crepe batter, and turn the pan so the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan.
Cook 30 seconds until lightly browned and using a spatula flip to cook the other side. You can roll, stack, or fold the crepes with fresh fruit.
— Kathy Powers, Hey Kids, Let’s Cook