A Guide to Mother's Day Brunch
I loved Mother's Day when I was a kid. My Mom's idea of the perfect Mother's Day was heading out to the biggest nursery in Seattle to pick out plants for her garden, and that place was magical. Mom rarely requested brunch for Mother's Day, I think because she knew that with two small children she'd probably still do the bulk of the cooking and cleaning. But now that my sister and I are grown up, and live a few states away from our Mom, I always get a little sad that I can't cook her brunch on that special day.
This year, since I won't be spending Mother's Day with my Mom, I thought I'd share with you what I'd cook if I were. Many of these recipes are favorites of her's, some are recipes I can't wait to introduce to her for the first time. Hopefully they give you some inspiration.
Every year, I like to acknowledge the mothers who have lost children, the mothers who always wanted to be mothers but never were, the children who have lost mothers, and the mothers and children who's relationships are complicated. I know this can be a challenging day for anyone who's experience of motherhood doesn't fit into the exact mold, and my thoughts are with you.
For something different this year, I'd make my Mom the Korean classic Dalgona Coffee. You'll need Espresso Powder, and we carry America's Test Kitchen's favorite brand Civilized Coffee Co. You'll also need a hand or stand mixer or whisk and A LOT of elbow grease.
Dalgona Coffee is usually served over ice. Bodum's Double Walled Canteen glasses will keep Mom's digits from getting too cold while she sips her beautifully whipped coffee.
My mother acquired her first espresso machine after she did the math on how much money she was spending on her latte every morning after dropping my big sister off at daycare on her way to work. That espresso machine lasted 20 years, and she replaced it with a Breville Barista Express. The Bambino is Breville's miniaturized version of the Barista Express. It does not have a the built in grinder, but it produces just as fine of a cup of coffee as the Barista Express with a much smaller footprint and price tag.
If mom is more into cocktails, a French 75 is an ideal brunch libation. This is my Mom's favorite cocktail and I've seen her teach more bartenders than I can count how to make it.
It's simple - mix 1 ounce gin with 1/2 ounce lemon juice and 1/2 ounce simple syrup. Strain into a champagne flute, and top off 3 ounces of Champagne. For non-drinkers, you can substitute Drink Monday Nonalcholic Gin and a mix of soda water and tonic water for the Champagne.
If the weather cooperates and you go picnic-style for brunch this year, consider the Govino Plastic Champagne Flutes.
Now that Mom has her beverage of choice in hand, let's move on to the food. Another one of my Mom's favorites is a Nicoise Salad (pronounced "nee-swazz"), or what I called "breakfast salad" as a kid. You don't really need a recipe for a Nicoise (though we've provided one anyway here) - the salad is traditionally a combination of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, olives, anchovies or tuna and an olive oil dressing. My Mom's iteration includes cooked potatoes which was what led me, as a child, to believe it was a breakfast food. When else do you have eggs and potatoes together besides breakfast?
My favorite way to make a Nicoise salad is to cook the eggs until the yolks are just set. We call these eggs "jammy" as opposed to "hard boiled." Timing your jammy eggs can be tricky, but is the process is vastly simplified using an electric pressure cooking (and if the Mom in your life is constantly having to make dinners on the fly and doesn't already have an electric pressure cooker, you really should get her one and the cookbooks to go with it ASAP.)
A Nicoise Salad could constitute a meal in and of itself, but it's brunch, so we can't have just one food. Mom is going to need a carb, and since we've already used potatoes in the salad, I'm thinking French Toast. Baked French Toast is an order of magnitude easier to make than stovetop french toast, which requires dipping, dripping, frying, and flipping each piece of toast individually.
My Mom doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, so I've backed way off the sugar in this recipe, and gone heavy on the warming spices. Adjust according to your own preferences!
Since my Mom is a little obsessed with her air fryer I thought I'd include a recipe to make in one. We have several new additions to our air fryer lineup at Zest right now, but my new favorite is the Cuisinart Compact Air Fryer Toaster Oven. For it's relatively small footprint, it delivers a number of functions (convection bake, broil, AirFry, toast, pizza and warm) with an impressive capacity.
For this recipe, I baste meaty strips of bacon with maple syrup, then dust them with Mala Spice Mix before popping them in the AirFryer for 15 minutes. It's hands off and mess-free.
Lastly, the quiche. I like a quiche for brunch because you make it ahead of time, often the day beforehand. This reduces your workload on the actual day and makes cleanup easier. My favorite quiche recipe right now combines a literal bunch of fresh herbs with goat cheese and freshly ground black pepper to make something unexpectedly intense yet smooth. I know my Mom would love it.
If you're not confident planning and executing a whole brunch for Mom by yourself, we've got you covered. Sign up to take our Brunch Cooking Class together - in addition to learning (and eating) several brunch recipes during class, every participant will make their own Breakfast Strata (like a savory bread pudding) to take home and bake. You can pop it in the freezer until the following weekend. Thaw it out the night before and bake in the morning for an hour, and Mother's Day Brunch is served.
- Marguerite Jodry