Taking cues from two moms who are good friends, business partners and cookbook authors, your family can put on a Mother's Day brunch that pampers every appetite in the family while comforting the soul with soothing, simple dishes.
The recipes come from The Farm Chicks in the Kitchen: Live Well, Laugh Often, Cook Much, a cookbook by Teri Edwards and Serena Thompson (A Country Living Book from Hearst Books/Sterling, $27.95). Inside the colorful edition are recipes the two women and stay-at-home moms have perfected while also running their noteworthy, annual antiques show in Spokane, Wash.
We pulled four recipes your family can easily prepare for a Sunday celebration in Mom's honor. Put a pitcher of flowers on the table, and you're set.
Nancy's nutmeg coffee cake
Serena and Teri's friend Nancy serves this at her float house in Idaho. If you serve the cake warm, the crust will still be soft. If cooled, the crust becomes crunchy.
Serves 9 (Makes one 9-inch square cake)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Prepare the crust: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and brown sugar in a medium-size bowl. Use a pastry blender or two knives to cut in the butter until the mixture looks like sand. Spoon half the mixture into a square 9-inch pan, evenly pressing over the bottom.
2. Prepare the batter: Add the egg, sour cream, nutmeg and baking soda to the flour mixture remaining in the bowl. Mix until combined. Spoon the batter over the mixture in the pan, spreading evenly. Mix the walnuts and cinnamon in a small bowl and evenly sprinkle over the batter in the pan.
3. Bake until the center is set, about 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cut the cake into nine 3-inch squares. Serve warm or allow to cool. Store, covered, in the pan up to 2 days.
Apple puff pancake
This old-fashioned dish tastes like apple pie but is billowy instead. If you use maple syrup for serving, use genuine (not imitation) syrup.
Serves 6 to 8
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
5 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
Maple syrup or confectioners' sugar, for serving
1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a 9-inch glass pie plate. Heat in the oven until the butter is melted and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven, stir well and mix in the apple slices. Return to the oven and bake for 2 minutes.
2. Combine eggs, milk, flour and salt in a blender or food processor and process until frothy, about 1 minute. Pour over the apple mixture. Bake until the cake is puffed and the center is set, 18 to 20 minutes. Serve warm with syrup or sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
Sunshine and sausage casserole
A sure family-pleasing dish, this would be good with your favorite salsa served on the side.
Serves 12 to 15
1/2 to 3/4 pound pork breakfast sausage (not links)
10 large eggs
2 cups cottage cheese (2 percent or whole milk)
8 ounces grated jack cheese (2 cups)
1 (7-ounce) can diced green chiles
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup butter, melted
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage to the skillet and cook; use a wooden spoon to break it up and stir occasionally, until browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
2. Lightly oil a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sausage, cheeses, chiles and green onions. Without stirring, add flour, baking powder and butter, then stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake until set, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes; then serve.
Spinach, feta and beet salad
Sweet, honey-toasted nuts and tangy dressing make for a good combination in this colorful salad. You can use pecans instead of walnuts, and you can top the salad with crumbled, crisp smoked bacon, if you like. Substitute tangerine sections for the beets, if your family prefers.
3/4 cup walnut pieces (about 5 ounces)
1 tablespoon honey
1 9-ounce package fresh spinach (about 12 cups)
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 medium)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can beets, rinsed, drained and cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (2 ounces)
1. To toast the walnuts, place them in a skillet over medium heat and stir until they are lightly toasted, 5 to 6 minutes. Add honey and stir to coat evenly. Cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, until thoroughly coated. Transfer mixture to a plate to cool, then break apart the nuts.
2. Place spinach and onions in a large bowl. To make dressing, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard, salt and sugar in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until thoroughly combined. Pour the dressing over the spinach and toss to coat. Divide the spinach among serving plates and top each with beets, feta and walnuts.