Nothing says Mother’s Day like brunch (and flowers….and mothers I suppose) and I was lucky enough to have the day off so I invited my mom (and dad) down to Boston for a Mother’s Day brunch. l first started cooking with my mom when I was younger; I remember homemade pizza parties, warm chocolate chip cookies from the oven, and the made-from-scratch tomato sauce that I wrote my college essay about. We’ve had many culinary adventures together: wine tasting in Napa, cooking classes in New Orleans and then at the CIA (the real CIA….the Culinary Institute of America) for my birthday one year.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to be able to cook for my mom and this Mother’s Day was no exception. She loves smoked salmon so I decided to make a smoked salmon, dill and cream cheese frittata with a salad on the side. My show stopper was Flour Bakery’s sticky buns- these are rich, indulgent and a little labor intensive but worth it for the best mother in the world! Finally, this was all washed down with a celebratory pomegranate sparkling cocktail.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. I couldn’t ask for a better mom. I love you!
Flour’s Sticky Buns ( copied from Food Network, can also be found in the Flour cookbook)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Basic Brioche Dough, recipe follows
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
First, make the goo. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the brown sugar and cook, stirring, to combine (it may look separated, that’s ok). Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey, cream, water, and salt. Strain to remove any undissolved lumps of brown sugar. Let cool for about 30 minutes, or until cooled to room temperature. You should have about 3 cups. (The mixture can be made up to 2 weeks in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.)Divide the dough in half. Use half for this recipe and reserve the other half for another use. On a floured work surface, roll out the brioche into rectangle about 12 by 16 inches and 1/4-inch thick. It will have the consistency of cold, damp Play-Doh and should be fairly easy to roll. Position the rectangle so a short side is facing you.
In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and half of the pecans. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the entire surface of the dough. Starting from the short side farthest from you and working your way down, roll up the rectangle like a jelly roll. Try to roll tightly, so you have a nice round spiral. Trim off about 1/4- inch from each end of the roll to make them even.
Use a bench scraper or a chef’s knife to cut the roll into 8 equal pieces, each about 1 1/2-inches wide. (At this point, the unbaked buns can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 1 week. When ready to bake, thaw them, still wrapped, in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours, then proceed as directed.)
Pour the goo into a 9 by 13-inch baking dish, covering the bottom evenly. Sprinkle the remaining pecans evenly over the surface. Arrange the buns, evenly spaced, in the baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm spot to proof until the dough is puffy, pillowy, and soft and the buns are touching-almost tripled in size, about 2 hours.
Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat to 350 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool in the dish on a wire rack for 20 to 30 minutes. One at a time, invert the buns onto a serving platter, and spoon any extra goo and pecans from the bottom of the dish over the top. The buns are best served warm or within 4 hours of baking. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day, and then warmed in a 325 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes before serving.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 packages (3 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1-ounce fresh cake yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 cup cold water
1 3/8 cups (2 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 to 12 pieces
Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, water, and 5 of the eggs. Beat on low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until all the ingredients are combined. Stop the mixer, as needed, to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Once the dough has come together, beat on low speed for another 3 to 4 minutes. The dough will be very stiff and seem quite dry.
With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 1 piece at a time, mixing after each addition until it disappears into the dough. Continue mixing on low speed for about 10 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If necessary, stop the mixer occasionally and break up the dough with your hands to help mix in the butter.Once the butter is completely incorporated, turn up the speed to medium and beat until the dough becomes sticky, soft, and somewhat shiny, another 15 minutes. It will take some time to come together. It will look shaggy and questionable at the start and then eventually it will turn smooth and silky. Turn the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute. You should hear the dough make a slap-slap-slap sound as it hits the sides of the bowl.
Test the dough by pulling at it; it should stretch a bit and have a little give. If it seems wet and loose and more like a batter than a dough, add a few tablespoons of flour and mix until it comes together. If it breaks off into pieces when you pull at it, continue to mix on medium speed for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until it develops more strength and stretches when you grab it. It is ready when you can gather it all together and pick it up in 1 piece.
Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough. Let the dough proof (that is, grow and develop flavor) in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight At this point you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
4 oz cream cheese
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup cream
2 Tbs chopped dill
3 green onions, chopped (only the white parts)
4 oz. smoked salmon
salt and pepper
1 Tbs olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the cream cheese and lemon zest until well combined. Set aside. Whisk together eggs, cream, dill and green onions. Add cream cheese in small pieces. Add smoked salmon and mix gently with spoon until evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper.
Add olive oil to a non-stick skillet and heat on medium-high. Add egg mixture. Cook until edges are set and then transfer to the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes until frittata is set throughout and slightly puffed. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the edges of a spatula and flip onto a plate to serve.
CAUTION: The handle of the skillet will be very hot! DO NOT GRAB! I recommend placing an oven mitt over the handle to prevent accidental burns…this may have been learned from personal experience…
Mixed Greens Salad with Pickled Shallots, Pine Nuts, and Citrus Vinaigrette
1 6 oz. bag of greens of your choice (I used a mixture of a spring mix and arugula)2 shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 grapefruits, supremed and 1/4 cup juice reserved
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Parmesan for shaving on top of the salad
To make the pickled shallots, add the shallots, red wine vinegar and enough water to cover the shallots to a small saucepan. Bring just to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let it sit for 30 min. Strain and set aside.
To make the dressing, whisk 1/4 cup reserved grapefruit juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey in a small bowl. Whisk in olive oil until blended and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Dress the greens with the salad dressing and then top with grapefruit, pine nuts, pickled shallots and shaved Parmesan cheese.
6 Tbs simple syrup (see note below)
1 cup Pomegranate juice (such as Pom brand)
juice from 2 limes
1 bottle sparkling wine (or Champagne or Prosecco)
Lime peel for garnish, optional
Mix simple sugar, pomegranate juice and lime juice. Fill champagne flutes 1/3 full with pomegranate mixture. Add lime peel if desired. Fill to top with sparkling wine.
Note: Simple syrup can be made by mixing 1/2 cup white granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water and mixing over medium-high heat until sugar is dissolved. Cool and then use in cocktails.