Spinach and Swiss Egg Souffle
Spinach and Swiss Egg Soufflé (Photo: Annabel Cohen)

Prepare a brunch to celebrate all she does.

Mother’s Day is this weekend. But this year, everything’s different. While, typically, many of us would have reservations at some of the best eateries in town, the restaurants are empty. We are celebrating at home. In limited numbers. Extended families are not invited.

If there’s one thing this pandemic has done for many families, it’s brought them back into the kitchen. We’re eating most every meal at home. It’s turned many into home chefs, with big ambitions.

Still, you want to show Mom this Sunday just how much you appreciate her.

Breakfast or brunch is the easiest meal to prepare and a delightful way to begin the day. And preparing foods with a blender or food processor is a fail-safe way to make breakfast food fancy, fast and delicious.

Imagine a delicious quiche — quick and savory — that can go together in a few minutes. Just bake — the oven does the hard work. Steamed asparagus gets a slightly flamboyant makeover with a blender lime Hollandaise sauce. And so on.

Serve these foods for a gorgeous, luxurious mini-celebration. Add bagels and lox if you’d like. In the end, it’s about honoring mom and all of us during these unusual times.

These recipes are small — to serve only about four people. Double them to feed more.

ASPARAGUS WITH LIME HOLLANDAISE

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus spears
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. hot red pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime or lemon juice
  • Salt and white pepper to taste

Directions

Trim the woody ends from the asparagus. If the stems are very thick, peel the bottom three inches with a vegetable peeler (so that they are the same thickness as the upper stems).

Melt butter in the microwave oven, in a microwave-safe bowl (cover loosely with plastic wrap and cook on high for about 1½- to 2-minutes). The butter should be very hot.

 Meanwhile, place egg yolks and hot pepper sauce in a blender and blend on high until foamy. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the melted butter (the sauce will thicken). Drizzle in the lime juice. Add salt and white pepper to taste. Set aside

Steam or microwave the asparagus until just al dente. Serve the asparagus hot with the Hollandaise sauce spooned over. Makes 4 servings.

SPINACH AND SWISS EGG SOUFFLÉ

Like a quiche and soufflé in one. Make this and people will ask you for the recipe to be sure. The bread disintegrates into a creamy, spoonable, almost custard-like dish.

Ingredients 

  • 6 slices good quality white bread, pulled apart into small pieces
  • ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion, such as Vidalia
  • 1 package I10-ounces), frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
  • ½ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cups shredded good quality Swiss cheese (such as Gruyere)
  • 5 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a glass or ceramic baking or casserole dish. Set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well. Let the mixture stand for about 10 minutes before transferring to the prepared baking dish. Bake immediately (or cover with plastic wrap and chill up to 12 hours before baking). Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet and bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is golden and the soufflé is very puffy. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

OVEN EGGPLANT FRIES WITH YOGURT MINT SAUCE

Ingredients 

  • Olive oil
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • ¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large egg whites
  • 1 eggplant (about 1 pound)

Sauce:

  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment well with olive oil. Set aside.

Combine both types of breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, chili powder and pepper in a large bowl and stir well. Set aside.

Place the egg white in another bowl and whisk well.

Slice your eggplant into fries (½-inch thick by about 3-inches long strips).

Place several eggplant strips in the bowl with the egg whites and turn them to coat well. Pick up the strips and let the egg whites drip back into the bowl. Dredge the strips in the breadcrumbs and arrange them (don’t overlap them) on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the “fries” are golden.

While the fries are baking, combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir well. Set aside. Makes 4 servings.

CHOPPED SWEET FRUIT SALAD WITH THYME

Switch up the fruits and herbs to your taste — mint, basil tarragon — you’ll be surprised how yummy this is.

Ingredients 

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 cups halved (or quartered if large) strawberries
  • 1 cup ½-inch diced kiwi or mango
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries or blackberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup seedless grapes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. seedless raspberry jam or preserves
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh thyme, optional

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently. Transfer to an attractive serving dish, cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes 8 servings.

RASPBERRY COCONUT SCONES

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 large egg (lightly beaten)
  • 1 tsp. coconut or vanilla extract
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar, topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Combine flour, coconut, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor. 

Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg, extract and half-and-half and pulse until combined. 

Add the raspberries and pulse until combined (do not over process). 

Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Makes 8-12 scones, depending on the size you choose.

All recipes ©Annabel Cohen 2020 annabelonthemenu@gmail.com.

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