A Meal for Mom

You might be thinking about Mother’s Day—what to do for that special woman, the one who fed (or feeds) you, bandaged the skinned knees, laughed at the goofy jokes and attended every one of the many soccer games, dance recitals and even the screechy grade-school band concerts (cheering supportively, every step of the way).  This is the woman who tucked you in at night, and perhaps wanted to, even after you’d outgrown the cozy ritual. And who always had a hug ready, when words alone just weren’t enough.

Flowers, chocolate, dinner at a favorite restaurant—the usual line-up is always welcomed by Mom on her day.  But I wonder if something even simpler, more basic is what she’s really hankering for.  A home-cooked meal—prepared for a change, not by her, but by those who love her.  After all, home cooking is one of the ways she shows her love, so why wouldn’t it also be a fitting gesture to offer back in return? The meal can be simple or elaborate—jelly on toast or strawberry shortcake.  Mom will adore either—and savor every morsel. (Beware though, this is not the time to leave a mountain of dirty dishes behind—no matter how smashing the meal.  Just a bit of advice.)

Perhaps the Mom in your life isn’t much of a cook.  Dad stirs the soup—or siblings split the job between them.  Maybe she’s the one that cleans up after everyone else is done.   Well then, how about tackling those dishes?  A better gift cannot be found.

Recipes for the Week

Fava beans are one of the treasures of spring.  They have a smooth texture and flavor that’s pea-like, but uniquely it’s own.  These gems require a little prep work—a three-step process to be exact.  Turn on the radio to keep you company, or employ the kids to help.  Spin a tale of Jack or Jacqueline and their magic beans as you go.


First, remove the beans from their pods.  If you find the stringy “zipper” along the edge, the process is painless and pretty quick.What you do is snap the stem and pull down on it.  A long, fibrous string will “zip” open and separate the two pod halves. It’s not a perfect process, but works nonetheless. Pop out the beans and boil or steam them to remove the outer, light-green skins. Place beans in a pot of boiling water and cook for one minute. Drain and run under cool water. Make a small tear on one side of each bean with your fingernail, and squeeze gently on the other side.  The shamrock-colored pearl inside will burst out through the opening.  Like magic.

Now you’re ready to go…

Here are some ideas for treating Mom on her day.  Let us know what you’re cooking.

Fava Beans with Spinach, Lemon and Parmesan — garlic-laced, spring favas pair with tart lemon and aged Italian cheese.  Toss ’em with pasta.  Mom will gobble it up.

Fennel and Spinach Salad with Oranges and Olives — the licorice notes in crunchy fennel partner beautifully with sweet California oranges, earthy spinach and salty olives.

Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Strawberries and Whipped Cream — we’ve turned our favorite chocolate cake into cupcake-sized portions—with a dollop of sweet cream and berries.  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Top with fresh berries and whipped cream.  Perhaps a sprinkling of powdered sugar for extra flourish.

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