My mother and both of my grandmothers are extraordinary cooks. They all played a role in teaching me to cook, eat, and love all aspects of food. These recipes, from classic smoked salmon and dill cream cheese batons to a twist on retro ambrosia, are inspired by memories I have of those wonderful women and the times we’ve shared in the kitchen. I hope you enjoy them with the special ones in your life.
Happy Mother’s Day!
SMOKED SALMON BATONS
Serves 6 to 8
8 ounces whipped cream cheese
½ cup dill, finely chopped
2 teaspoons juice and 1 teaspoon finely grated zest from 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces smoked salmon
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
- Cut baguette in half crosswise. Cut each half in half lengthwise, then in half again lengthwise to make 8 slim batons.
- In medium bowl, combine cream cheese, dill, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread each baton with lemon-dill cream cheese, then top with salmon and cucumber. Serve.
Serves 6 to 8
Notes: I find that the easiest way to wash leeks is to slice them into half-moons as called for in the recipe, then placing them in a salad spinner filled with cold water. After a few minutes, the sediment will settle to the bottom. Lift the leeks out of the water with the spinner basket and repeat process 2 or 3 times until the leeks are free of sediment.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
All-purpose flour for dusting the work surface
2 sheets (one 17.3-ounce package) Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
6 slices thick-cut bacon, coarsely chopped
1 ½ pounds leeks, white and pale green parts thinly sliced into half-moons (See Notes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 large eggs, well beaten
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
For egg wash:
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 egg yolk
- Butter a 9-inch pie plate with 1 tablespoon butter. Dust clean, dry work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll 1 sheet puff pastry out to about 13- by 12-inches. Place pastry in pie plate, then gently press into bottom and sides. Trim excess with kitchen shears, leaving about 1-inch overhang. Prick pastry all over with tines of fork. Refrigerate.
- Dust work surface with additional flour, then, roll out second sheet puff pastry to about 13- by 12-inches Set pastry on a parchment paper-lined cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, cook bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat.
- Add leeks to now-empty skillet and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to plate. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to empty skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low. Season eggs salt and pepper. Cook eggs, stirring very frequently with heat-proof rubber spatula, until set but still soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to plate and cool completely, about 10 minutes.
- Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Place one third of eggs in even layer in prepared pie plate. Top with half of bacon, half of leeks, and half of cheese. Top with additional one third of eggs, then remaining bacon, leeks, cheese, and eggs. Top with second puff pastry sheet and trim off excess to match bottom 1-inch overhang. Crimp edges and with sharp knife, cut 4 vent holes on top. Brush with egg wash and bake until puffed and golden, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool to room temperature before serving.
Makes 12 cupcakes
Notes: This recipe is easily doubled.
- Cream of coconut is sweet and thick and can usually be found in the liquor aisle—don’t mistake it for coconut milk. Also, be sure to stir the cream of coconut before using as it often separates in the can.
- Gelatin and cream cheese in the frosting stabilize the whipped cream.
1 cup plus 6 tablespoons cake flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons can cream of coconut (See Notes)
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoons water
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cups heavy cream, chilled
¼ cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup mini-marshmallows
½ cup canned pineapple chunks, drained and chopped
½ cup mandarin orange wedges, canned or fresh
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. With mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter on medium-high speed until light, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup cream of coconut and beat until fluffy, about 1 minute. Beat in egg yolks and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Reduce speed to low and add reserved flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk. Mix just until combined, scraping sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula as needed.
- Fit mixer with whisk attachment and place egg whites in clean, dry mixing bowl. Beat whites medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Fold whites into batter.
- Fill prepared tins and bake until cake tester inserted in center of cupcakes comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks and cool 10 minutes in tins. Set cupcakes directly onto racks and cool completely, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, combine gelatin and water in a small bowl. Microwave until the gelatin dissolves, about 20 seconds. Cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Place remaining cream of coconut (about ¼ cup), cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, remaining ½ teaspoon vanilla, and dissolved gelatin in the chilled bowl and whisk on medium speed until whippy, about 2 minutes. Add the cream and whisk just until thickened, about 2 minutes. Fold in coconut, pineapple, marshmallows, and mandarin wedges. Frost cupcakes and serve.