When President Woodrow Wilson made Mother's Day a national holiday in 1914, he could not have foreseen how strongly it would become associated with food and most of all, breakfast and brunch. It's the only day where hard-working moms have a fighting chance at enjoying breakfast in bed. I have fond memories of preparing a “sumptuous” morning repast for my mom and presenting it to her as my dad propped her up on a sea of fluffy pillows. She actually seemed uncomfortable with the fuss and attention but always made me feel like the luke warm eggs and slightly burnt toast was a gourmet feast. Isn’t that just like a mom, suppressing her feelings so that her daughter could feel proud of her accomplishments?
Mother’s Day is one of those occasions where the connection between food, family and tradition is readily apparent and should be honored. My sons Chad and Jake have chosen to continue the breakfast in bed ritual and I just plain love it. It doesn’t matter what they prepare as their smiles, love and devotion are the perfect morning fare.
Perhaps breakfast is not your tradition and your family chooses to gather for an afternoon barbecue complete with aunts, cousins, new babies and old memories. Once again the food need not be complicated as the emphasis is on mothers and grandmothers and all that they sacrifice for us throughout the year.
A lot can be said (and a lot has been said!) about mothers and how they shape our lives as we grow up. One of my favorite quotes is from Abraham Lincoln, who said, “All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel Mother.” Mom, you have been gone for seven years now but I know with certainty that every day should be designated Mother’s Day. Your love and guidance gave me strength, confidence and comfort. Your generosity of spirit set a fine example for me of how to treat others and give unselfishly. Your beauty and sense of humor brought happiness to everyone who knew you. Without your spiritual presence, my ship would be rudderless. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you more than yesterday but less than tomorrow.
If you are looking for a delicious breakfast dish that will “wow” your mom this Mother’s Day, try this easy recipe:
HASH BROWN PIZZA
Yield: 1 large pizza
1 bag of hash brown potatoes
12 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
pizza dough or 1 large foccacia
1 cup onion confit (see recipe below)
2/3 cup crumbled goat cheese and 1/3 cup mozzarella (preferably buffalo)
Fry hash browns according to package directions. Drain on paper towels. Set aside. Saute garlic, rosemary and pepper until garlic is soft. Set aside.
Make onion confit according to directions below and set aside.
Onion confit (yields 1 cup):
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 onions, slivered
½ tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Heat the oil and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add the onions and pepper and cook until completely wilted, slowly stirring occasionally, 35 to 40 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar, stir and cook an additional 15 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Press pizza dough on a floured surface to form a 12 inch circle and transfer to pizza pan or stone. If using foccacia in place of pizza dough for the crust, just place it on the pan or stone.
Spread the onion confit over the crust, leaving a ½ inch rim. Place the cooked hash browns on top of the confit. Spread the garlic/rosemary mixture and then place the crumbled goat cheese and small pieces of the mozzarella on top.
Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes if using fresh pizza dough and for about 12-15 minutes if using foccacia.
Note: Onion confit can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to three days.