This week's Cookstr menu is one designed to get you thinking ahead: are you having your mother over for Mother's Day? What are you cooking? Here are our suggestions.
Mom is the one who taught, cajoled, and finally begged us to eat healthy, right? And now that we're all grown up we can appreciate her efforts. This menu is a nod to moms everywhere, with their preference for green and healthy vegetables and sweetness in moderation. It also pays homage to Mom's comfort food: lasagna. My husband still has a visceral response to his mother's pasta al forno and it seems that pasta is one thing many of us remember from our childhood dinner table.
So here's a menu that draws from the lighter, fresher things of spring, with the side benefit of being very easy to make ahead. Nearly everything in this menu can either be prepped or cooked ahead of time. So when Mom, Dad, and perhaps siblings show up for an early lunch on Mother's Day you can feel bright, fresh, and all prepared — just like the food!
Bright, Fresh Lunch for Mother's DayPesto Crostini from Jamie Oliver. Make with spring greens like baby arugula, Swiss chard, or watercress instead of basil, to keep it seasonal. The pesto is easily made ahead, and this is a great bite to have on hand as your guests arrive. Serve with a light, crisp white wine or Prosecco.
• Mushroom and Artichoke Lasagna from Judith Finlayson. This vegetarian lasagna is a nod to a Provençal gratin, and it looks delicious! It is actually cooked in the slow cooker, too, so it is prepped the night before and is all hands-off on the day itself. Artichokes are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, but perhaps the other flavors in the lasagna will mellow out their effect. We would serve this with a dry white wine or perhaps an Albarino.
• Asparagus with Mustard Sauce from Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner. The quintessential spring vegetable, dressed up special for Mom. The recipe says that both the cooked asparagus and the sauce can be cooked and refrigerated ahead of time. We really like the colorful touch of red onion in the garnish.
• Strawberry Yogurt Mousse from Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner. Another fabulous make-ahead recipe! This light, refreshing strawberry dessert looks like a snap to put together, and very beautiful too, layered in glasses. Serve with a Moscato d'Asti and tiny squares of dark chocolate for a special end to the meal.
All you need to round out this meal is a good loaf of bread, some olive oil and herbs for dipping, and perhaps another bottle of white wine.
Do you have plans for Mother's Day? Does your menu look anything like this, or are you going in another direction?
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(Images, counterclockwise from top left: David Loftus; Mark Shapiro; publisher Dorling Kindersley)