Never has time gone so fast yet so slow. The days tend to fold into each other, even as we're inching toward summer and our pre-pandemic lives.
So you're excused if Mother's Day sneaked up on you and you have nothing planned. But don't panic: A quick trip to the grocery store — and the flower shop — and a little quality time in the kitchen will make it seem like you've spent weeks planning a brunch fit for royalty.
If your honoree is an adventurous eater, a Persian Mixed-Herb and Feta Frittata should win her over. A variation on the traditional Persian dish kuku sabzi, it's loaded with fresh herbs and served alongside a dollop of lemony yogurt and a healthy splash of hot sauce. A feast for the senses.
If bagels are more your speed, try Everything Bagel Handpies. A simple dough — no yeast or rising required — is filled with green-onion-laced scrambled eggs and topped with everything bagel seasoning. Just add fresh fruit and voilà! A fun and portable brunch, perfect if you're a family on the go.
Or take the simplest of breakfasts, like pancakes, and make it special by adding bananas to the batter and infusing real maple syrup with fresh fruit. It's a snap, and it's delicious.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with sticking to what you know. Make bacon and eggs, but add White Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits and you've just gone from ho-hum to holy cow. (Tiny hands will love to help with mixing.)
And please, don't let all that hard work go to waste — all those feel-good moments from brunch will evaporate if you don't clean up the kitchen, too.
Persian Mixed-Herb and Feta Frittata
Note: To make lemony yogurt, whisk together 1 cup of whole-milk Greek yogurt, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 garlic clove, grated, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. From "Eating Out Loud" by Eden Grinshpan with Rachel Holtzman (2020, Clarkson Potter).
• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
• 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
• 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
• 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
• 1/2 tsp. ground coriander
• 12 eggs
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
• 1 c. chopped fresh parsley, plus more for serving
• 1 c. chopped fresh dill, plus more for serving
• 3 tbsp. finely chopped raw walnuts
• 1/2 c. heavy cream
• 1 c. crumbled sheep's milk feta
• Lemony yogurt, for serving (see Note)
• Hot sauce, for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, cumin, turmeric and coriander and continue cooking for 1 minute. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until uniform. Season with a pinch of salt and the black pepper, then add the onion mixture, parsley, dill, walnuts and cream. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Carefully rotate the pan so the olive oil coats the entire bottom plus a few inches up the sides. Add the egg mixture and cook undisturbed until the sides begin to set, 3 to 5 minutes.
Sprinkle the eggs with the feta and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the eggs are almost set but still a little jiggly on top, 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve topped with extra parsley and dill and alongside lemony yogurt and hot sauce.
Everything Bagel Breakfast Handpies
When two-ingredient dough — just Greek yogurt and self-rising flour — was all the rage, Julia Turshen was intrigued. "I tried it and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to make and versatile it was to use." She made some changes, including using half all-purpose flour and half whole-wheat. The resulting dough is very bagel-like and, she says, "approximately 1 million times easier to make than homemade bagels." This recipe is her favorite way to use it. To make your own everything bagel seasoning, mix 1 teaspoon each sesame seeds, poppy seeds and onion flakes. The handpies freeze well. To reheat, put them directly from the freezer into the microwave for about 2 minutes, or into a 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes. From "Simply Julia," by Julia Turshen (2021, HarperWave).
For the filling:
• 5 eggs
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
• 4 green onions, ends trimmed, thinly sliced
For the dough:
• 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
• 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
• 2/3 c. plain, full-fat Greek yogurt
• 1 tbsp. everything bagel seasoning (see Note)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
To prepare the filling: Place the eggs and salt in a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Place 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture in a small bowl and reserve for an egg wash.
Place the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Once it melts, add the remaining beaten eggs and green onions and cook, stirring, until the eggs are just set, about 3 minutes. Transfer the eggs to a plate to stop them from cooking any longer and let them cool to room temperature. Reserve them.
To prepare the dough: Place the flours, baking soda, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and whisk well to combine. Add the yogurt to the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture is crumbly. Switch to your hands and knead the dough directly in the bowl until it's smooth, about 1 minute. If the dough sticks too much to your hands, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it's no longer sticky. Alternatively, if there are dry crumbs at the bottom of your bowl, add more yogurt, 1 tablespoon at a time, until they're all absorbed.
To assemble: Lightly flour your work surface and transfer the dough. Evenly divide the dough into 4 pieces and form each into a small ball. Dust each ball with flour and press each into a small disc. Lightly dust a rolling pin with flour and use it to roll each piece of dough into a circle measuring about 6 inches in diameter. If the dough sticks, dust with more flour.
Evenly divide the cooled egg mixture among the dough circles. Form each dough circle into a half-moon, covering the egg mixture. Roll the edges of each hand pie to form a thick edge and then dip the tines of a fork in flour and use it to press the edges of each hand pie. Transfer the pies to the parchment-lined sheet pan.
Brush each pie with some of the reserved egg wash and sprinkle the everything bagel seasoning evenly on each pie. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes. Serve hot.
Banana Pancakes With Seasonal Fruit Syrup
Note: Local cookbook author Robin Asbell created this recipe for "#EatMeatLess," by the Jane Goodall Institute (NewSeed, 2021). White whole-wheat flour is made from a variety of wheat that has a pale outer bran layer, so it looks like white flour but has all the benefits of whole-grain wheat. If you can't find it, substitute whole-wheat pastry flour. Ripe bananas will caramelize nicely in the hot pan, a perfect foil for the fruity syrup.
For the syrup:
• 2 c. fresh or thawed frozen berries or fruit, plus fresh berries for garnish
• 1/4 c. maple syrup
For the pancakes:
• 1 1/2 c. white whole-wheat flour (see Note)
• 1 tbsp. brown sugar
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• Sea salt
• 1 1/2 c. plus 1 tbsp. unsweetened nondairy milk
• 2 tbsp. canola oil
• 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
• 2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
• 1 large ripe banana, peeled and thinly sliced
To prepare the fruit syrup: In a 1-quart pot, combine the fruit and maple syrup and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until the fruit is soft and the syrup is slightly thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Keep warm over very low heat while you make the pancakes.
To prepare the pancakes: Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a heat-safe platter or pan in the oven to keep the cooked pancakes warm.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the nondairy milk, oil, vinegar and ground flaxseeds and let stand for 5 minutes for the flax to gel. Stir the nondairy milk mixture into the flour mixture just until all the flour is moistened.
Warm a griddle or a large nonstick frying pan over high heat. Spray with vegetable oil spray just before adding the batter. Stir the batter again, then use a 1/4 cup measure to scoop the batter onto the hot griddle, leaving 1 inch of space between the cakes. Place 3 slices of banana on top of each cake and tap down with a spatula to adhere. When the batter starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium. When the edges of a pancake look dry and cooked and the surface is covered with holes, about 2 minutes, flip the cake. Cook for 2 minutes on the second side. Transfer finished pancakes to the platter in the oven while you finish cooking the rest of the pancakes, using more vegetable oil spray as needed.
Place 3 to 4 pancakes on each plate, top with one-fourth of the fruit syrup, and garnish with berries. Serve immediately.
White Cheddar Cornmeal Biscuits
Makes 8 to 10 biscuits.
Note: Author Roxana Jullapat writes, "I've always found traditional biscuits a bit doughy in the middle, and cornmeal remedies this, while creating a crunchy exterior." For a lighter biscuit, use 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups fine cornmeal instead. For other variations, try yellow cornmeal, yellow Cheddar, and minced chives or serve bare biscuits alongside butter and jam or with gravy. From "Mother Grains: Recipes for the Grain Revolution" by Roxana Jullapat (2021, W.W. Norton).
• 2 c. flour (see Note)
• 2 c. fine white cornmeal
• 2 tbsp. sugar
• 1 tbsp. baking powder
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 c. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-in. cubes
• 1 1/2 c. buttermilk
• 4 oz. white Cheddar, grated
• 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Toss the cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients. Quickly cut the cold butter cubes into the dry ingredients by progressively pinching it with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with hazelnut-size crumbs.
Make a well in the center with your hands. Pour the buttermilk into the well. Toss gently with both hands (as if tossing a salad), until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer to a floured surface and shape by hand into a 10- by 5-inch rectangle about 1 inch thick. Fold the dough onto itself as if you were closing a book (this step helps create layers) and flatten by hand or using a rolling pin until the rectangle is 1 inch thick. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch plain biscuit cutter. Gather scraps to cut a few additional biscuits. Discard anything left afterward; the dough is overworked and will yield tough biscuits.
Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet. Top each biscuit with white Cheddar and a sprinkle of thyme.
Bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the biscuits are golden. The biscuits are delicious 20 to 30 minutes after coming out of the oven, but they will reheat very well the next day. Store leftovers in an airtight container and reheat in a 350-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes.