For kids looking to surprise mom on May 14, it’s the joy of a hassle-free day that is the most rewarding.
That’s Aviva Goldfarb’s annual Mother’s Day wish. For the Chevy Chase-based cookbook author and mother of two, that means a day off from being the family cook.
“What my kids usually do is make me breakfast, and last year my daughter made me the most fabulous crepes,” she said.
Goldfarb said the crepes were thin and included sliced strawberries and bananas, lemon and Nutella fillings that her daughter set up on a buffet table in the family’s screened-in porch.
Crepes might seem difficult for kids to pull off, but Goldfarb said they just take a bit more preparation than, say, blueberry French toast.
“It’s not any, harder but it takes a little more forethought,” she said.
Goldfarb said she enjoys savory crepes with spinach, cremini mushrooms and goat cheese in the filling. The only ingredients needed to make the crepes themselves are eggs, flour, butter, milk and water. They take a half hour to prepare, serve eight and the ingredients won’t cost more than $20, she said.
Slightly more adventurous but still easy to make are stuffed eggs with Parmesan cheese, smoked salmon and dill — a dish from Arlington-based food writer Marcia Friedman. Friedman said this variation of deviled eggs is a “playful embrace” of her Jewish and Italian heritages and her recipe includes easy steps for kids.
“Children can help with peeling the eggs, mixing the filling and assembling the eggs,” she said. “These are also surprisingly filling and would go nicely with a light brunch of breads or pastries and fruit.”
Friedman also recommended her three-filling cannoli recipe. The cannoli shells can be bought pre-made in the Italian products section of the supermarket. The filling is composed of ricotta cheese, heavy cream, milk, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla extract, which will later be combined with strawberry and chocolate.
“Kids might enjoy stuffing the shells and especially decorating the ends with anything that makes them happy, such as colorful sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, cookie crumbs or dried fruit,” she said.
But no matter the dish, Goldfarb says it’s the thought that counts on a day where mom simply wants some “her time.”
Spinach and Mushroom Whole Wheat Crepes
Recipe courtesy of Aviva Goldfarb
Prep + Cook = 30 minutes
Makes 8 servings of crepes
1 cup milk, nonfat or 1 percent
3/4 cup water
3 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
8 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
8 ounces baby spinach
3 ounces goat cheese, cut into chunks
In a blender (or in a bowl with a whisk), combine the milk, water, eggs, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt and all the flour and blend it until fully combined (but don’t over mix). Set the batter aside.
Heat a medium to large heavy skillet over medium heat, and when it is hot, add 2 teaspoons of butter. When the butter is bubbling, add the mushrooms and remaining salt and stir to coat.
Sauté them for 5 minutes until they release their juices. Add the garlic and stir it in for 30 seconds until it is fragrant. Add the spinach, let it wilt for a minute or two, and then stir in the goat cheese and continue cooking for another minute until the goat cheese is evenly spread through the mixture. Turn the skillet to the lowest heat.
In a crepe pan or small to medium (8-10-inch) nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 teaspoon of butter and when it is bubbling, add 1/4 cup of the batter and tilt the pan to spread it out thinly. Let it cook for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, until the edges are fully cooked. Put about 1/4 cup of spinach-mushroom filling down the middle of the crepe, and fold the sides of the crepe over the filling to make a log shape. Set it aside on a serving platter and cook the rest of the crepes, adding about 1/2 teaspoon of butter or nonstick cooking spray after every other crepe if needed.
Cheese, Strawberry and Chocolate Cannoli
Recipe courtesy of Marcia Friedman
Choose from plain cheese, strawberry or chocolate, or if you are making a big tray, it’s fun to have all three. The strawberry and chocolate build off the cheese version. Use homemade or store-bought cannoli shells.
Yield about 5 cups of filling per flavor, each version enough to fill 12-to-14 medium-sized cannoli shells
10-12 cannoli shells
For cheese filling
½ cup heavy whipping cream
3 cups whole milk, fresh ricotta cheese (drained if runny)
7½ tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cannoli
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 ounces bittersweet dark chocolate, finely chopped, or miniature semisweet chocolate chips, (about 1 cup, reserve a teaspoon or so of shavings or chips for garnish if desired)
10 to 14 cannoli shells
For strawberry filling
Cheese filling ingredients, but omit the 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup strawberry preserves
2 cups hulled and chopped strawberries
For chocolate filling
Cheese filling ingredients
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, for dusting
For cheese filling
Beat the whipping cream with an electric mixer on high speed until it holds stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the ricotta on high speed for 1 minute. Add the whipped cream, 7½ tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to the ricotta, and beat on medium-high speed 1 to 2 minutes, until very smooth. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
Use a small spoon to fill the cooled shells with the ricotta filling. Dust the shells with confectioner’s sugar and reserved chocolate shavings or chips if desired. Serve immediately, or hold in refrigerator for not more than 1 hour before serving.
For strawberry filling
Prepare the cheese filling recipe, but omit the chopped chocolate.
Instead stir in the strawberry preserves until well combined. Fold in the strawberries. Dust filled shells with confectioners’ sugar.
For chocolate filling
Combine the heavy whipping cream and semisweet chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir frequently until chocolate is melted and mixture is well combined. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Prepare the cheese filling recipe, but before adding the chopped chocolate pieces, fold the melted chocolate-cream mixture into the ricotta filling until well combined. Then fold in the chopped chocolate. Dust filled shells with cocoa powder and sprinkle with chocolate shavings.