Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mother's Day Recap: The Extended Version

As I mentioned yesterday, I had a wonderful Mother's Day. The weather was beautiful and my day began with pancakes al fresco, courtesy of Cooper and Dixon. The boys set a very nice table on our deck, complete with roses from the yard, and gave me a champagne stopper along with VOLT ink, the new Voltaggio cookbook, which is beautiful (but complicated - the recipes are challenging, to say the least).

In the afternoon, my sister, her boyfriend and my mom all came over for dinner, and Cooper's parents stopped by for a bit. Unfortunately, my dad couldn't join us, as he's laid up in the hospital with a broken leg, but the good news there is that he's on the mend and hopefully will be home soon.

But I digress.

When everyone arrived in the afternoon, we started with Pimm's Cups - the recipe is here - and I got a chance to use these perfectly Marylandy cocktail napkins I picked up at Eddie's:

Mr. Acheson inspired more than the drinks -
I also made a couple of recipes from the "Snackies" section of his book.

These (blurry) Medjool dates are stuffed with a mixture of peeled and thinly sliced celery,
grated Parmesan cheese and olive oil:

I'm a fan of stuffed dates in general, but most of the recipes I come across either involve bacon or some type of cheese by itself. In this case, the celery added fresh flavor and crunch - they made the dates more interesting.

The Acheson cookbook also inspired this dish of ham, arugula and chilied mango:

Not only is the combination pretty, and tasty in that salty-sweet-spicy way,
it is just about the easiest thing ever.

All I did was cube some mango, sprinkle it with red pepper flakes and toss it with some very thinly sliced Virginia ham and a few sprigs of arugula. A tiny drizzle of olive oil and voila - finished. Seriously, so easy.

And last night, we used the leftovers for a spicy arugula and mango salad (dressed with a quick champagne vinaigrette) and grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Not so boring for leftovers.

Not everything came from the Acheson cookbook, of course. No Waskom party is complete without a cheese or two, and pate (I got mine from Neopol). Plus, I did some more cooking.

The recipe for these pickled tomatoes and fennel came from and old Food and Wine:

They were simple as anything, but do require overnight marinating. They also weren't the biggest hit on the table, though I think they're pretty good.

We spent most of the afternoon snacking, but when we sat down for dinner, we had asparagus with hollandaise (which I didn't photograph!) and crab cakes with cocktail sauce:

When I first started M&G, I blogged my recipe for crab cakes, which is based on the Annapolis Junior League recipe. That was 2006. In the past 6 years, I've made those crab cakes many, many times and the recipe has evolved. So I'll be posting it again later this week (UPDATE: here it is).

After all of that, we still had dessert, courtesy of my sister, Erin - a lovely apple pie:

Erin started with this recipe, making a few adjustments here and there.
(The big one is that she used Whole Foods pie crust to save time - it was very good. Other revisions include adding cinammon and nutmeg to the mix, mixing some of the syrup with the apples before pouring the rest over the lattice and sprinkling the top with water and sugar before baking. She also tented foil over the pie while it was in the oven.)

As usual, I was thankful that I have a sister who likes to bake, since I wholeheartedly do not.

After the pie, we were all, understandably, stuffed to the gills. But the weather held and we all sat around the table chatting, until the bugs drove us inside. Where we sat and chatted some more.

Relaxing and delicious, start to finish (well, except for the 30 minutes right before my sister arrived, when I managed to clean the kitchen, wipe all the counters, sweep the floor, take a shower and dry my hair). Mostly relaxing, anyway.

And definitely delicious.

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