I'm not sure what I'll be in the mood for when I wake up on Sunday, so I've covered several bases here for my two daughters to consider should they wish to honor me with breakfast in bed.
If I want a sweet indulgence, there's decadent French toast made with brioche and half-and-half. There are farm-fresh scrambled eggs served on split bacon biscuits, if I'm craving something savory. And if it is a whole-grain kind of morning, I might like oatmeal, made special with a brûlée crust. All recipes yield three or four servings, so there will be plenty of food for the cooks to enjoy once they've taken care of Mom.
While developing these dishes, I kept another thought in mind: How would I feel, sitting in bed, listening to my children as they pulled out dozens of ingredients, dirtied a sinkful of pots and pans, and generally destroyed my well-kept kitchen? Not very relaxed, probably. So I was careful to come up with food that was quick and simple enough to allow for plenty of cleanup time afterward.
If you are the breakfast chef on Mother's Day, make things easy on yourself as well as Mom by getting ready the night before:
Arrange the breakfast tray or set the table with Mom's favorite dishes and linens. Don't forget to put a few flowers in a little vase for her.
Prep your ingredients: Make the apricot compote for the oatmeal or the oven-dried tomatoes in advance. Mix together the dry ingredients for the biscuits and cover with plastic wrap to get a jump-start on baking.
Set your alarm clock, especially if Mom usually gets out of bed before you do. You don't want to walk into the kitchen to find that's she's already walked the dog and eaten a bowl of All-Bran.
Here are three breakfasts I'd like to enjoy Mother's Day morning, hint, hint:
GOAT CHEESE-AND-CHIVE SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH BACON BISCUITS AND OVEN-DRIED TOMATOES
Put the tomatoes in the oven just before you go to bed, and when you wake up they will be dried to perfection. If you'd like, skip the biscuits and serve the eggs and tomatoes with toasted slices of country bread.
6 small plum tomatoes, halved
8 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
3/4 cup milk
8 large eggs
1/4 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
1. For tomatoes: Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut-side up on rack. Sprinkle with salt. Bake tomatoes until wrinkled and shrunken, 8 to 9 hours. Remove baking sheet from oven and let stand while preparing biscuits and eggs.
2. Make biscuits: Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Line another baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook bacon in a large skillet until just beginning to crisp. Transfer pieces to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
3. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add chilled butter pieces and bacon and, with an electric mixer, mix on low speed until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in milk until mixture just starts to form clumps.
4. Turn mixture onto a floured countertop and gently knead once or twice until dough comes together. With a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll dough to 1/2 inch thick. Dip a 3-inch biscuit cutter in flour and cut as many biscuits as you can; transfer them to a baking sheet. Pat scraps together and repeat with remaining dough. Bake until light golden, 9 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
5. For eggs: Beat eggs, half-and-half, salt and black pepper to taste in a large bowl. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add eggs, sprinkle with goat cheese and chives, and let stand 20 seconds before pushing solidifying outer edges toward center of pan and letting liquid flow to outer edges. Continue to push solidified eggs to center of pan until everything is just set.
6. Divide eggs among 4 plates and serve with biscuits and tomatoes on side.
Makes 4 servings.
OATMEAL BRÛLÉE WITH APRICOTS AND NUTS
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch slivers
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned (not quick-cooking) oats
3 cups half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup Turbinado sugar ("sugar in the raw")
1. Make compote: Bring orange juice, lemon juice and sugar to boil in a small saucepan. Add apricots, reduce heat and simmer until fruit is tender and juice is thickened, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in walnuts and remove from heat. (Compote can be made a day in advance, refrigerated in an airtight container and rewarmed on top of stove or in microwave before serving.)
2. Make oatmeal: Combine oats, half-and-half, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, turn heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened and creamy, about 5 minutes.
3. Fill each of 4 ramekins or crème brûlée dishes with oatmeal and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. Place on baking sheet and broil until sugar melts and caramelizes (alternatively, caramelize sugar with torch). Let stand 2 to 3 minutes and serve with compote on side.
Makes 4 servings.
BRIOCHE FRENCH TOAST WITH WARM MAPLE SYRUP AND BLUEBERRIES
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups half-and-half
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 (1-inch) slices brioche or challah
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups blueberries
3/4 cup maple syrup
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a heatproof platter in oven. Whisk together eggs, sugar, half-and-half and vanilla in a large bowl.
2. Place brioche slices in a shallow baking dish and pour egg mixture over bread. Let stand 2 minutes, turn, and let stand another 2 minutes.
3. While bread is soaking, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 slices of soaked bread and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides. Transfer to platter in oven. Repeat with remaining butter and bread.
4. While toast is cooking, combine blueberries and maple syrup in a medium pot. Cook over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until syrup is warmed through.
5. Arrange French toast on serving plates, top with blueberries and syrup, and serve.
Makes 3 to 4 servings.