Cooking a healthy and delicious Mother's Day feast has become somewhat of a tradition in our house. On the menu this year - a spring salad with avocado, radish and peas in a mint-lemon dressing, fresh pasta with creamy boucheron and asparagus, grilled lemon-herb chicken and a berry ricotta gratin.
I hope everyone had a lovely Mother's Day weekend. For the third year in a row, we were able to celebrate with both my mom and Scott's mom. In honor of our moms, we cooked them a dinner featuring local goodies from Soda City farmer's market.
Since it's the third year in a row we've done the same thing, I think it's safe to call our Mother's Day celebration a tradition. My mom comes in from Atlanta and we spend Saturday morning at the local farmer's market, getting inspiration for our dinner. Last year, we grilled a peppered beef tenderloin which we served with bread salad with creamy lemon-yogurt dressing and a berry buttermilk pie for dessert. This year, we served grilled lemon-herb chicken served with fresh pasta, a spring salad and a berry ricotta gratin for dessert. Grilled meat. Spring salad. Something berry for dessert. Are you sensing a theme?
Spring Salad with Avocado, Radish, Fresh Peas & Mint Dressing
This salad was inspired by one my mom recently enjoyed at a restaurant in Atlanta and couldn’t stop raving about. I’m not sure how it stacked up to the original, but I loved the bring spring flavors and layers of texture.
- 1 cup fresh peas (from half a basket of peas in the pod)
- 1 head of red leaf lettuce, chopped, rinsed clean and dried
- 4 large radishes, thin sliced
- 2 small avocados, halved and thin sliced
- 1 cup of lightly packed mint leaves
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook for 3 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Place all the dressing ingredients in the blender and blend until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, radish and peas. Drizzle with dressing and toss again until evenly coated. Top with sliced avocado and serve.
Fresh Pasta with Asparagus and Boucheron
Rio Bertolini’s sells gorgeous fresh pasta at our farmer’s market. Normally, I can’t resist their ravioli, available with fillings like asparagus and mascarpone, lobster crab and saffron, and gorgonzola pear. They also sell flavored fresh cut pastas, like squid ink, saffron and sage. I chose garlic and chive to go with fresh, local asparagus. Bucheron is a French, aged goat cheese. If you can’t find it, use another creamy aged cheese like camenbert or brie.
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 8 ounces fresh pasta of choices
- 3 ounces Bucheron, rind removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Snap the woody ends off the asparagus and place on a large baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven 15-20 minutes until tender and lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
- After the asparagus is done cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook 2-3 minutes, until tender. Reserve about 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid, then drain the pasta. Place the pasta back in the pot.
- While the pasta is cooking, cut the asparagus into 2-inch spears. Add to the pot with the pasta. Add the cheese to the pasta and toss, thinning with a little hot starchy cooking water as needed to melt the cheese and form a sauce. Season with pepper.
Grilled Lemon-Herb Chicken
- Juice from 2 lemons
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 organic chicken drumsticks
- In a large baking dish, combine lemon juice, parsley, thyme and olive oil. Add drumsticks and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate to marinade 30-60 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- When ready to cook, heat the grill to medium-high heat. When hot, add drumsticks and grill, turning to cook all sides, about 30 minutes total until cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove to a clean serving platter and let cool 3-5 minutes before serving.
Berry and Ricotta Gratin
I didn’t get a picture of this, partly because the light was fading but also because I broiled mine a minute too long and the top was a little burnt. Still, it was such a simple and delicious summer dessert, that I must share with you. You could use frozen berries, but the berries will break down a bit and give off more liquid, so you’ll need to cook it longer to concentrate the liquid into a sauce. I used a mixture of berries, but feel free to use whatever is available and in season. Peaches would be a lovely substitute. Also, don’t be afraid of the pepper. I promise, it adds amazing flavor! Adapted from Cooking Light.
- 1 tablespoon lemon rind
- 1 15-ounce container organic ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh berries
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon triple sec (or other orange/citrus flavored liquer)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 tablespoons natural sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites
- Combine lemon rind and ricotta in a large bowl.
- Place berries in a medium skillet and heat to medium-high. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and cook until heated through and releasing some liquid. Add lemon juice, triple sec and black pepper and cook until mixture has thickened.
- Preheat broiler.
- Combine 3 tablespoons sugar, salt and egg whites over a double boiler over simmering water. Cook, whisking constantly, for two minutes until egg whites reach temperature of 140 degrees. Remove from heat. Using an electric mixer, beat until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/4th of the egg white mixture into the ricotta, then fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon evenly over the berries. Place under the broiler and broil until lightly browned.