Treat Mom On Her Special Day

FOOD STUFF

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What special treat can family members do this year for Mom? Most moms dream of a fine meal they don't have to shop for, cook or clean up afterwards. Often going out for breakfast on Mother's Day can mean dealing with long lines and slow service. But Dad and the kids can rise to the occasion and prepare a meal themselves at home that can be a real treat.

Even the dad who only makes breakfast on weekends can cater a fine restaurant meal at home, with kids as willing sous chefs. It's easy when your family shops where they can find such shortcut items as frozen appetizers, readymade pastry, organic produce, fine wines, quality meats, great breads and fabulous cheesecake, ready to thaw and serve.

For a crowning touch, add an unexpected and affordable luxury gift and Mom just might decide to sign on for another year.

Mother's Day Game Plan

Here's the game plan for catering a Mother's Day meal at home.

  • Chill the champagne or make a delicious punch a few hours before the meal.
  • Read the instructions on the box, then pop those frozen appetizers in the oven.
  • Prepare and cook the salmon.
  • Slice some fresh fruit or bread.
  • Finish with a deliciously moist cheesecake -- a Mom favorite. (Remember to thaw it beforehand.)
  • Serve Mom in bed -- let her relax and enjoy the meal and her day.
  • Have the kids clean up the kitchen.
  • Watch Mom smile.

Mom's Secret Wish List

Mom usually puts the needs of her family first. But if she were really honest, she would say she'd love to have something from this list. And, Dads, when you shop smart, these become affordable luxuries.

1. Diamonds. They're always a girl's best friend. Diamond solitaire earrings go with everything -- jeans on the soccer field, a suit at the office or workout clothes at the gym.

2. Designer Fragrances. Perfume and cologne in her special scent makes Mom feel pampered and special.

3. Furniture. Surprise her with something she's been wanting, whether it's the armoire for the great room, a new desk for the home office or even a new leather sofa.

4. Chocolate. Always a treat, especially now that health experts have declared that dark chocolate is actually good for us. Now, will it be Godiva or Ghirardelli?

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Cranberry Splash is a refreshing and attractive drink for summer.

5. Culinary Ware. If Mom has been trying to make culinary masterpieces from a mismatched set of cookware from her early married days, it's time for an upgrade. Or, maybe she'd love a stand mixer or a great platter.

Cranberry Splash Punch

Makes: 8 servings

4 cups cranberry juice

3 cups pineapple juice

1/2 cup cherry juice

2 cups puréed strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)

6 cups ice cubes

2 lemons, sliced

2 limes, sliced

3 cups orange soda or ginger ale

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Salmon fillets with spinach and herbs, wrapped in a flaky pastry, creates an elegant, but easy dish.

Mix all juices and puréed berries and chill thoroughly. To serve, put punch in handsome container and add ice and fruit. Slowly stir in orange soda.

Salmon Wellington

Puff pastry encloses flavorful salmon, spinach and herbs in a main dish fit for a special occasion. Wellington preparations are thought to take a great deal of time and skill to make. However, with the time saver of purchased puff pastry, it's a breeze. The bundles can be prepared up to a week in advance and then frozen. Just pop them in the oven when needed.

Note: Puff pastry must be cold (but not frozen) when placed into a hot oven in order for the pastry to become light and flaky.

Makes: 4 servings

1 tablespoon sweet butter

1-1/2 tablespoons shallots or onion, minced

1/2 cup frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained,

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 tablespoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon thyme or dill, minced

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

1-1/2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

4 thick, skinless fillets of salmon (about 6 ounces each)

2 packages puff pastry (defrosted in refrigerator)

1 lightly beaten egg

1 teaspoon milk

Heat sauté pan with butter over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 3 to 4 minutes until softened. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spinach, nutmeg, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper. Sauté 2 to 3 minutes; remove from heat and stir in feta. Taste for seasoning and let cool.

Lightly salt and pepper each piece of salmon and top with 2 tablespoons of spinach mixture.

Roll out pastry sheets on lightly floured board. Cut 1 piece of pastry for bottom of each fillet - about 1 inch larger than the salmon. Cut a second piece large enough to drape over fillet and touch counter, plus 1 inch to spare all the way around.

Brush edge of smaller sheet with lightly beaten egg mixed with milk. Place 1 piece of salmon in center of pastry. Drape larger piece over salmon and seal the two pieces of dough together by folding and pleating like a piecrust. Repeat for each "package." Chill at least 30 minutes or freeze up to 1 week before baking.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush top of each package with a small amount of egg/milk mixture. Put on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and a dusting of corn meal. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 23 minutes, until golden. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

From Family Features

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