This Sunday is Mother's Day - a super special time for moms, grandmothers, and moms of fur kids with four paws like me. This day is a reminder of my mother, a hardworking woman whom is now in parent heaven. Her traits were admirable and included intelligent, compassionate, witty and encouraging. She is the one who nudged me to finish high school when I wanted to drop out. She is the one who told me I could always be a secretary but aim to be an author. (My mother was a devout reader.) She is the one - an awesome cook and baker-ess - who groomed me to be a better kid, teenager and lady with moxie.
Thanks to film "The Devil Wears Prada," I tried something new, Jarlsberg cheese, a decadent food my mom would have loved. There's a memorable scene when actor Anne Hathaway's character is fed up with her job; her sweet-loving boyfriend (actor Adrian Grenier) whipped up a comforting eight-dollar grilled cheese sandwich. Blame it on the cheese. (Yes, creamy, buttery, nutty flavored Jarlsberg is worth the price and calories.)
Speaking of jobs ... A few years ago, I wrote an article for a national woman's magazine. The editor was moved by my up-close and personal story, that she paid for me to have my hair and make-up done for a photo shoot. Of course, I had to include my dog Simon (because a dog played a role in the piece). When the photographer-for-hire from the North Shore arrived at my cabin, like a well-meaning mother, I offered a spread of eats: cheese, French bread, and cookies. He was a no-nonsense artist. Sadly, he didn't take a break, nor eat the edibles. My feelings were hurt. And today, I'm thinking if I'd given the food more TLC - like mothers do - he would have indulged. So, here is a re-do.
4 slices of Texas Toast
6-8 ounces Jarlsberg cheese
2 tablespoons European style butter
4 large slices fresh tomato
Red onion, 4 slices
Ground black pepper to taste
In a large deep frying pan on medium-low heat, place bread into the melted butter. Top with cheese. When brown and crispy, remove. Put cheese toast onto a plate and top each one with a slice of tomato and onion. Put into microwave till melted. Sprinkle with pepper. Serves 2-4.
1/2 cup premium semi-dark chocolate chips
1/8 cup half and half
1/2 tablespoon European-style butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 cups fresh spring fruit cubes (bananas, strawberries, Granny Smith apples, and marshmallows)
Pour chocolate chips into a bowl. Add milk and butter. Microwave for about 40 seconds till melted. Add vanilla. Stir well. Keep in dish and place on large plate full of fresh fruit chunks. Use toothpicks to dip sweet bites into fondue. Serves 4. (You can double the chocolate recipe if preferred.)
In a 2-quart glass container, add 4-5 tea bags (chamomile or black). Cover and put in the late morning/early afternoon Tahoe sunshine for two to three hours. After three or four hours, take out the bags and put into the fridge. Serve with ice cubes and slices of fresh lemon. Add honey if desired. Serves 4-6.
On Wednesday, the day I put on my "Cookin' at Callie's" hat, I prepared all three treats for Mother's day - even though I'm an orphan - and I felt my mom's guardian angel-like presence in the kitchen. These dishes work without a lot of work. The sandwich boasts pizazz with the comfort cheese. The dark creamy chocolate and cold, juicy red strawberries are sweet. The iced tea is a taste of spring. The sandwiches, fruit, and beverage are perfect for lunch on Mother's Day. I hope there are plenty of books, gourmet kitchens and chocolate in heaven, for my mom's sake. Happy Mother's Day. I love you.
Motto: Mothers are precious beings. As my father told me many times: "Treat your mother with respect because you only get one."
- Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include "The Healing Powers" series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, and Coffee) published by Kensington. Her new books "The Healing Powers of Coffee" and "Animal Attraction: A Collection of Tales & Tails" will be released this summer. Her website is www.calorey.com.