Slow cooked ribs and easy-to-make salads: How to cook for Mom on Mother's Day

Less fuss, more flavor is the secret to a happy Mother's Day celebration

A special message from Lisa:

Momma-bears and Momma-mommas come in lots of forms, shapes, and sizes. On Sunday we dedicate this menu in service to all those people in your lives who have guided, shifted, and transformed you in one beautiful way or another. Gender doesn't matter, because a momma can be either and so, sometimes, the daddy is also the momma. 

Happy Day, my people.

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I'm a mother to two precocious high school monsters -- and by "monster" I mean monstrously brilliant and creative. They're not as adept as I am in the kitchen but they're game to try (most of the time). 

If you're like me, you'd love a little special attention on the day. If you're like my kids, you'd like a game plan for pleasing your Fearless Household Leader -- a plan you stand a chance of executing well. 

Slow-cooked ribs. Simple tomato tart. Layered salad of your Mom's favorite things (plus garlic croutons and quick-pickle carrots). Your Mother's Day menu.

Slow-cooked ribs. Simple tomato tart. Layered salad of your Mom's favorite things (plus garlic croutons and quick-pickle carrots). Your Mother's Day menu.

Including dessert.

Yes, I see you trembling. Dessert might seem like a bridge too far, as they say, but I've got a simple dessert to please any leader of any pack.

You will, I admit, be doing a few things ahead: Shop for ingredients on Saturday, make the garlic confit for the salad's croutons (it's easy), and quick-pickle some carrots. (Click on the boldface text to see the how-to's.)

All this is easy. (And ... If you really want to win the hearts and minds of the master of the house, you do wash, dry, and fold laundry. Trust me.)

On Sunday, it's all low-and-slow ribs, simple tomato tart (which, if you like, you can make ahead), and simple assembly of salad and dessert.

So, my brilliant readers ... how about we get started with some low-and-slow ribs?

Say yes. 

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The Ribs

Love it and leave it. 

What's that barbecue sauce? Stay tuned for the official launch of our line of sauces, vinegars, oils, and rubs,   blak•label  . 

What's that barbecue sauce? Stay tuned for the official launch of our line of sauces, vinegars, oils, and rubs, blak•label

That's the trick. Once you set these up, you'll have seven hours of slow cooking until to need to finish them up. Take Mom for a hike, a walk, worship, shop, movie. 

Ingredients

  • 2 racks baby back ribs
  • 4T. kosher salt
  • 2. T. garlic powder
  • 2 t. espresso powder
  • 1 T. smoked paprika
  • 1 T. black pepper

For the finish: 

  • 1 c. brown sugar 

Procedure

  1. Put the spices/powders on the ribs, roughly evenly. 
  2. Roast covered with foil @200F for 7 hours or until fork tender.
  3. Remove from oven. 
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar over the rib tips.
  5. Back to oven for 40 minutes.

Done. Easy. Amazing. 

Build this salad

The biggest tip I can give you to please Mom with confidence: If you must cook, cook simple things; otherwise, assemble. 

That's why a salad is your salvation. Just -- please, it's so easy -- make it tasty and beautiful.

I suggest you take your favorite greens and vegetables, crumble on goat's cheese (creamier the better -- so crumble while the cheese is cold from the fridge if you can), slice up some fresh avocado (or cube it), and do some garlic confit croutons from toast. 

Garlic confit croutons? Yes. You did make the garlic confit on Saturday, right? Because I know you did, you can take a couple of slices of good quality sourdough bread, toast it up, spread the garlic confit on it (it will melt and smell amazing), and then chop the toast into cubes. Instant croutons, world-class. 

And those quick pickle carrots? You did those on Saturday, too, right? They are truly quick, so if you forgot, you can start that Sunday morning. 

Assemble all that goodness in layers. Season. Eat. 

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Simple heirloom tomato TART

Looks gorgeous. It's easy. 

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Heirloom tomato tart

Do this right before the ribs while you have the oven all to yourself. Or make it Saturday. It's easy either way.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet puff pastry at room temperature 
  • 1-5 oz plain goat cheese at room temperature  
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pinch allspice flakes
  • 2 T. finely minced flat leaf parsley

Procedure

  1. Mix together the goat cheese with the pepper, allspice flakes, and parsley.
  2. Place an unfolded square of puff pastry on your EuroCAST griddle
  3. Prick it all over with a fork
  4. Place in a 350F oven for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and starting to brown
  5. Remove and crumble the goat cheese over the top
  6. With a spatula, gently spread the cheese over puff pastry
  7. Top with tomatoes sliced as thinly as you possibly can. A mandolin, if you have it, could be an awesome helper.
  8. Sprinkle with kosher salt 
  9. Put it back in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until bubbly and golden.

Remove. Cool. Even better, put it in the fridge and let it set up. It's great to eat right out of the refrigerator.

Yes, you can make something this beautiful. For Mom, you should.

Yes, you can make something this beautiful. For Mom, you should.

And for the finale ... 

No one wants to spend time baking the kitchen creating a dessert when you’d rather be living it up with Mama Bear. 

So don't bake. Do what you do best:  Hunt, gather, and assemble. 

  1. Buy a really great simple cake. Chocolate. Angel food. Vanilla crumb. The excellent bakery in your grocery store will have all of these. Pick your mamma's favorite. 
  2. Make fresh whipped cream.  Whip the cream with just a hint of vanilla and a bit of confectioner's sugar. Put it on the table in a beautiful bowl. 
  3. Buy gorgeous fresh fruit. 
  4. Place fruit in beautiful bowls. Put the bowls on the table, along with the cake.
  5. That should do it.
  6. Now go. Live big!
Case in point. Buy some top-notch brownies. Slice them horizontally to make layers. Spread some freshly whipped cream between the layers (vanilla and powdered sugar in there, too). Slice up the best strawberries you can find. Drop them in where it makes sense. Done and done. Be prepared to be praised. 

Case in point. Buy some top-notch brownies. Slice them horizontally to make layers. Spread some freshly whipped cream between the layers (vanilla and powdered sugar in there, too). Slice up the best strawberries you can find. Drop them in where it makes sense. Done and done. Be prepared to be praised. 

Paul WardComment