Mother’s day is soon here and it’s a day that should be extra specialfor the moms in our lives. Denise Mangouras lost her mother, Lily Kokkonis, when she was just 20. Her mom’s best friend did something for her that she will always treasure: she put together all her mother’s recipes into a cookbook so she could remember her mother by the scrumptious meals she had made for her. Denise shared this recipe with me. “This was my mom’s favorite recipe: lentil soup. She made it at least once a week.” And I’m sure when Denise makes it for own family she can’t help but relive the times her mother made it for her. Memories are good.
FAKIE (GREEK LENTIL SOUP)
1 1/3 cup lentils – rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup low sodium canned, crushed tomato
4 cups water
5 large garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
oregano to taste
salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon vinegar
Put lentils in a large pot, cover with an inch of water and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse and drain lentils again. In pot, sauté onion in oil until soft: add lentils and crushed t omat oes. Sauté for a c oup le of minut es. Add wat er, garlic, bay leaves, oregano and pepper. Return to boil and then turn down heat to simmer for 30 minutes or uniil lentils are tender. Add salt to tast e. Makes about 6 servings
“We all have our Greek names. We all go by nicknames. My mom’s real name was Evangelia and Lia was named af ter her. So Lia’s real name is Evangelia. Mine is Dionisia and Roni’s is Fevronia. Roni was named af ter Johnny’s mom.” ~ Denise Mangouras
Is it time to start your own traditions? Honestly, if you’re a mom like me, I really would love for someone to cook for me on Mother’s day! It doesn’t have
to be a gourmet meal, but these next few recipes w ill certainly make it look like you’re a gourmet chef (and impress mom)! They are super simple, seasonal (most ingredients you’ll f ind at the Rochester Downt own Farmer’s Market) and delicious.
ROASTED BEET, CHEVRE (SOFT GOAT CHEESE) AND WALNUT SALAD
2 medium-size beets
1 Tbsp. of olive oil
4 cups mixed greens
4 oz. chevre
1/4 cup walnuts or almonds
your favorite vinaigrette
Heat oven to 350. Wash beets, peel skins, cut in to quarters and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Place pan in oven and roast for about 1 hour or until a f ork can be fully inserted into the soft beet. Meanwhile, rinse salad greens and place on a serving plate. Remove beets from oven and let cool. Cut into thin slices and arrange on t op of salad greens. Crumble chevre over the top and sprinkle walnuts or almonds. Use your favorite vinaigrette dressing to finish it off. Voila! A beautiful salad fit for a queen. Serves 4.
PAN SEARED LAMB CHOPS WITH BALSAMIC REDUCTION
8 lamb chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic
For the balsamic reduction:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons butter
Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat: add garlic and lamb chops. Depending up on how thick your lamb chops are, each side should cook 5 to 8 minutes. Cook to desired doneness, although medium rare is the tastiest way to serve lamb. Next let’s do the sauce! Remove lamb chops from pan and keep warm. Scraping up the garlic bits and brown from the bottom, stir and add the balsamic vinegar. Continue stirring for 5 t o 8 minutes until the vinegar reduces into a semi-thick sauce. Once thickened add the butter and stir until melted. Return the lamb chops to the pan and coat both sides with the sauce. Remove chops and reserve sauce for topping. You will never look at lamb the same. Serves 4.
ASPARAGUS WITH HOMEMADE HOLLANDAISE SAUCE
1 pound farm fresh asparagus
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 sticks of unsalted butter (1/2 pound)
dash of salt
dash of cayenne or white pepper
Steam asparagus in asparagus steamer or sauté in a little olive oil until fork tender. For Hollandaise Sauce: Separate egg yolks and place in blender. Add the lemon juice and seasonings. Beat on high speed for just a few seconds. Melt sticks of butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Still blending at top speed, immediately start pouring the hot melted butter in a thin stream into the egg mixture, sauce will be a thick cream. Taste the sauce and blend in more seasonings and lemon juice or to the exact consistency or taste you like. I like it as a thick, creamy sauce that will stick to your asparagus! Serves 4.