My entire life I wanted to be a mother. I had my future children named by the time I was 4, so I think my parents were pleasantly surprised when I actually got married first. I know it sounds cliche, but the day Tatjana was born was without a doubt the happiest day of my life.

For the past 11 years I have been a long distance mother. We’ve had to work harder at communicating than most mothers and daughters…we never had the luxury of taking each other for granted. Every phone call, letter, email, and visit had to count to keep us connected. That is why we are so extraordinarily close. She is my favorite person on the planet. Being her mother has given my life such purpose and joy.


One of my fondest culinary memories is of surprising my own mother with breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day. I was 6 years old, and had just learned the basics of scrambled eggs and toast. I graduated to omelets several years later when I had my first proper cooking lesson…a royal lesson!


As part of a promotion for English products in the early 1970’s, my father flew in a big red double decker bus, a London black cab (complete with a Cockney driver named Tony),

and Lord Litchfield for an exhibition of his photographs shown at the Younker Brothers flagship store in Des Moines.

After practicing curtsey’s for several weeks before his arrival, I was disappointed to find Lord Litchfield so completely unpretentious and down to earth. It was bizarre watching a member of the British Royal family playing with my sister’s hamster on the floor of our family room….especially when Patty got annoyed with him for making her hamster run on the hamster wheel for too long.

He also happened to be the first vegetarian I’d ever met…something akin to being an alien from Mars after my Midwestern “meat and potatoes” upbringing. To ease mom’s embarrassment over preparing T-bone steaks for dinner, he graciously offered to make us all omelets. Patty and I sat on the kitchen counter, watching intently as he showed us how to brown the butter to bring out the nutty flavor before adding the scrambled eggs, fresh herbs, and cheese.

Since omelets are the perfect breakfast in bed (or brunch) idea for Mother’s Day, I thought I would share my Lord Snowden tips for browning butter, my “basic omelet” recipe, and some of my favorite flavor combinations that you can use to impress mom. Or you can try letting your imagination run wild and create your own perfect omelet!

To brown the butter: Melt butter as you normally would over medium heat in a skillet. Butter goes from brown to burnt very quickly, so keep an eye on it and stir constantly to distribute the heat evenly. The milk solids will seperate, then the butter will begin to turn color…once it is a deep golden color and you can smell the nutty scent, pull it off the heat immediately. Strain the browned butter to remove any bits. In addition to omelets; brown butter (also known as Beurre Noisette) adds a wonderfully complex, rich, nutty flavor to fish, pasta, vegetables, and baked goods such as cookies and butter cream icings.

The Basic Omelet: Be sure to have all your ingredients prepped in advance because eggs cook quickly.

Serves: 1

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cream (for a richer more decadent omelet) or milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon brown butter

Directions:

1).Whisk the eggs and cream in a small bowl until well blended. Add salt and pepper to taste (plus any herbs…thyme, chives, dill, basil etc…you wish to use).

2). Heat the tablespoon of brown butter in a 6 inch nonstick skillet. Add the egg mixture. Once the eggs starts to cook, use a spatula to gently ease the corners of the omelet to allow most of the uncooked mixture underneath.

3). If adding further ingredients, do so while the egg mixture in the center is not quite set and remove pan from heat. The ambient heat will finnish cooking the omelet. Gently fold one half of the omelet over, slide onto a plate, and serve immediately.

My Flavor Combination Suggestions:

    • Gruyere cheese + smoked turkey (ham or cooked bacon) + pinch nutmeg


    • Feta + roasted red peppers + spinach


    • French brie + steamed asparagus + black truffles


    • onion + chopped red pepper + chopped green pepper + diced ham + cooked bacon + sprinkled with hot sauce


    • goats cheese + fresh thyme + smoked salmon


    • Buffala Mozzarella + seeded and thinly sliced tomato + thinly sliced avocado + fresh basil


    • Fontina cheese, stemmed arugala, and Itaian turkey sausage (cooked, and crumbled)


  • sharp cheddar + broccoli + pinch of cayenne

Serving Suggestions: Serve toast with butter and/or jam, croisants, or muffins; 1/2 grapefruit, strawberries and cream, or fruit salad; tea or coffee with milk and sugar, and fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice. Be sure to lay a flower across the tray or in a small vase to show mom how much you love and appreciate her.

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