Build a crostini barzi3000/shutterstock A DIY crostini bar is the answer to your lazy Sunday prayers. Not only is it the perfect way to showcase Mom’s favorite flavors, you’re also dumping most of the work on your guests, in the most delicious way, of course. “I love crostini because you can do so many different toppings and can prep everything the night before,” says celebrity chef Donatella Arpaia, a regular judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Slice up loaves of baguette on Saturday night and store in an airtight container (or right back in the bags, twisted tightly closed). The next morning, simply arrange them on a cookie sheet, brush with a layer of olive oil (and if you’re like Arpaia, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, salt, and cracked black pepper for an extra nutty note) and bake under the broiler until golden brown. Pile on a platter and arrange a spread of your mother’s favorite toppings so she and her guests can build their own tasty bites. If she’s a lox fan, get some nice smoked salmon to layer on top of crème fraiche with capers or caviar. To really spoil mom (after all, she deserves it!), splurge on high-end delicacies; French purveyor Petrossian will ship all your crostini needs straight to your doorstep. If she’s an Italian girl at heart, lightly mix chopped cherry tomatoes with basil, garlic, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper. Gorgonzola, sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onion is another winning combo, but it’s really all about whatever Mom likes best!
Wow with a frittata soufflésta/shutterstock Nothing screams the weekend or brunch like eggs. (Speaking of, here are 50+ delicious ways to cook them.) “This cooks really fast and you can prep everything the night before. Plus, it fluffs up and makes for a really elegant presentation,” says Arpaia. It’s also another easy way to use mom’s favorite foods and flavors. Or, try Arpaia’s go-to version. Whisk together egg yolks and season with a bit of parsley, salt, pepper, and springtime ingredients like asparagus, peas, onion, and pancetta or bacon (you can chop everything the night before and store in the fridge). Whip together egg whites until they’re fluffy stiff peaks, then fold them into the egg yolk mixture, pour into a pan, and pop it in a 375-degree oven until golden and fluffed (about 15 minutes or so). Pair with a frisee salad tossed in a light vinaigrette or an antipasto.
Bake a French toast casseroleStephanie Frey/shutterstock Every good brunch needs a sweet dish to complement the savory. Instead of standing over a hot skillet flipping individual slices of French toast, opt for a casserole version of this Sunday classic. You can even build it the night before and bake it off in the morning. Dip thick slices of crusty bread in your favorite French toast mixture and layer in a baking dish. After it’s cooked, provide an array of fresh fruit, syrup, and whipped cream so Mom can really indulge. “People love this dish and it’ll make the house smell good while it’s baking, too,” says Arpaia.
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Keep it simple with bagelsOzgur Coskun/shutterstock A bagel platter is the ultimate brunch hack because there’s no cooking required! Offer a good variety of bagels (you can even cut them in half so people can try more than one kind) and a few different flavors of cream cheese. For smoked salmon fans, lay out slices of lox with all the fixings—capers, thinly sliced red onion, tomato, and lemon wedges. And, if you’re one of those people who think nothing’s as good as a New York City bagel, you can now satisfy your craving no matter where in the country you live. Delivery service Goldbely will ship a personalized order from some of the city’s top bagel shops, right to your home.
Recreate one of mom’s classicsPointImages/shutterstock Every mom has a signature dish, and what better way to show her she’s loved and appreciated (and is still your favorite chef) than to give her a break by whipping up one of her mainstays. Or, put your own twist on something she spent years cooking for you. Self-proclaimed “mama’s boy” Adam Richman, chef, author, and TV personality (Man v. Food on Travel Channel probably rings a bell) says this is a perfectly delicious and sentimental Mother’s Day surprise.
Don’t forget the drinksTobin C/shutterstock Brunch just isn’t brunch without a little booze. Elevate a classic mimosa by adding sprigs of fresh herbs like basil, mint, or rosemary. “An herbal note in a sparkling drink adds a nice freshness,” says Arpaia. Make things even more special (and fun) by swapping juice for sorbet to create Arpaia’s signature Prosecco float. Add a small scoop of lemon or peach sorbet to a flute of bubbly and garnish with a few herbs. “It’s delicious!” she says. If a Bloody Mary is more mom’s speed, let her make her own concoction. Put out a pitcher of Bloody Marys, then let guests top their glass with a stalk of celery, a pickle wedge, or crispy bacon strips. And don't forget the coffee! Forgo her daily java blend for something a bit more special, like one of Lavazza's Italian varieties.
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