Foolproof Plan for Mother's Day

Dads out there, today’s blog is for YOU and your crew.  This is the moment for you and your able-bodied crew to shine.  To show Mom how you can band together and treat her to the best homemade Mother’s Day dinner EVER!  I’ve planned a super easy and delicious menu for you guys to prepare on Sunday.  You’ll get the glory of being King of the Grill, the kids will get to help out, and Moms everywhere will thank me that the kitchen didn’t get completely trashed in the process.  You can’t go wrong!

Here’s what’s cookin’, good lookin’!

Italian Herb Pork Tenderloin & Asparagus on the Grill
Farfalle with Tomatoes, Brie, & Basil
Wicked Brownies ala Mode

Shopping list:


  • 1 lb. asparagus
  • 2 large tomatoes (I used the stem tomatoes)
  • 1 package basil
  • garlic


  • Italian Herb Marinated Pork Tenderloin (on sale, and the work is done for you!)


  • Sendik’s Wicked Brownies, choose Mom’s favorite flavor.


  • Ice Cream to go with your Wicked Brownies; optional.
  • Farfalle pasta, aka Bowties (Barilla Brand is on sale)
  • Good quality olive oil (check your pantry; you probably have this on hand already)


  • ½ lb. non-domestic, double creme brie (look for either Martin Collet or Claudel brands)
  • Grated Parmesan (stay away from the stuff in the green can.  Mom is all about QUALITY!)

By the way, aren’t these flowers gorgeous?!  Cruise by the floral department while you’re shopping for your dinner supplies.  Pick up some posies for Mom, and maybe a pretty scented candle, or a lovely serving piece!  Gift boxing and wrapping are complimentary and cheerfully supplied by the assistants in the Floral Department.  Now, let’s get cookin’!


The only thing you have to do ahead of time here is to prep the ingredients for your pasta dish, as the tomatoes, brie, and basil need to marinade for at least two hours before serving.  Also you’ll need to delegate someone to set the table.  Other than that, the rest of the meal is self explanatory and easy as pie!  We’ll start with the pasta recipe and go from there.  Ready?  Set?  COOK!!

Serves: 4-5 as a side dish; easily doubled for a main course
Source:  The Silver Palate Cookbook, by J. Rosso & S. Lukins, Copyright 1979; p.79

  • 2 large, ripe tomatoes, cored and diced into ½” cubes
  • ½ lb. non-domestic brie, such as the Martin Collet or Claudel brands, rind removed, torn into bite sized pieces (*see notes*)
  • ½ c. cleaned fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips (*see notes*), plus additional sprigs for garnish if desired
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • ½ c. good quality olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ lb. farfalle (bowtie) pasta
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Combine the tomatoes (and any juices), brie, basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a large serving bowl.  Prepare at least two hours ahead of serving time and set aside, covered, at room temperature.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add ½ tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Add the pasta and boil until tender but still firm, 8 – 10 minutes.

Drain the pasta and immediately toss it with the tomato mixture, stirring and tossing until the heat from the pasta melts the cheese.  Garnish with additional basil sprigs and serve at once, passing the pepper mill and the grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

(*notes*): Removing the rind from such gooey brie can be tricky.  The experts in the cheese department gave me a great tip:  run a serrated (or fillet) knife under super hot water, then run the knife horizontally just under the rind.  Works like a charm, but not a job for the kiddos.  Not that I had to tell you that.

Next, to easily slice your basil, make a stack of 8-10 leaves, roll the stack up tightly like a cigar.  Run your knife through the roll, forming thin slices of basil.  The proper name for this step is a ‘chiffonade’ (shiff-ah-nod). Wow your wife with this fancy French term!


Bring pork tenderloin to room temperature.  Preheat your grill on high for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium high and grill pork, turning with tongs occasionally, until pork reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees, about 20 minutes.  Transfer pork to a cutting surface and tent with tin for for 10 minutes.  Cut pork into slices and serve.


This could not be easier.  There’s no knife work involved, so it’s the perfect job for one of your kids!

Rinse the asparagus and pat it dry with paper towels.  Snap off the tough ends by bending each stalk near the base; it will break where the tough part ends.  Place the asparagus in a large Ziplock bag and drizzle in a little bit of olive oil (about a tablespoon).  Squeeze out the air and zip the bag shut.  Smush the asparagus around until each piece is coated in the oil.  Open the bag and season the asparagus with salt and pepper.  Squeeze out the air, zip the bag, and smush it around again.  Leave them in the bag until you’re ready to cook them.

Transfer the stalks to the grill, arranging them crosswise so that they don’t fall through the grates.  Grill them over medium heat, turning occasionally, until they are beginning to brown in spots, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a platter and serve.


Kids, take the brownies out of their packaging and transfer them to a pretty platter.  Serve them to Mom after dinner.  Do the dishes without complaining.  Take a shower without her begging you.  Lastly, give her a BWK (big wet kiss), and tell her how much you love her!

Cheers, Leah

Featured, Fresh, Frugal, Fabulous | May 6th, 2010