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Cooking With Myra: Weekend of memories

By By Myra Starkey
May 13, 2014 at 12:13 a.m.

Hannah's delicious Nutella and Oreo pie

Hannah's DELICIOUS NUTELLA and OREO pie

Oreo crust

•  2 cups Oreo chocolate cookie crumbs, scrape out the filling and use only the cookie part to make crumbs (OK, go ahead and eat at least half of the filling)

•  8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in microwave. Place cookies in the bowl of a food processor and process. Pour in butter and pulse on and off until mixture is wet. Press mixture in the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate. Refrigerate for 30 minutes so crust can harden. Remove from refrigerator and bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

Nutella filling

• 2 cups Nutella

• 11/2 cups mascarpone cheese

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/2 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts*

Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat Nutella, mascarpone and salt until fluffy. Spread into the cooled cookie crust and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Top with chopped hazelnuts. The pie will be firm and will cut easily. Cut small wedges (this is very rich) and serve with a spoonful of salted caramel ice cream (you can purchase this part) or vanilla.

*Toasting hazelnuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast hazelnuts for 15 minutes then wrap in a kitchen towel for one minute to allow steam to fill towel. Remove skin off hazelnuts. They are very hot, so you may need to use an oven mitt when removing skin.

Last weekend, Taylor and I invited all our children home to celebrate Mother's Day. I realize this day is not on the level of Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter, but it was an excuse to have my kids home and let me love on them.

My mother died two years ago, and I know how much you miss someone when they are gone, especially on days set aside for them. Years ago, I thought of Mother's Day as a time to honor my mom and her years of selfless sacrifice for my sisters and me. With her passing, I have somehow become the one who is celebrated, and for this, I am grateful.

Family weekends are probably more of a treat for the parents than for the kids - or at least they are at my kids' age. They do love good food, and they know when we get together the meals will be special. So that's definitely an added incentive.

We decided to head south to the house in Rockport. Our guests for the weekend included Taylor's parents, John and L'nell; our good friends from Victoria, Janet and Bill; and Patti, Hannah's mother-in-law and my friend. The other mothers insisted they help with the food, so I let them. Having help is always nice.

Shopping for the food, cooking the recipes, eating the meals and then cleaning up the kitchen are all things that are most pleasurable if done with others. Patti, who is from Temple, brought barbecue for Friday from Schoepf's Old Time Bar-B-Que in Belton. That meal was easy for all of us.

On Saturday morning, the storm clouds from the north had blown past, leaving behind blue skies and cooler temperatures. We all ate pastries, drank coffee and mostly just sat around until noon. The guys went out in the boat. None of them really know how to fish. My two young adult sons just wanted to be pulled behind the boat down the Intracoastal canal using a surfboard like skis. They brought back videos so they could show me their skill level.

The women went shopping. Hannah and Ben are buying their first house, and like all young couples, they are searching for good furniture at a great price. We stopped at a couple of antique stores but found nothing she liked, then went to a few clothing stores and Wal-Mart for some art supplies. Once back at the house that afternoon, we started the Mothers' Day celebration supper preparations by chopping, dicing and pulsing in the food processor.

I intended to make balsamic vinegar pearls, which are a molecular feat I failed to accomplish that night. I'll try again. These gelatin pearls look like caviar and maintain their shape until bitten into, at which time they release the balsamic vinegar taste. I had these in a fancy restaurant on my recent trip to New Orleans and wanted to try to recreate them.

I put Miles, my oldest son, in charge of the barbecue pit. He flame broiled the scallops and shrimp. They were layered on arugula, sweet corn kernels dressed with a chili-lime dressing and tomatoes bathed in basil puree - a flavor burst for sure. L'nell brought her homemade dinner rolls, which are always appreciated. She even made extra for the kids to take home. Hannah made a delicious nutella pie, which she prepared with an Oreo crust. The crust is made from the dark cookie part without the cream stuffing.

The dessert was delicious, sweet and a perfect ending for our celebration. We stayed at the table for another hour telling stories of childhood until we finally had to get up and clean the kitchen. The evening ended far too quickly because I felt so blessed to have my family and friends around my table enjoying food and each other.

The next morning, I prepared fresh Louisiana beignets covered with heaps of powdered sugar. Before you give me too much credit, you should know I used the Cafe du Monde mix, which is better and 10 times faster than my homemade version. The kids loved this breakfast.

I know it's not healthy and does not meet any of the daily nutritional requirements except those of grease and sugar. I've been serving the kids these since they were little, and I know they have fond memories of these carb bombs. That is what time with the family is all about.

Sadly, all my grownup children left for their own towns and lives, leaving Taylor and I to return to ours. The hope is that we will all be together again soon.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or email myra@vicad.com.

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