Dennis Patillo is a committed foodie and chef. He has spent a lifetime studying foods from around the world as well as regional cuisines.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Since 1908, when Anna Marie Jarvis founded Mother’s Day in the United States, it has been celebrated on the second Sunday in May. Mothers deserve a day of their own, and as a testament to that sentiment, Mother’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, often on the second Sunday in May. If, however, you live in England or Ireland, the day for moms is the fourth Sunday of Lent. If you live in an Arab country, mothers are revered on March 31.

This is a special day to show gratitude and appreciation for mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, stepmothers, foster mothers, and anyone that has performed motherly duties in your life. So do not forget your wife, girlfriend or significant other.

We show our appreciation with gifts, cards, flowers, phone calls (at the very least) and meals. In recent past years, Mother’s Day was the single busiest day in the nation for restaurants. During this current twilight zone that we call COVID-19, that may not necessarily be the case. There is no question that mothers like to be taken out for a meal, but it may be even more special if you prepare something delicious you can share with that special person on that day. Whether you are an accomplished chef or a real novice in the kitchen, maybe you will find one of the following suggestions sparks your interest and imagination.

Everyone loves pancakes, right? You can increase the “special” factor by making the pancakes with ginger and ricotta cheese. Begin by adding whole wheat flour, baking powder, ground ginger, superfine sugar, and toasted coconut flakes and then stirring to combine. To that mixture add one pound of ricotta cheese, milk, and the yolks of four eggs. Beat the four whites into soft peaks and fold them gently into the mixture you have just made. Cook in the way you would make “normal” pancakes and then top with thinly sliced bananas and wildflower honey. For good measure, you can add a nice piece of the honeycomb.

Maybe you are thinking about an egg dish. You do not want to make mom scrambled eggs or anything as pedestrian but delicious as eggs over easy. How about some mini frittatas with sweet potatoes and leeks? We will use a nonstick muffin pan for this. Steam sweet potatoes that you have cut into half-inch dice until tender. Thinly slice the white part of two leeks and rinse thoroughly. Because of the way they are grown, leeks can be a little dirty. Your mom would not like a gritty frittata. Sauté the leeks in butter until they just begin to color and are very soft. Add a clove of crushed garlic and cook for about a minute more. Set aside and cool. When cool, add the steamed sweet potatoes and some feta cheese. Place rounds of parchment in the bottom of the muffin pan and then divide the leeks, sweet potato, and feta mixture evenly among the muffin holes. Whisk eggs and heavy cream together and pour into the muffin pan until each hole is three quarters filled. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden and set. Let rest for at least five minutes before teasing the frittatas out to cool on a wire rack. These are wonderful warm or at room temperature for a truly no-stress meal.

You might be thinking about a dish that is simple but very showy. Mini breakfast pies are just the ticket. Begin by making your favorite pie crust. If you do not have a favorite pie crust recipe or if your mother would not believe you made your own pie crust, you can buy pie crust dough and live up to your mom’s expectations. Cut the dough into about 6½-inch rounds and gently press into 4-inch tartlet pans. Make sure to press the dough into the flutes of the pan. Blind bake the crust for about 10 minutes. Now line the crust with a layer of sliced ham, sprinkle with Italian flat-leaf parsley and some finely diced tomatoes. Carefully crack two eggs into each pan and add three or four tablespoons of heavy cream and some grated Parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake the pies for 15-20 minutes until the egg whites are set. Serve hot.

I hope these suggestions have given you food for thought. Each recipe can be easily modified to your mother’s favorite flavors and tastes. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Dennis Patillo is a committed foodie and chef. He has spent a lifetime studying foods from around the world as well as regional cuisines. His passion is introducing people to ingredients and techniques that can be used in their home kitchen. He and his wife, Louise, own The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar.

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