Kitchen Shrink: Celebrate Mother's Day with a liquid brunch

KITCHEN SHRINK:

To honor moms at all stages of mothering, here are some calming cocktails with a twist, along with some soothing smoothies, for fun brunch food pairings that the kids can help prepare for their special big girl on Sunday, May 14.

Bloody Mary, Quite Contrary

For moms who enjoy savory sips, nothing wets the whistle like a classic Bloody Mary, blending vodka, tomato juice, hot sauce and Worcestershire with a celery stirring stick. Creative mixologists across the land have tweaked this version making more combinations than mothers' hair colors.

There's a Bloody-free Mary without the tomato juice, and a hickory-infused rendition with honey-glazed bacon stirring strips. Asian-inspired Marys include wasabi mustard, chili oil, and sriracha, oyster and soy sauces, while south of the border versions amp up the heat with crushed jalapenos and chipotle sauce, along with fresh lime juice and cilantro.

The Dirty Bloody Mary (like the Dirty Martini) blends olive brine into the cocktail, a detoxifying version swaps out tomato juice for beet juice, while farm-to-table Mary combines fresh pureed Heirloom tomatoes with assorted seasonal herbs.

Frittatas and quiches of all manners, hash skillets, assorted smoked fish, and a prosciutto and melon platter nicely complement the Bloody Mary.

Blender Babes

Silky smoothie combinations can suit a wide variety of moms' palates, dietary restrictions and preferences:

For vegan options, use pureed fruits and juices or almond, coconut, soy, hazelnut, hemp, oat or other non-dairy drinks as a creamy base;

Go nutty with a protein-rich boost from tahini or almond, cashew, hazelnut or peanut butters blended in creamy almond milk with a dollop of fruit preserves;

Concoct a fiber-rich, probiotic powerhouse with kefir yoghurt or fermented black tea known as kombucha, along with a mix of fresh berries, and a sprinkle of hearty wheat germ;

Get your goat with sheep milk or yoghurt, a splash of tangerine juice, chestnut honey, and fresh shredded ginger;

Go green by adding a handful of fresh kale, spinach, basil, cucumber, frozen peas, avocado or a scoop of matcha green tea powder for an antioxidant oomph;

Spike the smoothie with your favorite liqueur, including Amaretto (an almond essence), Frangelico (a hint of hazelnut), peach schnapps, blackberry spirits or crème de menthe.

••• Mimosa Mamas

The quintessential drink of Mother's Day is the classic Mimosa, which simply blends fresh squeezed orange and tangerine juices with Champagne. For a refreshing change, add a splash of St. Germain or elderberry liqueur, or up the ante with a double dose of orange from Grand Marnier or orange bitters. Concoct a liquid Creamsicle with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or gelato into the cocktail. Or swap out the orange juice for zippy pineapple, tart cranberry, refreshing watermelon, or lip-puckering grapefruit juice.

For a sweeter mimosa, add a pinch of coconut sugar, agave syrup or orange blossom honey. For a more potent one add a dose of tequila. Finally, for eye candy float fresh raspberries, pomegranate seeds, strawberry slices or mint leaves on top.

••• The Bell(ini) of the Ball

This sparkling wine cocktail with a sassy Mediterranean flair is an attention grabber at any celebration. Named after the Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini, the original concoction used Italian sparkling wine called Prosecco, while the Americanized version opts for Champagne. The bubbly is simply blended with fresh peach nectar or puree in a Champagne flute.

Garnish with peach slices soaked in lemon juice to prevent browning. To jazz up the classic Bellini, add some fresh basil, or replace the peach puree with other seasonal beauties like rhubarb, strawberries or plums.

Mom's Day favorites, such as Meyer lemon pancakes stuffed with ricotta cheese, Crème Brule French toast, pecan sticky buns, mascarpone crepes smothered in seasonal berries, or assorted scones with fig or chestnut preserves pair nicely with Smoothies, Mimosas and Bellinis.

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••• Recipe: Tropical Chia Smoothie

Ingredients: 1-cup almond or coconut milk; 1/2 cup frozen mango; 1/2 frozen banana; 1/4-cup chia seeds; 1 tablespoon honey; 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger; a few drops almond extract.

Method: Puree ingredients in a blender except seeds. Pour into mason jar and stir in seeds. Let sit for 10 minutes, stirring again. Refrigerate until mixture thickens. Garnish with banana coins on rim.

Catharine Kaufman can be reached by e-mail: kitchenshrink@san.rr.com

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