May 6th, 2011
Sunday is Mother’s Day. I’d completely lost track! It’s been a looong week.
Aside from a great mid-week day off spent exercising, eating, getting a mani/pedi at the best ever nail salon and taking the Hungry Boy on a surprise post-school trip to a proper ice cream shoppe (yea, I called it a shoppe), this has been a tough week.
I’m in the final push to get my charity cookbook Peko Peko ready for sale and there is so much to do (side note: it’s going to be amazing!). I’ve also spent a good portion of the week worrying about my Hungry Baby. He just hasn’t been himself lately—we all agree—and it’s really disconcerting. I wanted to see the doc this week, but we have to wait until Monday.
Great. Bring on the worry. Just in time for Mother’s Day.
Okay, I’m not really going to spend my Mother’s Day weekend being a worried mess. I’ll just be one for the time it takes me to write this. Because, honestly, that’s the only way I can muster a post tonight (and I really want you to have this recipe for Mother’s Day!).
While I’m indulging my anxieties, I want to share this:
Today, I dialed into my Hungry Baby’s mood and sensed his exhaustion and need for comfort. I worked to pay genuine attention to his older brother while also attending to his needs. And tonight, I’m letting it hang out here so that I can greet both Hungry Boys with a confident smile in the morning. Through it all—maybe even because of it all—right now, I feel motherhood in every fiber of my being.
Part of our job as parents is to make it safe for our kids to slowly but surely separate from and become their own people. It’s as important for them as it is for us. As much as I ONLY wanted to be a mother today (it took until a sleepy panic set it at 9 pm to write this post and do some work on Peko Peko) I know it’s good that I’m more. That said, no matter how much I separate from those boys, they will always be a part of me. Because I’m their mama. Knowing that nourishes me and gives me faith that, no matter what, we will all be okay.
I hope that the Hungry Baby feels better tomorrow and certainly by Sunday. I hope that this is something that passes quickly. But, if he’s still not feeling like himself, I think I’ll comfort him—and myself—with this Swiss Chard Bread Pudding. The other boys also love this dish, and I hope that you and your mom will, too.
Swiss chard is in season and gorgeous right now. This savory bread pudding is a great way to use it or any other dark leafy greens. It’s perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch served alongside salad and eggs. It also makes a great dinner. I recently served it as a side to sliced steak (T-bone, baby!) with a fresh shaved fennel and radish salad. Now if that isn’t a dinner worthy of your mama, I don’t know what is! You can also go lighter by serving this this with a simple roast chicken or go vegetarian by pairing it with a super hearty dinner salad!
Happy Mother’s Day. With lots of love to all you mamas and the families that remind you that, one way or another, it’ll all be okay.
Swiss Chard Bread Pudding, adapted from Suzanne Goin
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bulb fennel, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 lb swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
3-6 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth (you can use water)
salt and pepper
1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
4 cups 1/2″ pieces of stale bread (French or peasant loaf is best)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
2. In the meantime, heat oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Saute onion, fennel, garlic and thyme until vegetables are soft and translucent. Add 3 tablespoons broth and chard. Cook until greens wilt, about 3 minutes. Add up to 3 more tablespoons of broth, as needed, to ensure that the chard doesn’t burn or dry out. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. In a bowl large enough to accommodate the bread, whisk together eggs, cream and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper and add the chard.
4. Add bread to egg/chard mixture and toss to coat all the bread. Allow to sit 2-5 minutes, until the bread soaks up the egg. Transfer bread mixture to the prepared baking dish.
5. Bake for about 1 hour, crumbling feta over the top 5 minutes before done. The bread pudding is done when the top is set and golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.