Whidbey Recipes

"Yesterday, my Mom and Dad attended the 8th birthday party of one of their several great-grandchildren. Nothing especially remarkable about that, until you consider that it's been one heck of a year for my Mom, and when I look back over the past months, it's remarkable that she's here at all, let alone attending a great-granddaughter's birthday party. Less than a year ago, late in June, at the age of 91, Mom lost something quite precious to her - her right leg. To keep it short and simple, she'd developed an aneurism behind the right knee which had been blocking circulation. When it was found, she first underwent a major operation to try to save the leg and when that didn't work, in less than a week went through a second major operation during which her right leg was removed below the knee. We were all in shock.Frankly, most of us who were there and seeing her every day didn't believe she'd make it through and, for a few days, things were touch and go. But then one morning I walked into her hospital room and found her sitting up, dressed in a pretty pink bed jacket, putting on a bit of makeup. Surprised is an understatement. We talked a bit and it was obvious she'd decided at some point during the night that she was not about to depart this life just yet, or, as she told me, I'm not going to leave your father for all those little widows who're waiting to get their hands on him.She began eating, going to therapy and getting used to life as a one-legged lady. She was released to a nursing care facility where they worked her hard to get in shape for using a prosthetic leg. Believe me, it's quite a sight to see a tiny, 95 lb. white-haired lady strapped to an exercise machine pulling and pushing weights. I never thought I'd be pumping iron at 91, she said to me one day as I watched her work out. The entire family was increasingly in awe of her determination and just plain grit. We knew she had bad days when she could barely haul herself out of bed and was discouraged and frustrated, but next day, there she'd be again, joking with her therapist and talking to Stumpy, which is what she called her half-leg when it frequently jumped, twitched and tingled involuntarily. Stumpy is trying to dance again, she'd say, bringing tears to my eyes and chuckles from the nurses.It's been a rough 10 months for Mom and for Dad, who took over many of the duties she'd been handling for more than 70 years, but you'd never have known it yesterday at the birthday party. She walked in, dressed in casual slacks and a soft, fluffy white sweater, and Katie, the birthday girl, ran up, gave her great-grandmother a hug and said, Oh, good, you have your leg on today. And so the party proceeded, with four generations of females in attendance, and the most beautiful, incredible one of all was a 92-year old lady with a wooden leg.Happy Mother's Day, Mom; you continue to amaze us all.RecipesBrunch on Mother's Day is a long-standing tradition in our family, occasionally eaten out, but more often in one of our homes, with as many family members as possible joining in. This Sunday, we'll be at Mom's but Dad and I will do the cooking. I'm reviving a show-off souffle recipe I don't use often because, as is the nature of souffles, timing is critical and I usually don't want the falling souffle hassle. This Mother's Day is special, however, and she loves dishes like this, so.......Mother's Day Omelet Souffle9 large eggs, separated3/4 cup sugar3 T. flour1 t. finely grated orange peel6 T. unsalted butter1/2 cup fresh orange juiceFor sauce2 T. unsalted butter2 T. sugar1/2 t. finely grated orange peel1/2 cup fresh orange juice3 cups sliced fresh strawberries1. With electric mixer, beat egg whites on high until foamy, then gradually beat in 9 T. of the sugar until whites hold stiff, moist peaks. Don't overbeat, or souffle may separate and cook in layers.2. In a small mixing bowl, beat the yolks, gradually adding flour, until mixture is thick and light yellow. Beat in 1/2 t. of the orange peel, then gently but thoroughly fold the yolks into the whites.3. Melt the butter over medium heat in a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan (one with almost straight sides works best) or better yet, an oval shaped metal pan/dish you can use on the stovetop and in the oven (2 qt. capacity). When butter is melted, stir in 3 T. of the sugar, the orange juice and remaining orange peel. Remove from heat when mixture is bubbling hard and gently slide large spoonsful of the egg mixture into the hot sauce. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 10 to 15 minutes, depending upon pan, but bake until the souffle is lightly browned on top, set a bit around the edge and moist and slightly creamy in the center. The center should jiggle slightly when the pan is gently shaken. If you prefer a firmer souffle, bake the longer time, or until center jiggles only slightly when the pan is shaken.4. While the souffle is baking, make warm strawberry sauce: In a 10- or 12-inch frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in sugar, orange peel and juice and, when bubbling, stir in the sliced strawberries and remove pan from heat. Serve the souffle immediately after you take it from the oven, spooning portions into bowls or plates, and be sure to spoon all the way to the bottom to get some of the orange sauce with each serving; put a spoonful of the warm strawberries on the top of each serving, with a sprig of fresh mint, if available. Serves 5-6.Note: Have a plate of warmed scones ready. Serve a glass of chilled champagne (or juice of choice) and a melon or fruit cup to eat while the souffle is baking, then serve the souffle and scones and coffee or tea. An outstanding but light brunch!This currant scone is easy because it's made in one round loaf you can keep warm easily, then cut into wedges just when ready to serve.Sunday Morning Spotted Scones2 cups flour1 T. baking powder1/2 t. baking soda1 t. salt1/4 cup cold vegetable shortening, cut into pea-size pieces1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces1/3 cup dried currants (dried cranberries are also excellent)2 T. sour cream1/2 to 3/4 cup milkEgg wash (beat 1 egg with 1 t. water)1. Into a bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend in the shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the currants.2. In a small bowl, beat together the sour cream and milk until well combined, then add to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork just until it forms a sticky but manageable dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 30 seconds then pat it gently into about an 8-inch round about 3/4 of an inch thick. Transfer the round to a buttered 8-inch baking pan, pressing it gently into the pan into an even round. Brush the top with the egg wash and use a sharp knife just to score the top into 8 wedges. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 1/2 hour or until it is golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cut into wedges. Serve warm, with butter and jam."

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