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From the food editor: This Mother's Day, ask Mom what she wants

Looking for a sweet treat for Mom? Make her a batch of Lemon Bars.
(Photo by Associated Press)

Looking for a sweet treat for Mom? Make her a batch of Lemon Bars. (Photo by Associated Press)

This one's for you, moms.

We are devoting much of this week's issue to Mother's Day, which is May 14.

I don't know about you, but food is always top of mind when I begin planning anything celebratory. I think I get this from my mom, someone who, more often than not, knows what she's eating for dinner when she gets up in the morning. When it comes to birthdays, holidays or major food outings, what we are going to eat is always a priority.

Food can be a nourishing adventure, a meaningful way to show someone you cared enough to chop and simmer and serve, a chance to make memories in and out of the kitchen.

And so it is on Mother's Day. Whether you're looking for a restaurant at which to spoil Mom (restaurant critic Laura Reiley has suggestions) or recipes to show her you care, we have you covered.

But perhaps the most important gift you can give Mom on Sunday is letting her control the day.

I turned to my mom for some advice.

"You know, I still really like when everyone chips in and takes care of her," she said. "And takes care of dinner, whether that's to be taken out for dinner or what. Just asking Mom what she wants to do for her day is good, too. If she says nothing, then let her do nothing."

Some of her ideas for how to spend the day:

• Plant flowers together in someone's yard. It's labor-intensive enough to get the whole family involved, but still a fun and soothing time.

• Find a cool bakery or tea shop and treat Mom to something she probably doesn't indulge in every day.

• Something low-key. Don't stress Mom out with too many plans or something she wouldn't normally be comfortable with.

These lemon bars are perfect for treating Mom, especially because they can be eaten after any meal of the day, or as a sweet snack. Hint: They also pair really well with sparkling wine.

easy

Lemon Bars

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the filling:
  • 4 to 6 lemons
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 3 yolks
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the crust, cream the butter and sugar until light in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Combine the flour and salt and, with the mixer on low, add to the butter until just mixed. Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and gather into a ball. Flatten the dough with floured hands and press it into a 9- by 13- by 2-inch baking sheet, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.
  4. Grate 1/2 tablespoon zest from lemons and set aside. Squeeze lemons to yield 3/4 cup juice.
  5. In a small saucepan, whisk together lemon juice, sugar, eggs and yolks, cornstarch and fine sea salt over medium heat until boiling and thickened, 2 to 5 minutes. Make sure mixture comes to a boil and stays there for 30 seconds or so, but no longer. Remove from heat and strain into a bowl. Whisk in butter, olive oil and lemon zest.
  6. When the shortbread is ready, take it out of the oven and pour the lemon filling onto the shortbread base; return the pan to the oven. Bake until topping is just set, 10 to 15 minutes more. Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold before cutting into bars and dusting with confectioners' sugar.
Source: Adapted from the New York Times

From the food editor: This Mother's Day, ask Mom what she wants 05/08/17 [Last modified: Friday, May 5, 2017 4:50pm]
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