Yesterday was Mother’s Day and my Facebook feed overwhelmed with gratitude and love for mothers everywhere. It was a tough day for me. Even though it’s been over a decade since she left, the sadness is only buried deeper but never forgotten. I thought of going to the mausoleum but did not want to face the quiet stillness inside the building. I avoided any places that serve brunch because they were packed with families celebrating mothers of every generation. I went skating first thing in the morning, just like any typical Sunday. I stopped for drinks at a cafe on my way home and went grocery shopping. I spent my whole weekend cleaning the house top to bottom, just the way she liked it. I also cooked a steak dinner for Sunday night. Absolutely uncharacteristic of me but steak was her favourite special occasion splurge. If she is here with me, this is exactly the dinner I would cook to indulge her on this special day.
Mother's Day Steak Dinner
You may find my choice of Montreal Steak Spice curious. After all, it is premade product right off the store shelf. It’s been years since I last used a bottle but mom used it often on chicken, pork, and yes, steak when she cooked. The garlic and black pepper tasted as pungent as I remember. The lean bison steak benefited from the robust seasoning. I seared each side of the steak about 3 minutes to serve medium rare.
Crimini mushroom shallot gravy was a departure from mom’s cooking. She did not know how to make gravy from scratch. We used to always open a can of mushroom gravy on steak dinner night and doctored it with more sliced button mushrooms. As it turns out, making gravy from scratch isn’t exactly rocket science. I simply sauté shallot and sliced crimini mushroom in butter. I made a roux with equal parts flour and butter and then thin it with beef stock until desired consistency. Lastly I returned the sautéed shallot and mushroom to the pan and season. My can opener remained undisturbed in the kitchen drawer.
The garlic parmesan mashed potato was a new recipe for me. Cook’s Illustrated sent me the recipe to test a week ago. I found it interesting to use a mix of fresh and powder garlic to season the spuds with a mellow flavour. I usually mash my potatoes in the stand mixer using the paddle attachment. This time, I ran them through my food mill and the result was spectacular. It was the creamiest and fluffiest mashed potato I ever made. The extra elbow grease was worthwhile investment.
Our dessert of chocolate chip banana cake couldn’t be easier if I try. I adapted Dan Lepard’s ginger banana cake recipe for a bit of chocolate treat but otherwise followed it to a T. The whole wheat red fife flour gave the cake some wholesome veneer. Did I mention I made the cake in 10 minutes flat from scaling ingredients to cleaning up? Sure the cake spent close to an hour baking in the oven but it wasn’t like I had to babysit it. A note of caution: the batter was meant to be thin and it sloshed around in my pan. Don’t get alarmed since this is cake and not its sturdier banana bread cousin. The finished cake turned out light and moist.
When mom passed away, my cooking repertoire consisted of muffins, cookies, and noodle soup. If only she is around for me to spoil her, now that I can actually cook a decent dinner. If only.