Mother’s Day Brunch

Happy Mother's Day! Table setting with a view at my balcony
My gift to my mom and the spread for Mother’s Day brunch

The past weekend for Mother’s Day, my mom wanted a home cooked brunch with the entire family. Since we’re a hungry bunch and my mom did not care what kind of cuisine, we cooked a hodgepodge of dishes that satisfied our cravings.

Roast Peking Duck My portion of grilled Pat LaFrieda New York Strip Steak
Lightly pickled Japanese cucumbers Black Truffle Pasta made with Garofalo spaghetti Garofalo farfalle pasta with homemade chicken meatballs

Homemade profiteroles
Roast Peking Duck, Pat LaFrieda New York Strip Steak, lightly pickled fresh Japanese cucumbers, Garofalo spaghetti with black truffles, Garofalo farfalle with chicken meatballs, and homemade profiteroles

We roasted a whole Peking duck that was had a wonderfully burnished, crisp skin yet have tender and moist meat. My dad grilled up Pat LaFrieda‘s New York strip steaks for all of us. And as usual, Pat’s steaks were sublime – effortless to slice and it’s beef heaven. For a refreshing, and arguably the healthiest thing on the table, was the plate of quick pickled Japanese cucumbers.

For our starches, we had Garofalo pastas – spaghetti and farfalle (bow tie shaped pasta). The spaghetti, we ended up doing a luxurious dish with black truffles. For the farfalle, we wanted a saucy pasta dish so we ended up cooking tomato sauce and added homemade chicken meatballs. (The recipes for these pastas are on the bottom of the post.)

I used Garofalo pastas because they are considered one of the premier Italian pasta brands and even if you try a few bites of their just boiled pasta (cooked until al dente, it’s pretty flavorful and has a certain texture unlike most pastas found in the U.S.).

To end on a sweet note, we had homemade profiteroles filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with caramel glaze, pearl sugar and pastel metallic dragées to make it pretty.

It was a gorgeous Mother’s Day to be dining outside, which I have the privilege of having a balcony and gaze into the distance while enjoying our food and company from my family.

To view more photos of this brunch, please view the slideshow below (or CLICK HERE for my photo set:

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Spaghetti with black truffles

2 fresh black truffles or 2 canned (if you must)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spaghetti (I used Garofalo)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated Pecorino cheese (optional)

If the truffles are dirty, brush them with a paper towel. Slice them very thin with a truffle slicer or a sharp knife. Place the truffles in a shallow dish and pour the olive oil over them. Cover them with plastic wrap, and allow them to remain at room temperature for several hours or overnight.

Cook the spaghetti, following the package directions or the directions for freshly made pasta.

While the spaghetti is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in which the truffles are marinating in a large skillet, and cook the garlic until it is soft but not browned. Turn off the heat and add the remaining olive oil and the truffles.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving 2 tablespoons of the cooking water. Add the spaghetti and the water to the skillet with the truffles. Reheat the mixture over very low heat just until it is hot. Stir in the salt. Transfer the mixture to a platter and serve immediately. Serve the cheese on the side.

Chicken meatballs with farfalle pasta

Ingredients for meatballs

1 pound fresh ground chicken
1/4 cup milk
1 slice bread, cut into small pieces
1 egg slightly beaten
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts, coarsely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
6 green onions, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon salt
3-4 grinds fresh pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, for frying

Mix the milk and bread pieces together in a large bowl. When bread has softened, mix in beaten egg. Add the chicken to bowl and mix lightly. Add remainder of ingredients and mix thoroughly. Form mixture into meatballs about 1½ inches in diameter and set aside (I used an ice cream scoop for ease). In a large nonstick skillet, add olive oil and sauté meatballs, removing them from the skillet as they brown.

Ingredients for the sauce
1 small onion, halved and sliced
2 cups tomato purée
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, coarsely chopped

In the same nonstick skillet used for the meatballs, sauté the sliced onion in the remaining oil. When softened and lightly browned. Then add the tomato purée and chipotle flakes. Increase the heat and bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Return meatballs to the pan and continue simmering while you finish the pasta.

3/4 pound Farfalle pasta (I used Garofalo)

Cook 3/4 pound of farfalle pasta according to the package directions al dente or approximately 8-9 minutes. Do not drain the pasta; using a slotted spoon, gently drain and immediately fold the pasta into the lightly simmering meatballs. Adjust sauce to taste with additional salt or pepper. Just prior to plating, sprinkle with the parsley or fresh chives.


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.