It isn’t often I turn down an invitation for a restaurant meal. This year, Mother’s Day weekend was one of those times.
Hallmark, the florist industry and academia collided when Mother’s Day coincided with Penn State graduation—10,000 celebrating graduates, their parents, and their siblings converged on State College, snarling traffic, swarming sidewalks, swamping take-out delivery orders, and stuffing restaurants. What’s a mother to do?
Usually, it’s not an issue.
Marina and Richard have both chosen Belgium as their home base, so Mother’s Day consists of blown bisous via Skype. But this spring, Richard came back to Pennsylvania for a visit.
So we had a Sunday afternoon conference.
My mom was unusually pessimistic. “Are we going to have to knock on doors to find something to eat?”
“Nonna, when have you ever gone hungry? It’s Mother’s Day, Grandmother’s Day and Great Grandmother’s Day. We want to do something special.” Richard replied.
We scanned the CDTs listing of Bites & Beverages, thinking we could avoid the crowds at a restaurant on the outskirts of town. Heck, Friday night Nonna wanted to go “out and about” so we drove to Altoona for a case of Saucony Creek Belgian-Style Tripel. Extravagant, yes, but closer than driving to the craft brewery in Kutztown. On a lazy Sunday, nothing appealed. All we did was find typos in the restaurant listings—Snow Show, PA for Snow Shoe, PA, and Carnegre Crabcakes at the Carnegie House.
So, we decided to eat at home. Richard had a package of frilly fettuccine squid ink pasta from Fasta and Ravioli Co. that he wanted to try. We figured we’d buy some seafood, but what sauce? Tomato would mask the squid ink and Richard wanted something jazzier than olive oil, garlic and cilantro. He started checking out recipes. Anything with “clam juice” grossed him out. The thought of tartar sauce on pasta did the same for me. What about Lobster Bisque as a sauce? Richard asked. It just might work.
So, we headed to Wegmans in search of the bisque and gifts from the sea.
Mother’s Day Dinner a la Richard
2 lbs. mussels (steamed in 2” salted water for about 3 minutes, until they pop open). Remove from shells
1 lb. scallops, sautéed in olive oil & garlic powder
32 oz. (2 lb.) Wegmans’ Lobster Bisque
12 oz. Squid Ink Pasta, boiled 3-5 minutes
Asiago cheese, grated
Parsley, chopped the Belgian way (leaves stuffed in a coffee mug and snipped with scissors) by Nonna
Add cooked mussels and scallops to heated lobster bisque. Boil pasta until al dente, drain, and toss with olive oil. Place pasta in bowl and ladle seafood sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and parsley, and serve with a nice glass of La Marca Prosecco. Laurie Lynch
Keeps on Giving: Leftovers are often my favorite meals, and this dinner was no exception. We had enough sauce for Monday’s meal. We added lightly steamed asparagus to the re-heated sauce and poured it over rice. Mmmmm.
Special Delivery: Last September I wrote about a pizza party at McBurney Manor in McAlevy’s Fort. Nancy Yoder has expanded her bake house offerings and now delivers artisan breads and pre-baked pizza crusts to several locations in Central PA including a natural food market on the way home from my office.
Well, the other week we bought Nancy’s pizza crusts and went wild in the kitchen. On the first, we loaded up with Ricotta and Romano cheeses, asparagus shavings, halved cherry tomatoes, and chunks of sardines. We topped the second with tomato sauce, roasted eggplant, pepperoni, and Mozzarella. I’m still trying to figure out which was my favorite.
Gardening Road Trip: The Centre County Master Gardeners’ 2016 Garden Fair and Plant Sale will be Saturday, May 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rock Springs, Penn State’s Ag Progress Days site, southwest of State College. Author George Weigel is the celebrity speaker at 10 a.m. with Smart Gardening: When To Do What To Keep Your Yard Looking Great (or at Least Passable) and at 12:30 p.m., Amazing Space: Great Home Gardens and What Makes Them Special. At 11 a.m., Carla Hass, senior lecturer with the PSU Eberly College of Science and Master Gardener, will present Good Bugs/Bad Bugs.
We will have more than 5,000 plants for sale, a Silent Auction and Garage Sale, and more than 25 garden and food vendors. Yours truly will be selling luffas and seedlings from our 2015 High Tunnel project to benefit the Ag Progress Days Demonstration Garden. Hope to see you there.