Story last updated at 5/28/2014 - 2:41 pm
Last week, I traveled to Nevada to visit my mom and dad. My mom had a pretty intensive surgery which had affected her appetite. We were all getting concerned that she wasn’t eating. She never was an eater like my dad, brother or me. We eat with gusto, savoring every bite and eagerly anticipate the next meal. Mom is one of those who ascribes to the “eat to live” philosophies. The rest of the family doesn’t quite understand, but she’s an amazing cook so we never questioned it.
I remember growing up and being sick and mom making me cherry Jello, toast with the crusts cut off and butterscotch pudding, which to this very day is still my favorite pudding flavor.
She would fix me drinks with little fruit skewers to brighten my day and always let me have the TV remote. Being sick was like being on vacation, except for the being sick part.
After years of caring for me, it is time for me to take care of my mom. When I arrived in Nevada, the first thing I did was head for the kitchen. I made fancy scrambled eggs with fresh Italian parsley and grated havarti cheese; I made the green chili frittata that was in a previous column, which my dad raved about all week. I also took advantage of the fresh produce available and made her fresh strawberries with orange cream.
Mom also indulged me in watching cooking shows. While watching Jeff Mauro on “Sandwich King,” we learned a fun idea. He made a whipped cream with lemon zest. Well, what if I made one with orange zest? Let’s do it!
Mom’s favorite ice cream when I was a kid was an orange Creamsicle. I remember when the ice cream truck would come around and she’d give my brothers and me each a quarter to get what we’d like and I got the extra quarter to get her a Creamsicle. They were like a frozen paradise — sweet with a little bit of tang and tasting of some far off tropical vacation. The orange cream had a similar flavor to the orange Creamsicles, which made her like it even more.
For dinner that night, I made rosemary salted crusted grilled steaks and berries with orange cream. Mom exclaimed they were the best berries she had ever eaten. I also picked up a small angel food cake, because that’s Dad’s favorite, and made him strawberry shortcake with it, the berries and the cream. All in all, it turned out to be a winning recipe in my parents’ home. It is such a thrill to be able to impress my parents with something so easy.
A few days later, I headed back to Alaska. I made more meals for my parents, helped with some much-needed paperwork and most of all spent time just being there with them. I look forward to my next visit in July and to creating more recipes with my mom and dad.
This week I present a recipe that got my mom eating more and provided some great memories: Strawberries with Orange Cream.
Until next time…
Eat and enjoy,
Orange berries and cream
3 cups fresh strawberries, cleaned and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioner sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
Zest of 1 large orange
Place strawberries in bowl and sprinkle with sugar. Using a fork gently mash the berries to soften a bit. Do not over smash. The goal is to start releasing the juices which, with the sugar will break them down some and create a wonderful juice to go with the berries.
Pour whipping cream into medium sized bowl. Mix on medium high with hand mixer, until soft peaks form. Add confectioner sugar, vanilla and orange zest. Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Taste for flavor. Add additional sugar, vanilla or orange zest if you prefer.