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So, yes, I realize that brussels sprouts might seen like an odd choice for a Mother’s Day post, but my mom really loves them so I’m rolling with it. As a kid, I avoided brussels sprouts like the plague, but I’ve grown into a total lover of the little green sprout. While I usually like to roast brussels sprouts, I’ve recently been experimenting with using them raw. This is my favorite of the raw incarnations, thus far: a bright, tangy salad with salty slivers of parmesan cheese and prosciutto (or pancetta or bacon, if you’re not feeling vegetarian) to round out the lemony, dijon brightness of the dressing. Mom and I had a similar salad when out to dinner at Christmas and she just loved that salad, so I think this recipe is perfect for my mom on Mother’s Day.

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I highly recommend using a guard when using a mandolin, rather than just fingers as pictured above.

Since this Sunday is Mother’s Day, I thought I would take a moment to list ten things I love and appreciate about my mom, as well as a memory or two thrown in for fun.

10.    We used to make “bunny  cakes” every year at Easter, snickerdoodles to take to school for my birthday and egg and cheese sandwiches for dinner pretty much all of senior year of high school. Now we get together and have smorgasbords of cheese, meats, fruit, bread and wine. I love our food traditions.

9.   I know that, to some extent, all parents act as chauffeurs. However, I feel like my mom went above and beyond in this department, often coming to pick me up at ridiculous hours from school, where I’d been working in the theater building sets all night. And then she’d drive other kids home too. Because that’s the kind of mom she is.

8.   I grew up with a pack of boys and we are all still close to this day. My mom knew them and trusted all of us in our teenage years. I know some moms who were super suspicious of guy friends, but my mom saw the friendships we had and respected that. She also didn’t complain when the milk magically disappeared after a visit from Brian or how the leftover chinese food in the fridge was toast within 5 minutes of Adam coming over. She’s never batted an eye at our hardcore and drawn out nerf gun wars. Or my stockpile of nerf weapons. She’s a classy lady, my mom.

7.   My mom worked with a girls’ choir for years and she can name pretty much every girl who went through the choir and then tell you about the girl, the girl’s family, who her friends were, the adorable boy she was dating…she really loves the girls and is still so excited and touched when one of the girls breaks off from their packs of friends to come say hi when out and about in town.

6.    My high school friends voted my mom the “hang out mom” of the group. When we were all piled in the family room watching movies as teenagers, it wasn’t weird if my mom sat down to watch with us. I like that.

5.   There have been a few times in my life when I’ve felt pretty down. Mom dropped everything and either got in her car to drive however many hours to get to me or hopped on a plane to be there the next day so she could be there with me. Never have I doubted that my mom loves me. Especially when one of those times the only thing I wanted to do was watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Mom just curled up with me and watched an entire season. And this was back when seasons were 24 episodes.

4.   One summer I accompanied my mom to a family reunion in Cape Cod. We set out in the car with no real plans about how far we would drive or where we would spend the night. As it turned towards evening, we decided that it was about time to stop. First, we went to go see a movie at a cinema we spotted along the highway. Big Daddy, I believe it was. Afterwards, the only motel we spotted that had vacancies was a lovely establishment called the “Shangri La Motel.” I’m guessing the a good chunk of its income came from hourly rentals. We still giggle about staying at that motel.

3.   I’m an angry hungry person. Seriously, when I get hungry, it’s like I’ve turned to the Dark Side and I feel like my mom often bears the brunt of my hangry episodes. She’s a very good sport about this and doesn’t take my reversion to sullen teenager personally. Thanks for letting me be super grumpy when I’m hungry, Mom.

2.   Growing up, there was always music around. Riding in the car as a kid meant Mom and I singing along to We Sing tapes, or Raffi or some broadway musical. I didn’t even realize until recently that not everyone does that. And seriously, my knowledge of Christmas music is top notch. Mannheim Steamroller, baby.

1.   I love that my mom is game for pretty much anything. If I come up with some crazy trip or activity, she’s on board. Unless it involves liver or roller coasters, but I don’t like either of those so we’re okay.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  I love you to infinity and back.

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Brussels Sprouts Salad & Happy Mother's Day
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A light, tangy salad filled with veggie goodness.
Recipe By:
Recipe Type: Vegetable
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 oz Pancetta, Prosciutto or Bacon, diced (optional)
  • 5 oz cleaned & shredded Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 oz Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated
  • 2½ oz Hazelnuts, roughly ground or chopped
  • ¼ C Olive Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Champagne Vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Salt
Instructions
  1. Add the pancetta (or prosciutto or bacon), if using, to a hot pan and cook until the meat turns crispy. Turn the crispy meat out onto a paper towel to cool and drain.
  2. Toss the shaved brussels sprouts with the parmesan cheese and hazelnuts.
  3. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, champagne vinegar and salt in a small jar. Close the jar and shake until the dressing comes together.
  4. Add some of the dressing to the sprouts and toss the sprouts to fully coat, adding more dressing as needed. Keep tasting the sprouts until you get a balance of sprouts to dressing that you like.
  5. Garnish the salad with the pancetta and serve immediately.
Notes
I use a mandolin to shave the brussels sprouts. Mandolins are notorious for getting fingers along with the food, so I encourage the use of a guard when slicing food on the mandolin.
 

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