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Abrazos! xox Penny

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day 2011

This Mother's Day, I am going to share a few thoughts and then repost what I wrote last year because it is still just as current as can be. First, I want to acknowledge Jon and let him know that his verve and joie de vivre are infectious and add a merry energy to all around him. He has a wonderful and engaging life force. I have really enjoyed the times I have spent with him and love seeing such happiness come into my daughter's life.

Melissa and Jon

Next, as a mom, one of the traits about my kiddos that delights me most is that they have surrounded themselves with people who encourage them and they encourage in return to become their fullest selves. While always a parent, there seems to be a time when the kids take over. That is as it should be. It is their time at bat. I am delighted that my sweeties have the courage to step up to the plate and start dancing, singing and creating their lives on their own terms in their own time. I am having a blast with a momma-bird's eye view from the bleechers! Love you with all my heart sweetest HB's xoxoxooxox

Resh and Christian

And then, today and every day, give this Mother your best...

Years ago, sweet daughter Melissa gave me the book "She Taught Me to Eat Artichokes".

It is a lovely story about finding treasures and friendship in the heart of something or someone who seems a very unlikely source of tenderness. It is also about taking a little different, less common path. Imagine if the title were, "She Taught Me to Eat Iceberg Lettuce". Nothing too special or interesting there. This book about "artichokes" is no ordinary tale. It shares unique discoveries that have enriched my life.

This Mother's Day, I will be eating an artichoke in honor of the beautiful friendship that I have with my children and my mom. I may be in what is called the "sandwich" of life but I am squeezed between the best people. I am lucky to have two amazing children, Christian and Melissa, and an equally amazing daughter-in-law Reshma and second son Sameer. All four of them have hearts of gold and are encouraging, enthusiastic, creative, playful, generous, kind, compassionate and, as only children can be, lovingly wise friends. And, they are each writing their own beautiful "artichoke" story, one leaf at a time.

Melissa and Sameer
Christian and Reshma

My mom is a very special lady and a wonderful, adventurous cook herself. Her cookbook collection runs in the 100's. Don't even try to count the recipes she's clipped. Stacks. I mean stacks. Over these past wild and crazy couple of years, she has shown such strength. I imagine she feels a combination of relief and frustration over my taking a larger role in her "story". She is letting me do so with grace...and just a few "If you'd do it my way, Pensy's". Like she says, once a mom, always a mom.


This bouquet is for all of you...each one of you makes my life better, one sweet artichoke leaf at a time. xoxoxoox and Happy Mother's Day to all moms everywhere!

And so appropriately, here is a recipe for Steamed Artichokes. For flavor, use the very best artichokes and sweet butter you can find!

Buy tight, fresh, moist looking artichokes, like the ones in the picture. Don't buy the ones that look dry or have their petals already starting to open up more than the others. Wash and cut off stems at the base. Remove any teeny leaves and any that are discolored. You can also snip off the thorny tips of the petals but I don't.

Place artichokes on a steamer rack in a large saucepan or place directly in pan with about 1/2 inch of water, just enough to come up to the base of the artichoke. I will often add a sprinkle of Herbes de Provence to the water and sometimes a fresh bay leaf. Bring water to a boil, cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Steam between 30 and 50 minutes, depending on the size of the artichoke. The way I test for doneness is to pull off a leaf midway up the flower. If it comes off easily and the meat is tender, it is done. Pour water from pot and turn artichokes upside down to let any excess water drain off. You can also turn the heat on again and let them dry a little that way.

To eat, invite me over or melt sweet butter and add a splash of fresh lemon juice. Place artichoke on plate and pull off leaves, one petal at a time and dip meaty part into butter. Scrape off the tender meat at the base of each petal with your front teeth. As you finish the larger petals, you will see smaller ones and then the fuzzy choke. Scrape those inedible petals off and now what you have is the "heart" of the artichoke. Absolutely delectable. Savor every bite and don't run out of butter!

A special hug to the "grandchildren" Roger and Allie and to all our "babies" xoxoxoxoxo



Lights in their eyes Sisters, Annie and Lilly

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