It hardly seems appropriate that just one day a year is dedicated to celebrating our mothers. After all, motherhood is a 365-day-a-year job. So when the official date — May 14th on your calendar — rolls around, it's time to pull out all the stops. Show your mom (grandmother, stepmother or mother-in-law, as the case may be) just how much you appreciate her with a scrumptious Mother's Day brunch prepared in her honor.

Jason Knibb, executive chef of The Tree Room at Robert Redford's Sundance resort in Sundance, Utah, creates a special Mother's Day spread inspired by none other than Mother Nature herself. "Every year around this time, Sundance Farms [a working organic farm that's owned and operated by the resort] kicks in with fresh produce and herbs," Knibb explains. "We try to incorporate as much of them as possible into our recipes."

In addition to preparing dishes that would make any mother proud, Knibb and his staff go out of their way to ensure that mothers aren't the only ones who will enjoy the event. "Sundance is a very family-oriented resort," he says. "We try to make our Mother's Day brunch an experience that everyone, kids included, will enjoy." To that end, moms are presented with long-stemmed roses and little boxes of petit fours, tables are dressed up with fresh flowers and herbs, and culinary offerings include something for every taste.

To start you on your way to preparing the ultimate Mother's Day brunch, chef Knibb offers the following recipes. You can also take the lead from The Tree Room and add your own special touches, such as creating natural table decorations and offering gifts from the garden (see sidebar).

And remember: Just because Mother's Day comes but once a year doesn't mean that you can't treat your mom to an indulgent brunch on any given day.

Sundance Granola

Makes 15 servings

A staple on Sundance breakfast tables, this sweet, crunchy granola also makes a great snack. Knibb suggests stirring or mixing it regularly while baking in the oven to prevent sticking or burning.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

1/2 cup whole almonds, chopped
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
6 tablespoons wheat germ
2 1/4 cups rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons honey
8 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/4 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups black raisins or other dried fruit

1. Heat oven to 275º.

2. Combine the first seven ingredients and mix well.

3. Combine the honey, maple syrup, molasses and vegetable oil in a pot and warm through. Add to dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Turn out mixture onto sheet pans and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Allow to cool, then add raisins or other dried fruit. (Granola may be stored in an airtight container for a few days.)

5. Serve with low-fat vanilla yogurt and fresh berries.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 571 Fat: 30g % fat calories: 44 Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrate: 73g Protein: 12g


Spring Vegetable Salad

Makes 6 servings

This seasonal salad may be made with any of your favorite vegetables. Piling greens on top allows them to stay crisp and keeps them from getting bruised.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

8 asparagus tips
1/2 cup fresh peas
8 baby carrots, peeled
1/2 pound green beans, halved
1/2 cup fava beans, cleaned and shelled
1/2 basket cherry tomatoes, halved
2 shallots, minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
2 cups baby lettuce, cleaned (or use bagged herb lettuce mix)
Salt and pepper
Honey Malt Vinaigrette (see recipe below)

1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch asparagus tips for 30 seconds in boiling water, then place in an ice bath (a large bowl of ice and water) to stop the cooking. Repeat this process with all the vegetables except the tomatoes. Some vegetables may take a little longer, depending on size and thickness.

2. To assemble, place all vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Add shallots and parsley. Add Honey Malt Vinaigrette, salt and pepper to taste, and mix well.

3. To serve, place a small pile of mixed vegetables in the center of four salad plates. Top each with a small tuft of baby greens.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 262 Fat: 14g % fat calories: 47 Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrate: 27g Protein: 9g

Honey Malt Vinaigrette
 

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons malt vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine the honey, garlic and vinegar in a blender. With the blender running, slowly add the oil and blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Asparagus, Tomato & Basil Frittata

Makes 4 servings

This flavorful, one-pan dish is both healthy and simple to prepare. "The garlic and basil add zip to the egg whites," Knibb explains, "while the asparagus and tomatoes add color and taste like spring."

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 12-15 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 pieces asparagus, sliced on the bias
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup basil, julienned
12 egg whites, lightly beaten
Salt and pepper
Basil leaves, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Heat oil in a 6-inch nonstick, oven-safe pan and sauté onions and garlic for 1 minute on medium-low heat. Add asparagus, sauté for 30 seconds, then add tomatoes and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Add egg whites to pan and mix briefly. Place in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until done. Garnish with basil.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 117 Fat: 4g % fat calories: 28 Cholesterol: 0mg Carbohydrate: 8g Protein: 13g


Country Apple Pancake

Makes 6 servings

Add a touch of Europe to your table with this apple-laden, German-style pancake. Serve sliced into wedges and pass a pitcher of high-quality maple syrup.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

2 teaspoons butter
2 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
4 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
1 cup low-fat milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1. Heat oven to 400º. Heat a large, oven-safe nonstick pan over medium heat. Melt the butter, then add the apple slices in a thin layer and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Remove pan from heat.

2. Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with knife. Place the flour in a large bowl.

3. Combine the milk, sugar, salt, eggs and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the flour, stirring with a whisk until blended. Pour enough batter into the apple pan to cover all the apples. Bake until the pancake has risen and turned golden, about 25 minutes.

4. Turn out onto a warm serving plate. Garnish with powdered sugar and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 282 Fat: 5g % fat calories: 17 Cholesterol: 147mg Carbohydrate: 51g Protein: 8g


Smoked Trout Hash

Makes 4 servings

The sweet, smoky flavor of this dish is what makes it unique. As an alternative to trout, Knibb suggests smoked salmon or crab. For something really different, try seasonal wild mushrooms such as portabellos or creminis.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 tablespoon clarified butter
4 russet potatoes, cut into
1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup diced red onion
Kernels from 6 ears of corn
2 smoked trout fillets, flaked
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
4 eggs, prepared any style
Salt and pepper
Parsley, chopped

1. Heat butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the potatoes and, stirring occasionally, brown on all sides until tender.

2. Add the red onions and sauté for two minutes. Add the corn and sauté for two more minutes.

3. Gently mix in the trout and the scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then place on a serving plate.

4. Place eggs (fully cooked, any style) on top of the hash, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 444 Fat: 11g % fat calories: 22 Cholesterol: 250mg Carbohydrate: 65g Protein: 24g

Linda Hayes is a food and lifestyle writer living in Aspen, Colo. She is food editor for SKI magazine and travel editor for Mountain Living magazine.
 

Photography by Rita Maas