Celebrating mom just got a little easier, thanks to suggestions from these star sommeliers and top chefs.
Let’s face it, mom is probably sick of chocolates and flowers, not to mention breakfast in bed. Mix it up this Mother’s Day with gift ideas from the wine and food world’s hottest stars. Bubbling over with great ideas—including an Iron Chef’s favorite wine gadget and a sommelier’s homemade recipe for infused vodka—this gift guide will give you and Mom something new to toast to.
Food and Beverage Director, Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
“My favorite corkscrew to give is Custom Curling. They have corkscrews with handles made out of very unique materials, including wood from trees near the palace of Versailles that are more than 200 years old—not to mention stingray leather, if your budget permits.”
Wine Director, Eataly, New York City
“Moms are special, why not give her a gift of wine that expresses her uniqueness? Enza Prosecco is a fresh, crisp and versatile sparkling wine ideal for cocktail receptions and brunches where we can all raise a glass and toast to the best mom in town. It delivers fresh peachy fruit flavors and balanced minerality. It’s an easygoing crowd pleaser.”
Restaurateur, Co-Host of ABC’s The Taste
“For Mother’s Day, why not stomp grapes with mom at a local winery? Even if these are not the actual grapes that end up being used for the wine it would make for a great I Love Lucy moment! It would even be fun to get the grandkids in on the grape stomping and make a black and white photo and turn it into a fun private [wine] label.”
Food Network personality, Executive Chef of Butter and The Darby, and author of Old School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook (Clarkson Potter, 2013)
“There is no better way to honor mom on Mother’s Day than to make her one of her own dishes. I also love making a dish that takes patience and a long time but is ultimately worth it. My mom deserves that!” The chef and author credits most recipes to her mom, cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli.
Slow-Cooked Brisket, Cider-Glazed Parsnips and Celery
Recipe adapted from Old School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook, by Alex Guarnaschelli
“There are two distinct parts of brisket: the first and second cuts. The first is very lean while the second is loaded with fat marbling,” says Guarnaschelli. “Better to have just the fatty, flavorful second cut.”
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 (3½- to 4-pound) second-cut brisket, untrimmed
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, lightly crushed
3 pounds small parsnips, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 cup apple cider
¼ cup blackstrap molasses
¼ cup cider vinegar
2 cups low-sodium beef broth, plus more, if needed
3–4 inner yellow stalks and leaves from the center of 1 head celery, sliced in ¼-inch half moons
Preheat an oven to 350ºF.
In a Dutch oven or large ovenproof pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil over high heat. Season both sides of the pieces with salt, pepper, cumin and coriander seeds. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, use metal tongs to add the meat to the pot. If the brisket you have cannot fit in the pot in a single layer, cut in half and brown it in batches. Cook undisturbed, until browned on one side, 5–8 minutes. Turn onto the other side and brown for 5–8 additional minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and put it on a rimmed baking sheet to rest.
In the same pot, over low heat, add the parsnips and sprinkle generously with salt. Cook until browned, 3–5 minutes. Stir in the cider, molasses and vinegar, and simmer until the liquids reduce and start to coat the parsnips, an additional 5–10 minutes. Simmer over very low heat. Pour the parsnips and the cooking liquid into a bowl. If the cooking liquid is watery, reduce for a few additional minutes and pour it back over the reserved parsnips.
Return the brisket to the pot and pour in the beef broth. Bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Cover the pot, transfer to the oven, and braise, for 2 hours. Add the parsnips and their liquid to the pot and continue to braise uncovered until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork, an additional 45 minutes to 1 hour. If the meat looks dry or begins to get overly browned as it cooks, add additional beef stock and cover the pot with a lid or a layer of foil.
Remove the pot from the oven and allow the meat to rest for 10–15 minutes. Transfer the meat and parsnips to a serving platter. It should be fork-tender without being dry. If the cooking liquid is too thin, simmer it on the stove over medium heat. Taste for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the meat and sprinkle with the celery. Serve immediately. Serves 6–8.
Food Network personality, Executive Chef and Partner of The Lambs Club and The National, New York City
“I love this new gadget, the Corkcicle Wine Chiller, for Mother’s Day. You put it in the freezer and then when you have a bottle of white you use this inside to keep it cold—or Duralex Gigogne Tumblers glasses are a great gift for moms, since the stemless design eliminates a knock over factor when kids are running around. [They’re] easy to throw in the dishwasher too!”
Director and Sommelier of The Grill Room, New Orleans
“When selecting a Mother’s Day gift I think it’s important to buy something that she would want, yet would never buy for herself, and for me the best bet is a stylish handbag, clutch or jewelry usually purchased from Gilt Groupe. Coincidentally enough, my mom is not at all a wine drinker, though she does drink vodka so I like to make her homemade infused vodka with anything from citrus peels to herbs to fruits. For moms that do drink wine, I would suggest a membership to a wine club so they can try a few different wines every month, delivered right to their home.”
Lavender Rosemary-Infused Vodka
Recipe courtesy Sara Kavanaugh, Director and Sommelier, The Grill Room, New Orleans
1 botte (750 ml) vodka
1 sprig of rosemary
2 sprigs of lavender
Clean the herbs and place them in a quart-sized Mason jar. Pour the vodka over the herbs and shake a few times before sealing the lid tight. Store the jar in a cool, dark place for 3–5 days. You can test the flavor of the infusion daily beginning on the second or third day and once it is to your taste, strain the herbs from the vodka using a fine strainer, coffee filter or cheesecloth.