The Test Kitchen Team Shares the Recipes That Always Remind Them of Their Mothers
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There's a reason why so many recipes are titled "Mom's Best." For a special Mother's Day edition of 42 Burners, we asked the test kitchen team what recipes and ingredients always make them think of their moms.
"It's a very simple thing but a family favorite growing up, and one of my earliest food memories, is cooking artichokes," says Greg Lofts. "When artichokes came around each spring, Mom would trim the leaves, scoop out the choke, salt and steam them, and give each of us our own artichoke from which to pluck the leaves. There were always two dipping bowls with sauces-one with drawn butter and lemon juice and the other a homemade caper aioli. Whenever I steam artichokes, I think of her."
Artichokes also remind Thomas Joseph, culinary director for Martha Stewart and host of Kitchen Conundrums, of his mother. "Especially around this time of year, my mother would always make her stuffed artichokes (steamed, stewed, and braised in a light tomato sauce). It was something special, not an everyday thing but a Saturday or Sunday project as the prickly artichokes needed to be trimmed and prepared and each leaf had to be generously stuffed." Thomas doesn't exactly match his mother's 'a little bit of this, a little bit of that' approach when he cooks. "She never followed a recipe for the stuffing, but the primary ingredients were always the same…fresh breadcrumbs, lots of fragrant herbs, garlic, Pecorino Romano cheese, and a good amount of extra-virgin olive oil," he adds.
In Riley Wofford's family, three generations of cooks gathered together to make a Southern classic: baking powder biscuits. "I remember my grandma mixing these in (what seemed to me at the time) to be the biggest bowl that was ever made. We would pat out the dough together and my grandma would brush the tops with more cream (this was the South, after all!). I think the cheap thrill I got from watching those biscuits grow in the oven should have tipped someone off that I was going to be a cook."
Test kitchen manager Kavita Thirupuvanam has many favorite food memories of recipes her mother made. "Growing up during the summer months, my mom would always make a large batch of unsweetened tea and kept it in the fridge along with pasta salad, usually a mix of corkscrew pasta, chickpeas, red onion, celery, olives, and an oregano red wine vinegar vinaigrette. The longer it sat, the better!" she recalls.