In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I would put together a list of some of my favorite treats for the women in your life. I’m a very busy woman, as you know, and I usually keep my precious entries short, but this is a very special occasion deserving of my limited attention span — so I’m blessing you (they used to call me the Dalai Lola) with a long one. As a dear confidante of the late, great Mother of them all (you may know her by her last name, Teresa), I take great joy in honoring women everywhere who care for the children of the world (so fun bunking with you in Namibia, Angie!). My own mom is a very special woman — she lets me sleep in her white and gold Matouk outfitted bed every night and I even get my own high thread count pillow. She also washes my hair with $21 Sugar Souffle conditioner, while only using free swag from event gift bags for herself (once a magazine editor, always a magazine editor). And, most importantly, she always shares her cheese (I am a particular fan of Drunken Goat from Andrew’s Cheese Shop on Montana in Santa Monica, California). This year, I will be gifting my mom with long walks and lots of belly rubs (for me) because I know my presence is the greatest gift. But for those of you looking for a little something extra, here are my finds (some of these gifts will have to be belated, but shouldn’t moms be celebrated all year-long?):
FOR THE MOTHER LOAD:
You won’t be surprised that I’m recommending a Garland Collection Signature pendant or bracelet, monogrammed with the initials of her little brood, and inscribed with a heartfelt note on the back of the plate. It’s classic, personal, and some come with diamonds — need I say more?
Garland Collection gold Signature engraved pendants
MOMMA MIA, YOU SHOULD HAVE!:
Who doesn’t like a beautiful arrangement of flowers or even a chic, potted, lemon tree to brighten her abode? My mom is an obsessive deck gardener, which should give you a hint as to her way with plants…as I’m pretty sure most people don’t try to plant palm trees on their decks, but I digress. OK, I’ll digress a little more….Every weekend the poor woman arrives home with armloads of plants — cala lilies, bougainvillea, even impatiens which, as Mother Nature’s (very nice lady) longtime protegé, I know cannot be killed. But each week, off she goes for her Sunday replacements. At least their demise is always swift and painless. It’s quite pathetic, really, but she does it for her beautiful flower pots. The good news is, we are also regulars at our local Sunday farmer’s market where we buy luscious bouquets of orange Asiatic Lilies (they compliment the rust walls — and yes, she is that neurotic). At least these are actually supposed to die in a week. By the way, support your local growers, people!
We have also become big fans at Garland of a fabulous florist at the Brentwood Country Mart called Botany. The space is casual and chic, the arrangements are to die for, and the owner is a hoot (I’m fabulous, so I get to say things like “a hoot”)!
So visit your local floral artist or your nearby farmer’s market and put together an arrangement that would make my dear Mother N proud.
FOR MOMMA LEONE:
How about an epicurean delight, as they said when I won my last James Beard Award? My mother has quite the sweet tooth, and this carrot cake is her absolute favorite. In fact, she enjoyed it thoroughly when she baked it for my dad’s birthday. (It couldn’t be more obvious that she uses other people’s birthdays as an excuse to bake this cake for herself. I’m frankly not sure that she even saved any for him after her post-gym gorge that day.) Being that I have a new show coming out on the Food Network next season, I don’t usually share other chef’s recipes, but this one from Mary Corpening Barber & Sara Corpening Whiteford’s Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook is too epic to keep to myself. This is actually one of the best cookbooks around, which says a lot coming from the author of “The Joy of Cooking” (who did you think wrote that?). Bon appetit!
SPICED CARROT CAKE WITH FLUFFY CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (From the Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook by Mary Corpening Barber & Sara Corpening Whiteford with Rebecca Chastenet de Gery. Published by Chronicle Books)
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups corn oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups grated carrot, about 1 large carrot
2 jars (4 ounces each) carrot puree (baby food)
1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
CREAM CHEESE ICING:
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Position rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with vegetable oil cooking spray. Whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and vanilla and add to the dry ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, beat on low speed for about one minute. Add the grated carrot, carrot puree and coconut and mix until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans and bake until a knife inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool completely.
TO MAKE THE ICING: Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together at medium speed the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and salt, scraping down the sides of the bowl at least once, until the mixture is smooth, with no lumps, 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until light, fluffy, and well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. To assemble, place one cake, flat-side up, on a platter. Spread part of the icing over the top of the cake. Top with the second cake, flat-side up, and spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate before serving.
Our well-worn Bride & Groom cookbook page
MOM’S THE WORD!:
Does “Home Sweet Home” sound like mom to you? Well, I know that my mom would recommend something personalized (did I mention those Signature necklaces?), like ceramicist Mae Mougin’s special, made-to-order place settings. You see my mother believes that anything can be monogrammed. She’d monogram me if she realized she could shave initials into my fur (uh-oh). We love to entertain here at Garland (Oprah, I taught Mr. Cowie everything he knows. He gets a show, I get a Producer credit), but even if momma likes to drink alone (I’m a bit of booze-hound myself — I mean, you should have seen me in my Studio 54 days!), make sure she’s sloshed in style. Put together a little personalized cocktail set: I recommend an ultra-chic Dabney Lee lucite tray, Monogram Market’s chic cocktail napkins, and a personalized cocktail shaker from Williams-Sonoma. My mom is also partial to the Williams-Sonoma pewter old-fashioneds that remind us of the ones from Match, but I think she gets nervous when things can’t be stamped with initials.
- Ceramicist Mae Mougin featured in Domino (Oh, Si. How I miss Domino)
Dabney Lee lucite tray
Williams-Sonoma monogram cocktail shaker ("W" stands for "Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets")
Williams-Sonoma pewter old-fashioneds
Mom’s motto is “More is More”? — well, she’s a gal after my own heart! I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend a fabulous vintage statement piece from Garland Collects and it’s not because I’m biased. I’m currently adorned in a rare K.J.L. 1960s pearl and rhinestone rams head torsade and Thelma Deutsch 1980s electric-blue rhinestone flower earrings. Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets and I stole these from the safe. Like all things Garland, they’re classic, special, and heirloom-worthy.
K.J.L. 1960s rhinestone rams head clasp
Thelma Deutsch 1980s earrings
On behalf of everyone at Garland Collection, we most of all wish you a Mother’s Day filled with happiness, love, and laughter (I’m a descendant of the Hallmarks, you know).
Happy Mother’s Day.
Love and Licks,