GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - This Sunday marks a day that is very special to me... Mother's Day.I have talked about mothers and what they mean to us in many columns here over the years, but this year, it is becoming more and more special to me.For the past few months, I have been bouncing back and forth between here, New Jersey and now Virginia, helping take care of my mom. Mom has not been in good health for the past few years, and it has taken some turns for the worse this year. For the first time in my life, I fully realize her mortality.After her fifth trip back to the hospital this year and after a stint in a rehab center and then a nursing home, we made the decision to move her down to Richmond, Va., to live with my sister. (More about my sister and what she has done for Mom in another column.)It turns out that the move to Richmond was one of the best things that could have happened. During her last stay at the hospital, she had decided that she had had enough, and decided to go into a Hospice program. Having just spent another week out East and seeing how she is in Virginia living with my sister, she is doing a heck of a lot better. She still has the effects of her illnesses, but is back to being more like the mom that I know - feisty and looking forward to things. She is even thinking of coming off the Hospice program.Now I know that at 85 years old, with her conditions, it is just a matter of time, but.... for now... Mom's back.Growing up out East, believe me, I may have not been the perfect child, but Mom was always there. Sometimes frowning, a lot of rolling her eyes, but always there. As mentioned before, her Sizzle Burgers were one of the first things that I loved to try and cook and we even had one of the first indoor BBQs that I had even seen. So yeah, she even injected the seeds of what was to be my future career in cooking.One of the fondest memories of my mom's cooking (though growing up, maybe not so much) was the holidays. Mom always made sauerbraten ... every year ... and a lot of it. As I got older, I really did start to look forward to this, even wanting to take the leftovers.So - and I know most of you already do this - call your mom. Let her know what she means to you. Send some flowers, take her out to dinner. (Look around, most of the restaurants have some great Mother's Day menus.) And you know what, you do not have to wait for Mother's Day to do this.Love ya, Mom.WEBSITE OF THE WEEKIn honor of Mother's Day, this one is from the Better Homes & Garden's website, which is full of recipes for Mother's Day. And our recipe of the week is the aforementioned sauerbraten.http://www.bhg.com/holidays/mothers-day/recipes/-----------------Lee is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. Reach him at email@example.com, via the website at www.decadencecheesecakes.com, or by calling 970-256-4688. Follow the adventures of Decadence on Facebook and on Twitter.
2 cups water 1 cup cider vinegar 1 cup red wine vinegar 1 medium onion, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt, additional for seasoning meat 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 2 bay leaves 6 whole cloves 12 juniper berries 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) bottom round 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1/3 cup sugar 18 dark old-fashioned gingersnaps (about 5 ounces), crushed 1/2 cup seedless raisins, optionalIn a large saucepan over high heat combine the water, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, bay leaves, cloves, juniper, and mustard seeds. Cover and bring this to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Pat the bottom round dry and rub with vegetable oil and salt on all sides. Heat a large saute pan over high heat; add the meat and brown on all sides, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. When the marinade has cooled to a point where you can stick your finger in it and not be burned, place the meat in a non-reactive vessel and pour over the marinade. Place into the refrigerator for 3 days. If the meat is not completely submerged in the liquid, turn it over once a day. After 3 days of marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Add the sugar to the meat and marinade, cover and place on the middle rack of the oven and cook until tender, approximately 4 hours. Remove the meat from the vessel and keep warm. Strain the liquid to remove the solids. Return the liquid to the pan and place over medium-high heat. Whisk in the gingersnaps and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Add the raisins if desired. Slice the meat and serve with the sauce. Yields 4 to 6 servings.Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005