brunch party help!
hi all -
i'm throwing a brunch for 20 people or so - and this is what we've got so far:
waffles with fresh strawberries
what i need suggestions on are:
1. easy things that taste good/savory maybe and i can make the night before.
2. a good fruit salad recipe
I think this might have been a Cooking Light recipe, or maybe I was inspired by one, but I've been making this super-easy hash brown casserole for a while. You can scale it up, of course.
1 pkg fresh hash browns
1 medium onion, diced (can do ahead)
1 jar salsa (I usually use red, medium, chunky)
1 2-C bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Grease or spray a casserole dish. Layer half of the hash browns, half the onions, half the salsa, and half the cheese. Repeat layers in the same order. Bake at 350F (give or take) until everything is heated through, about 15-20 minutes.
If you have other stuff in the oven, this can fit in at slightly higher or lower temperatures, for shorter or longer. I like to serve it with scrambled eggs.
Go back to chowhound Cristina D's recipe for creme brulee french toast -- it is wonderful. And you actually HAVE to make it ahead of time. For a really fabulous treat, top it before you bake it with a mixture of 1/2 stick butter, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/2 c. pecans (or other fresh nuts), and 1 tbsp. light corn syrup. Yummy.
I like my fruit w/o anything -- but be sure to mix in a little citrus if you use bananas or apples to keep them from turning brown.
Steph P: After setting up hundreds of Brunches, plus eating at hundreds more. Don't forget the easiest most popular items. Assorted Cut Bagels, Cream Chesse and Smoked Salmon or Lox. This seems to always be the first items to dissapear. This time of year the most enjoyable fruit set up is a melange of various ripe melons sliced, cut so easy to pick up and eat, as well as berries, with brown sugar, sour cream, whipped cream on the side for self service. Don't forget a Salsa, plus Tortilla Chips for dipping, Gucamole and a Piquient Chesse Dip for those eating mostly Mimosa's
Stratas, frittatas, or casseroles -all egg-based- are perfect for large brunches. Just premake the night before and pop in the oven. Hash browns or home fries are standard, simple sides you can fancy up with unique cuts, spices, or veggies. Beyond that... I'm a fan of make-your own sandwiches at my brunch parties. (It is BReakfast and lUNCH, right?) You can have a crockpot on hand for hot choices, possibly use some panini bread and the George Foreman grill for others, or just even have a well-presented selection of deli meats and cheeses.
Allrecipes.com has a really great fruit salsa recipe too...
Last one I did for a group was crepes, in a large pyrex dish, bechamel sauce and baked them - I got the recipe from epicurious. It was delicious! I think the epicurious recipe was for ham and mushroom crepes, but I made mine vegetarian. I assembled the night before and just heated it up as we sipped our champagne and o.j. I purchased the crepes (I know...)so it was even easier. You can do one veg, one meat and one seafood for variety. I like crepes as they aren't as filling as some other brunch items with too much starch. Enjoy!
I agree with the other posters below, that waffles are not the best option for a large group. Not to be discouraging, and maybe your mother knows something that we don't, but I've never had much success making waffles for a crowd. If you are working from 2 irons, to make 20 waffles it will take a long time (and even longer if each person gets more than one waffle). Also, I think waffles are best fresh from the iron -- they either dry out (if laid singly on a cookie sheet) or get mushy (if stacked) in the oven. I've linked below a recent thread discussing waffles for a crowd at length.
On a brighter note, this weekend I made an absolutely delicious fruit salad from the August 2003 issue of Gourmet with Mango, Blueberry and Ginger. It's on epicurious, the link is here:
(You'll have to cut and paste the above, or go to Epicurious and search "mango blueberry ginger" and the recipe will come up).
Stratta. There are a million recipes out there! Basically, it is a combination of savory ingredients- onion, red pepper, feta cheese, sausage, spinach etc-and slices or chunks of bread. This is put in a baking pan and covered with a savory custard, then baked. The variations are endless,ie one vegetarian, one not, but the best part is that you assemble that whole thing the day before and then just pop it in the oven on the morning of your party. Easy and delicious! Be sure to make enough...
I made a Mother's Day brunch for 35 people this year. The two mainstays were Creme Brulee French Toast and a sausage, veggie and cheese strata (stratas are the world's best invention for brunches). I also made a lot of side dishes, including prosciutto rolls which were delicious. I got all these recipes from Epicurious.com. Search the site for the above recipes and you might also want to use the "Browse" function to find other brunch dishes you can make in advance.
One big suggestion is to rent chafing dishes (it's especially helpful with the french toast as it keeps the caramel soft) and you can use the pans to set the dishes up before hand.
I can point you to the Cooking forum at GardenWeb for tons of suggestions. You'll need to register and pay to post on that board but there are TONS of recipes/suggestions/etc.
Read the other boards for great information....very informative place!