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Mother's Day Brunch and THE MEETING OF THE MOMS.

Hey ya'll.
I need some help preparing for a brunch to take place this weekend at my new pad.
Another side note, we just got engaged and this will be the first meeting of the families...

My current ideas include but are not limited to the wonderful ideas of you Chowhounders....

sangria
lemonade
fruit water

spinach quiche
fruit salad (need help with a non-typical one -(read: no mini marshmallows, canned fruit)

other ideas to go with this...

things to keep in mind - i'm a vegetarian along with my mother....

HELP!

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  1. cantaloupe with mint, almonds and lime juice is nice and different. black pepper biscuits or gougeres, to accompany the quiche.

    for dessert a tart of lemon curd with kiwi and strawberries on top? or something really over the top like strawberry shortcake.

    to drink, maybe white sangria, bellinis or champagne with a splash of cranberry juice?

    1 Reply
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      yum, the cantaloupe sounds amazing...

    2. I am planning a brunch for my boyfriend's family myself. I don't have specific recipes, but I was thinking of making a strata and a baked french toast. Both are completely customizable to the ingredients you like. Also it's nice that they can be prepared in advance and baked that morning. Less stressful than flipping pancakes at the last minute! Do a recipe search and I'm sure you'll find lots of great options for these two dishes.
      Good luck!

      10 Replies
      1. re: GAT

        Baked french toast is even better (in my opinion) when stuffed and served with fresh berries. I've done it with strawberries and a cream cheese mixture and it was amazing.

        For a fruit salad, mixed berries with sparkling white wine and mint is always a hit at our house. We serve with barely sweetened whipped cream.

        What about a roasted veggie breakfast "lasagna" with layers of shredded potatoes taking place of the noodles?

        Or ratatouille. My dad loves it over eggs.

        1. re: QueenB

          3rd the baked french toast for a brunch entree--lo work= lo stress so you can deal with the other details & spend more time w your family!

          i like strawberries macerated in good-quality balsamic vinegar and served with a little chevre or a brie-style goat's cheese-- so pretty

          cut up apples (try 2 different types of cooking apples), add dried fruit such as cranberries, & slow-cook over low heat with a couple tbs butter. add baking spices such as nutmeg, mace, cinnamon, allspice to taste & serve warm or at room temp. can also be done night before so less work on mother's day.

          or you could do a fruit salad with melons, fresh pineapple, & berries with a dressing of fresh lime juice & crushed mint

          a simple dressed mixed greens salad is often welcome at brunch-- plan on everyone taking just a cup or less of greens with the other brunch items. you could buy or make a raspberry vinaigrette or walnut vinaigrette & make it really pretty by using fresh blossoms like (organic, unsprayed) nasturtiums or marigolds, johnny-jump-ups, or chive blossoms to garnish.

          agree that you should have a pretty dessert. if you are good at baking make one of your faves, but you are doing all the rest of the work so it's no crime to order a beautiful tart, cake, or beautiful pastries from a local bakery

          1. re: QueenB

            I also have a recipe for a leek-camembert tart that is really good, if you're interested.

            1. re: QueenB

              that sounds delicious, can you post it for me? (even if the OP doesn't want it!)

              1. re: pigtowner

                Sure, it's from Bon Appetit
                http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                The only differences that I found were that I ended up having to cook it longer than stated. I believe mine cooked for about 35 min until it was golden on the bottom and the eggs had just set. I also cut the rind off of the camembert, because otherwise, it left chunky pieces of unmelted rind in the mixture. It is wonderful though!

                1. re: QueenB

                  Hey QueenB (or anyone) - So I accidently bought phyllo dough instead of puff pastry. Do you think I can use it instead? Brushing some butter in between the layers and fitting it in the tart pan? I think I've only cooked with phyllo once before, so I could use some advice! TIA

                  1. re: pigtowner

                    Yes, I imagine you could make it with phyllo instead.
                    You'll want to definitely brush butter or oil in between the layers. You can cut the phyllo to fit your pan, or can let the edges flare over the sides.
                    Anyway, do your dough in the tart pan, no need to freeze it up. Add parmesan, leeks and custard and bake. Probably it will take the same amount of time, but you want to make sure your phyllo is nice and crispy.
                    Go for it! And let me know how it comes out!

                    1. re: pigtowner

                      if you are working with phyllo for the first time-- it can dry out shockingly fast, til you get used to it. keep the sheets you are not working directly on covered with damp clean towels AT ALL TIMES. once you get good at it you can do some real "impress your friends" cooking, so maybe you really had a lucky mistake :)

                      1. re: soupkitten

                        Thanks for the help and encouragement!

                        I had some extra bacon, so I cooked that first until crispy and then used the fat to brush the phyllo layers and sprinkled with parm in between too. And then added the bacon to the leeks.

                        I only used 6 layers, I think I could have used more for a more substantial crust. And with all that bacon fat it was pretty greasy, but seriously delicious! It's a great recipe, next time I might try to the puff pastry, or try individual phyllo dough triangles or something.

                        I'm glad I tried the phyllo! I'll definitely try again!

                        1. re: pigtowner

                          the recipe does look really good w either puff pastry or phyllo. happy cooking!

          2. Possibly add cold asparagus vinegrette with the quiche?

            1. I just got married and this is the exact way that our families met!

              A veggie side dish that is great: orzo with spinach and lemon

              I can't remember the exact recipe, but basically boil a box of orzo, when it's ready stir in a whole bag of baby spinach, some lemon zest, some minced garlic and shredded parmesean. Everyone loves it. You could have some grilled chicken on the side too for the meat-eaters.

              1. Are you only serving vegetarian? Just curious,
                You mentioned that you and your Mom are vegetarian, is the new Mom-in-law & Dad-in-law vegetarian? Might want to include another dish for the non veggies...
                My Brunches usually are at around 11 am and are substantial, combing breakfast and lunch.
                To open things up:
                Drinks - Bloody Marys with a dilly green bean or pickled veggie, a Raymus Fizz. or Pomegranate Champage cocktail -None alcholic would be in small carafes of fruit juices & tomato juice and sparkling waters and milk sitting in ice.
                Baked French Toast with Grand Marnier with toppings and syrups
                An overnight Mushroom Soufflee served with mushroom sherrry sauce or make two, one for each to accommodate the meat eaters with sausage, cheese and mushrooms
                Salinas Valley Special (with artichokes) Chilies Rellenos Casserole
                Joe's Special - Spinach eggs, cheese, ground round, and cheese - prepare and keep warm
                All of these can be done on a small scale, not a huge casserole dish.
                Fruit can be a gorgeous display of beautiful in season fresh fruit to eat alone or with a carmel and honey, yogurt dip and granola.
                And several types of bread, bran muffins, or banana nut, blueberry, cranberry with good butter and cream cheese.

                5 Replies
                1. re: chef chicklet

                  holy moly you do it up right...

                  how does this meal sound

                  sangria
                  lemonade
                  fruit water

                  spinach quiche
                  asparagus quiche / leek camembert tart (per Queen)
                  baked french toast
                  sweet & spicy bacon

                  popovers with jam
                  fresh fruit with vanilla yogurt and mint

                  1. re: lollya

                    Looks good, only one thing if it were me would I change.
                    Two green quiches, I would only make one of them. and the other one with say 4 cheeses only or with mushroom and or tomato quiche,just for the sake of color and variety.

                    When I make quiche rather than saute the veggies I grill them (on cast iron griddle) so they brown and mark, and then for loads of flavor I add onion (grilled scallion) AND grilled garlic cloves, grill the tomato so its almost roasted. This will reduce the moisture.
                    I wish I had a picture of my quiches, they look so pretty when you bake the quiche in a releasable cake pan bringing the crust up high, when you release the sides, the quiche is tall and beautiful almost level with the pastry, (not sitting in a pie pan) and then I place them on cake pedestals. They turn out to be about 4 -5 inches high. It makes such a pretty presentation.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      those sound beautiful.
                      the addition of tomato sounds delightful

                      i actually make a crust-less quiche, otherwise I would use my releasable pan...
                      maybe i'll use it for the tart...

                      i typically use fresh herbs and shallots/garlic, hmm, now which cheeses? gruyere seems a natural..

                      1. re: lollya

                        three of my faves are fontina, monterey, provolone and a little cheddar. Fontina has a creamy great melting ability. Add a little flour to the egg mix, that will take care of any extra moisture given off from the toatoes or mushrooms. But please do try pan roasting whole garlic cloves and then mash or chop, the flavor goes off the chart!

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          GREAT TIP chicklet! thanks....i love roasted garlic!

                2. Thank you all so much, these are great! Keep them coming....
                  Queen: I would love the french toast bake recipe - please share!
                  Also the lasagna idea sounds incredible, did you have a recipe? or just was a brilliant idea?

                  I am thinking quiches because they are easy, but love the idea of the baked french toast as a sweet counter to the savory quiche. I most likely will need to bake 2 quiches...any other great recipes? asparagus maybe? (oooh just saw leek camembert tart - question, i am a big cheese fan myself, but i am not positive i've experienced camembert with knowledge of it...can you describe it, what it might be in...?) THANK you everyone for responding. I'm pretty stressed! I've got a HUGE project to design this week on top of planning this and I'm still STUNNED from the engagement! :)

                  Thanks!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: lollya

                    I'd recommend a strata instead of a quiche -- you can do one in a 9x13 pan, and then you don't have to worry about two quiches. I made a strata for the last brunch that I did, and it was a hit. Best of all, you do the whole thing the night before, so that morning you'll just have to bake it (and if you time it right, it can come out of the oven at the same time as the baked french toast).

                    1. re: lollya

                      Camembert can be found usually in your local grocery store in the specialty cheeses section. It's a small wheel of soft cheese with a soft, white rind, wrapped in a wooden box, probably 4-5 inches across. If you have a cheesemonger nearby, I recommend going there, as your cheese will be much better. If your grocery doesn't carry camembert, you can also use a small wheel of brie. I posted the recipe above, and can help you with anything you need. As a matter of fact, I have a step-by-step instruction for this tart on my blog. Can't look up the exact page here at work, but will get you that when I get home.
                      I'll be more than happy to find you the french toast recipe. I've got it printed out at home somewhere. Get that to you as soon as I get home as well.
                      The lasagna was something I thought up in my head. I'd shred potato on a box grater or with a food processor. Roast some veggies. The veggies can be anything you like. Eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes...the usual. Or you can go a different route with fennel, beets, stuff like that. Layer the shredded potatoes with the veggies and a bechamel, like a lasagna. Also add cheese...maybe a gruyere or goat cheese would be really good. Bake until golden and your potatoes are done. I'm just winging it here, so it's probably best to do something else for your brunch...but it's an idea for the future!

                      And congratulations!

                      1. re: QueenB

                        Queen
                        You ARE a Godsend. Thank you bunches. And thanks for the congratulations. I'm drowning in anticpation and nerves on the homefront and at work, so I appreciate your generosity...

                        1. re: lollya

                          lollya, first of all, here is the page from my blog where I describe how to make the leek and camembert tart:
                          http://ordinaryaveragegal.blogspot.co...
                          As a small warning, my blog is not a food blog, so if you decide to peruse the entire thing, you may run into things other than food.

                          Next, onto the strawberry french toast:

                          Strawberry-Stuffed French Toast

                          1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
                          1/2 C. powdered sugar
                          1 T. vanilla extract
                          1/2 t. cinnamon
                          8 slices bread, white or whole wheat
                          3 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
                          3 eggs, beaten
                          2 T. milk
                          4 T. butter, optional
                          2 T. powdered sugar, sifted

                          In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, 1/2 cup
                          powdered sugar, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix
                          until mixture is smooth. Spread one side of each slice of bread
                          evenly with the cream cheese mixture. Layer some freshly sliced strawberries evenly over the surface of the cream cheese side of four of the slices of bread. Top each slice with a remaining slice of bread,
                          pressing the cream cheese side down onto the
                          strawberries. Press together gently to seal berries
                          inside sandwich.

                          In a shallow bowl, combine the eggs and milk; mix well
                          and set aside.

                          Preheat oven to 200°F. Spray a large baking sheet
                          lightly with cooking spray and place in oven. Spray a
                          large non-stick skillet with cooking spray or melt 1
                          tablespoon butter in skillet over medium-high heat.

                          Dip strawberry sandwiches into the egg mixture,
                          turning to soak each side. Place soaked sandwich in
                          the hot skillet and cook on each side until browned.
                          Remove sandwich from skillet and place on baking sheet
                          in warm oven and repeat until all sandwiches are
                          cooked.

                          Just before serving, cut each sandwich diagonally; top
                          with remaining strawberries and sprinkle with 2
                          tablespoons powdered sugar.

                          Serves four.

                          I serve this french toast with strawberries that have been macerated in a bit of sugar and amaretto or grand marnier. However, you can opt to buy strawberry syrup and warm it a bit. I imagine you could also do this with blueberries, rasperries or blackberries.

                          If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask. You'll be fine...trust me...I know how hectic and stressful it can be! You do just fine!

                          1. re: QueenB

                            you are just v. sweet.
                            in fact, you might be nicer than my own friends ::drats:: :)
                            anyways, thank you SO much for sharing. I intend to return and let you know how it all went down, with pics. ahhh. back to designing websites...

                            1. re: lollya

                              You're very welcome. Can't wait to hear and see the results!

                    2. This asparagus and pepper frittata is good and easy...

                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                      1. In Mexico we make a sangria called sangria preparada. It is limeade (or your lemonade) in the bottom of a tall, thin glass topped with the red wine sangria. It forms two liquid layers and is very showy and tasty.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pampatz

                          wow cool effect! THANK YOU Pampatz! Awesome.

                        2. can you stuff popovers?

                          1. Just wanted to say congratulations and kudos for including the sweet and savory bacon. It should come off as a testament to your flexibility and consideration for the in-laws. (Because for us non-vegetarians out there, bacon is about as good as it gets!)

                            Including star fruit in your fruit salad could provide a fun shape and crunch among the other flavors.

                            A grapefruit champagne granita served in champagne flutes would be a fun way to end the meal. There's a great recipe in the William Sonoma Ice Cream cookbook.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: ExercisetoEat

                              Thanks EtoE

                              I think I've got my menu down...
                              Popovers with butter and jam and apple butter

                              Spinach quiche
                              Camembert & Leek tart
                              Baked French toast

                              Sweet & Spicy Bacon
                              Herb Potato Salad

                              Berry Tart with fresh whipped cream

                              Sangria
                              Lemonade (with option of vodka, mint)
                              Fruit Water 0 any suggestions? cucumber? mint? citrus?

                              Thoughts? I'm wavering on dessert...from shortcake to lemon cake to berry tarts...can anyone help me smooth this out?!?

                              1. re: lollya

                                Cucumber and lime is a really good combination in a fruit water.

                                Dessert...well I'm no help because they all sound good to me! What about lemon pound cake and then have macerated berries and whipped cream to spoon over? That way you get the best of all worlds!

                                It all sounds great, lollya! What time should I be there? ;-)

                                1. re: QueenB

                                  Well since you gave me most of the recipes....wanna help cook?
                                  I'm in Minne, where ya at? :)

                                  I'm excited, it's beautiful out here, the lilacs are abundant and well, so are the dandelions. :(

                                  1. re: lollya

                                    Texas! That's one heck of a hike for brunch! :-)

                                    I have to add that my local Mexican restaurant makes an orange/pineapple fruit water that would probably be great for brunch as well. As far as I know it's just orange and pineapple juice watered down.

                                    I bet watermelon would make a great fruit water too...with a bit of honey added.

                                2. re: lollya

                                  Wow Lollya ya done great! What time again? Seriously all of it sounds just perfect.

                                  Do you need a dessert? I see a lovely berry tart, one of my favorites!
                                  You will be a rock start on Sunday! And actually last minute plans have come up, I'm going to do hold a brunch too, just seems so much nicer than going out.

                                  Congratulations!

                              2. Whew!

                                It went great! I was really anxious about throwing this party, and of course there were minor obstacles that almost pushed me into panic, but the party came off great! Everyone showed up and RAVED about the food...and I couldn't have done it without you guys. ::bows, thanks::

                                Thank you, each of you, I sincerely appreciate it. I wish I had pictures to post, but I was so damn nervous with both sides of the family and timing everything, I forgot! :(

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: lollya

                                  I'm so glad to hear that everything went well! What was your final menu?

                                  1. re: QueenB

                                    Spinach quiche
                                    Camembert & Leek tart
                                    Baked French toast

                                    Sweet & Spicy Bacon
                                    Herb Potato Salad

                                    Berry Tart with fresh whipped cream

                                    Sangria
                                    Lemonade (with option of vodka, mint)

                                    heh. i stuck to the originals...the hits were your camembert tart and the bacon. ;)
                                    thanks B. I owe ya....now, whatcha need?

                                    1. re: lollya

                                      You owe me nothing, I'm always happy to share! I'm just glad everything turned out well.
                                      Did you make your own sangria? How did you do that?

                                      1. re: QueenB

                                        ahhh...
                                        well i have some yummy recipes....

                                        i used a red wine, soaked strawberries, oranges lemon and grapes in it. threw in some framboise and topped with ginger ale....
                                        easy.

                                        1. re: lollya

                                          That sounds really good. I love sangria but have never attempted to make it myself.