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What do you love to serve for brunch?

r
runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 01:02 PM

I am wondering if you have favorite dishes you make when you are serving brunch to a crowd, maybe more than 5 or 6 people? I am planning a brunch for about 30 in the distant future, and I realized when I thought, "Uh, quiche?" that I might need some inspiration. What do you love to serve or be served for brunch?

  1. j
    jvanderh Apr 28, 2010 01:13 PM

    Bacon, which can be made beautifully in the oven, and muffins :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: jvanderh
      r
      runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 09:47 PM

      Perfect! I am lucky enough to have 2 ovens. This will keep the kitchen much cleaner.

    2. j
      janniecooks Apr 28, 2010 01:45 PM

      Strata! There are endless variations, you can make it with sausage and cheddar, bacon and whatever cheese, ham, prosciutto, chorizo with green onions, cilantro and jack cheese.....lots of opportunity for an interesting brunch. Fruit salad, homemade sticky buns or some other sweet like banana bread, sliced melon, vegetable platter, roasted vegetable platter, mimosas and bloodies, yogurt parfaits made with homemade granola (extra credit for homemade yogurt), eggs sprinkled with herbs and a touch of cream and baked in ham cups, lightly steamed asparagus with aioli, waldorf salad, curried chicken salad.....

      3 Replies
      1. re: janniecooks
        r
        runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 09:49 PM

        Sticky buns! Roasted vegetable platter! And I could make little mini yogurt parfaits, like verrines. Yes, homemade granola is great, but can I use Costco's? Cuz it's like crack to me.

        1. re: runwestierun
          j
          janniecooks Apr 29, 2010 03:53 AM

          Oh sure, use the granola you like best!

        2. re: janniecooks
          coastie May 1, 2010 07:41 PM

          i second the strata - it is great, economical and holds really well

        3. shaogo Apr 28, 2010 01:54 PM

          Plenty of great baked goods, heated up in the oven, are the centerpiece of any brunch I serve for more than four. I put out a spread of Italian meats and cheeses, a dark green salad, and another salad (often Waldorf). I pass several types of butters, some flavored, with this spread. The meal lends itself just as well to good coffee as it does wine or mimosa/bloody drinks.

          2 Replies
          1. re: shaogo
            r
            runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 09:50 PM

            I really like that you serve flavored butters. So special, so easy, so make-ahead. Thank you. What flavors do you make for brunch?

            1. re: runwestierun
              j
              jules127 May 13, 2010 09:14 AM

              Strawberry honey butter is my favorite. This is a good guidline: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

          2. boyzoma Apr 28, 2010 01:57 PM

            Add a hash brown casserole to that as well. You can also do a spiral ham. It covers a lot of ground. And I agree with jvanderh - baked bacon - yummy. Eggs Benedict is great too!

            4 Replies
            1. re: boyzoma
              Siobhan Apr 28, 2010 02:25 PM

              I had tried several more "sophisticated" dishes for a brunch, but the most popular was a maple sausage and waffle breakfast casserole.

              http://whatdidyoueat.typepad.com/what...

              1. re: Siobhan
                boyzoma Apr 28, 2010 03:04 PM

                That looks yummy too!

              2. re: boyzoma
                a
                alexa52 May 2, 2010 02:28 PM

                boyzoma - do you have a recipe for the hash brown casserole? I am all about potatoes. Sounds like a great addition to a brunch table.

                1. re: alexa52
                  boyzoma May 13, 2010 08:46 AM

                  Sure. Its pretty easy to make.

                  1 bags Potato O’Brien (Thawed)
                  2 tbs. melted butter
                  ½ tsp salt
                  3 tbls. Green onion
                  ½ can cream of chicken soup
                  1 ½ c. shredded cheese
                  ¾ c. sour cream
                  1 c. corn flakes for top
                  ¼ c. butter (for top)

                  DIRECTIONS:
                  Mix first 7 ingredients in 8x8 square pan and then sprinkle with crushed corn flakes. Slice ¼ c. butter thinly and place over top (cover as much area as possible). Bake at 350 for approx. 50 minutes. (This is a ½ recipe from the original). Optional diced ham or bacon can be added for a breakfast meal. Also, if desired, additional shredded cheese can be added on top before the corn flakes.

              3. k
                keltrue Apr 28, 2010 02:00 PM

                I'm always on board w/bacon in the oven, like jvanderh... but for brunch, I like to take it a step further and sprinkle it with dark brown sugar and lots of cracked black pepper. It's awesome.

                I just make sure that everything I choose can be made ahead of time... I want to enjoy it too! Waste your time making omelettes and waffles for everyone and you'll never do it again. A few recent recipes I saw that looked good include baked or shirred eggs (in ramekins w/vegetables or on top of a layer of hashbrowns in a pan); homemade museli with yogurt and fruit; stratas or savory bread puddings are a great choice (a la janniecooks); layered french toast dishes are nice as well.

                I always make sure to have a bunch of drinks/cocktails ready as well - and plenty of coffee.

                2 Replies
                1. re: keltrue
                  j
                  jvanderh Apr 29, 2010 01:33 PM

                  "Waste your time making omelets and waffles for everyone and you'll never do it again"

                  Amen. It's cool to make one on-the-spot thing if you're serving a small group and everything else is extremely low-maintenance, but struggling to get everyone fed is miserable-- and stresses out your guests.

                  1. re: keltrue
                    nomadchowwoman May 2, 2010 07:32 AM

                    Sitting here pondering what I'm going to make for late Sunday morning breakfast--and you've inspired me. Bacon w/brown sugar and black pepper coming up w/our omelette.
                    Thanks!

                  2. Aravisea Apr 28, 2010 02:01 PM

                    Eggs Benedict, bacon-stuffed waffles and apple fritters are our standbys. :)

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: Aravisea
                      r
                      runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 10:06 PM

                      Bacon-stuffed waffles? Are you trying to sleep with my husband?

                      1. re: runwestierun
                        WhatThePho May 13, 2010 09:23 AM

                        HAHA! ahh... that's great.

                      2. re: Aravisea
                        c oliver May 1, 2010 02:36 PM

                        Isn't rather ambitious for a crowd of 30?

                        1. re: c oliver
                          r
                          runwestierun May 1, 2010 05:50 PM

                          The waffles or, um, the other?

                          1. re: runwestierun
                            c oliver May 1, 2010 06:38 PM

                            Although subsequent posts make EB sound (almost) doable for a crowd, I can't imagine doing it myself. Also the waffles. And the fritters only if serve room temp. I'm beyond making myself crazy and sick when entertaining :) That menu would do me in. But I'm an old bag :)

                            1. re: c oliver
                              r
                              runwestierun May 1, 2010 08:33 PM

                              I am with you. I would love to make the EB, I just can't think of a method that would be acceptable. Because it's a buffet and I'm not willing to buy a big chafing dish, I think I have to pass on the EB. People will be arriving and eating sporadically, so I couldn't plate them all at once. Too much work.

                              1. re: runwestierun
                                Aravisea May 2, 2010 05:33 AM

                                I haven't had a problem doing waffles en masse, but I do have two waffle makers and I make the batter the day before.

                                Haven't had a problem with fritters either. Although my brunch crews might be much less formal than yours - people pop into the kitchen and eat the fritters as they come out of the oil.

                                I agree EB is tough to work for a crowd as big as yours - I wasn't keeping "30 people" in mind when I mentioned it. :)

                                1. re: Aravisea
                                  r
                                  runwestierun May 2, 2010 12:22 PM

                                  Oh, no, Aravisea, it's the entree I most wanted to make. I was just hoping there might be some miracle easy way to do it for a crowd. I am always amazed at the ingenuity of the members here. It was a good suggestion. Also, it looks more like 40 people now so I am backing away from the EB idea.

                      3. l
                        laliz Apr 28, 2010 02:57 PM

                        emeril's chicken/apple sausage
                        as keltrue mentioned, baked bacon w/brown sugar and peppr (Pig Candy)
                        Frico
                        Platter w/Trader Joe's lemon bread, strawberries and blueberries
                        deviled eggs ~~ face it, everyone loves them
                        spinach dip in bread bowl w/crudites

                        all make ahead

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: laliz
                          r
                          runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 09:53 PM

                          What is Frico?
                          I've never had TJ's lemon bread but it sounds good...
                          Deviled eggs! And they can be so pretty with garnishes.

                          1. re: runwestierun
                            goodhealthgourmet Apr 28, 2010 10:44 PM

                            frico is a baked cheese crisp or wafer, usually made with Parmesan (or another hard, grated cheese). using about 1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons grated cheese per frico, mound the cheese in piles on a parchment-lined sheet pan or silpat, tap down slightly to flatten it (you want rounds that are about 4 inches in diameter), and bake in a preheated 375 oven for 8-10 minutes until golden and bubbly. you can also mold the baked frico into little cups/mini-bowls and serve salad in them...to do this, while the frico are still warm, drape each one over a small ramekin or shot glass, or use an overturned muffin pan. lightly mold the cheese crisp over the cup and let it harden in that shape.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                              r
                              runwestierun Apr 29, 2010 09:03 PM

                              Ha! I've made them, but I didn't know what they were called!

                        2. d
                          Dcfoodblog Apr 28, 2010 03:17 PM

                          As a counterpoint to all the eggs and pastries, I always make a citrus salad with navel and blood oranges and grapefruit. It's totally refreshing.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Dcfoodblog
                            boyzoma Apr 28, 2010 03:27 PM

                            Fresh fruit is always a winner. A buffet of mellons, berries, pineapple, etc. is wonderful. Whether in a salad or just on a platter. Great catch Dcfoodblog!

                            1. re: Dcfoodblog
                              c oliver May 1, 2010 02:37 PM

                              I like adding shaved fennel to fruit salad.

                            2. w
                              wonderwoman Apr 28, 2010 03:23 PM

                              i like fritattas. can be made ahead, and provide a gluten-free options.

                              here are two of my favorites:

                              almond frittata
                              6 eggs

                              2 tablespoons sugar, 3 if using buttermilk

                              Pinch of salt
                              1/2 cup cream, light coconut milk or buttermilk

                              1/2 cup almond meal

                              1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

                              1 teaspoon each vanilla, almond extract

                              2 tablespoons butter (non-stick spray is fine)

                              1. Heat 8-inch ovenproof skillet (I use cast iron) in a 400-degree oven while you gather the ingredients and put the mixture together,

                              2. In a bowl, combine eggs, cream, coconut milk or buttermilk vanilla and almond extract.
                              3. In a second bowl, combine almond meal, sliced almonds, sugar and salt. Stir into liquid mixture.

                              4. Melt butter or spray skillet, pour in egg mixture and return to oven for 20 minutes.
                              5. Let cool, slice and serve. For company, dust with confectioners sugar.

                              Baked Ricotta Frittata

                              2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
                              6 large or extra large eggs
                              Freshly ground pepper to taste
                              1 cup fresh ricotta
                              1 cup freshly grated parm
                              1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the oil in a 2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch cast iron skillet. Rub the oil over the sides of the pan, and place in the oven. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the salt (about 1/2 teaspoon), pepper, ricotta, mint and garlic. Remove the baking dish from the oven and scrape in the egg mixture. Return to the oven, and bake 30 minutes or until lightly colored on the top and set.
                              2. Remove from the heat, and allow to sit for 10 minutes or longer before serving. Serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature. I like to serve it on a pool of marinaria sauce, with a drizzle of basil oil.
                              Yield: Serves six.

                              1. c
                                cheesymama Apr 28, 2010 05:40 PM

                                I like breakfast sausage and baked french toast. For the french toast cube enough good egg bread (challah or brioche) to more or less fill a greased casserole (something with low sides) sprinkle generously with cubed cream cheese and blueberries. Mix together eggs, cream and a flavouring such as maple syrup, liqueur, etc and pour over the bread mixture. Press on the bread to make sure all of bread is moistened. This can be done the night before.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: cheesymama
                                  m
                                  mom22tots Apr 28, 2010 06:00 PM

                                  That sounds amazing. Can it soak overnight or does it need to be baked the night before?

                                  1. re: mom22tots
                                    r
                                    runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 09:55 PM

                                    Yes, do tell...

                                    1. re: mom22tots
                                      c
                                      cheesymama Apr 29, 2010 03:41 AM

                                      I always soak the night before and bake the next day just prior to serving. I takes 30-45 min at 350F depending on the size of casserole.

                                      1. re: mom22tots
                                        c
                                        cheesymama Apr 29, 2010 03:43 AM

                                        Just noticed your screen name mom, my 4 and 6 yr olds are always begging me to put choc chips instead of the berries. And they love to make this!

                                        1. re: cheesymama
                                          m
                                          mom22tots Apr 29, 2010 01:48 PM

                                          My 7 and 9 yr olds would wholeheartedly agree! Doesn't everything taste better with chocolate chips?!

                                          1. re: mom22tots
                                            goodhealthgourmet Apr 29, 2010 03:19 PM

                                            LOL! my now 12-year-old twin nieces came out to San Diego for a visit with me back in 2004...six years later, the first thing they *still* mention when it comes up is the fact that when i took them out for breakfast they got to order chocolate chip pancakes :)

                                    2. JerryMe Apr 28, 2010 06:17 PM

                                      Mimosas! A big ice cold pitcher kept on ice and I don't mind manning the fry pans for omelets. I've seen the omelets that are put into a bag and boiled, but I think they're kind of messy and not attractive. Definitely muffins and bacon.

                                      Small rolls and ham is a favorite along with a spring salad. Even a ham salad with rolls goes over well.

                                      Sweet rolls! I don't like pancakes that aren't fresh, so I would skip those but french toast keeps well. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

                                      I like brunch cuz' it's one of the easier meals to set out and feed people with.

                                      1. p
                                        pasuga Apr 28, 2010 08:07 PM

                                        That's a big crowd. Can I suggest Ann Hodgman's party potatoes as a side? Page 120 in the "Beat That!" cookbook. She said it's supposed to serve 30, but she suggested 20, since the last time she served it for 20 there were no leftovers. And a very forgiving recipe - stick it in the oven at almost any temp with whatever else you're cooking and as long as you keep an eye on it and stir a few times you won't have a problem.

                                        Haven't made it, but have been wanting to try - involves large quantities of Ore-Ida frozen hash browns, onion, garlic, several cheeses and a bit of half-and-half. Sounds delicious.

                                        Unfortunately can't post the recipe since it's copyrighted.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: pasuga
                                          goodhealthgourmet Apr 28, 2010 08:15 PM

                                          you can paraphrase the recipe, you just can't post it word for word.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                            r
                                            runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 09:56 PM

                                            Do I understand the rules here correctly? I think you can post the ingredients, but you can't use her wording of the method, is that right?

                                            1. re: runwestierun
                                              goodhealthgourmet Apr 28, 2010 10:44 PM

                                              right!

                                          2. re: pasuga
                                            g
                                            GrandmaGG Apr 29, 2010 02:13 PM

                                            At home, crummy sick, and trying to plan a Mom's Day Brunch, too. Excitedly I jump out of my chair, climb the bookshelf to grab my treasured Ann Hodgman cookbook, only to find that page 120 is Kimchi! I didn't know that she had another version called, "Beat That!". Kimchi is on the superfood list, so good I found it.

                                            Do you think you could post/paraphrase the potato recipe? Thanks

                                            1. re: GrandmaGG
                                              m
                                              mom22tots Apr 30, 2010 06:19 PM

                                              Would love that recipe too!!

                                              1. re: GrandmaGG
                                                goodhealthgourmet Apr 30, 2010 07:11 PM

                                                for GrandmaGG and mom22tots:
                                                http://books.google.com/books?id=Oq5A...

                                            2. JerryMe Apr 28, 2010 08:32 PM

                                              http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/fo...

                                              Hope this comes thru for you for ideas.

                                              1. r
                                                runwestierun Apr 28, 2010 10:04 PM

                                                OK, I have moved beyond quiche, and I am thankful for the ideas. Especially, um, pig candy. I have been racking my brain, what do you think of lamb popsicles, grilled? Is that too fussy?

                                                Also, I've got some amazing smoked salmon in the freezer, how can I incorporate that without just slapping it on the buffet on a plate? I've got a good smoked salmon cheesecake recipe.

                                                And, have any of you successfully done Eggs Benedict for a crowd and had enough time to enjoy the party? I have that Sous Vide Supreme cooker, I could hold the eggs in there. I could keep the hollandaise warm, keep the meat warm and toast English muffins individually? I don't own any chafing dishes, I just can't think of a non-labor intensive way to do it. Hep.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: runwestierun
                                                  goodhealthgourmet Apr 28, 2010 10:55 PM

                                                  the issue with the lamb isn't that it's too fussy, it's that they're too labor-intensive. you'd need to grill them all at the last minute just before serving to be sure that they're at the right temperature and tenderness for your guests - don't do that to yourself!

                                                  as for the smoked salmon:
                                                  - mousse or spread
                                                  - roulades or pinwheels
                                                  - crostini with goat cheese, capers, and snipped fresh chive (or dill)
                                                  - napoleons (with puff pastry or phyllo)

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                    Pia Apr 29, 2010 12:28 PM

                                                    Or just slap the smoked salmon on a platter... with capers, red onions, sliced tomatoes, and some good bagels and cream cheese. A very easy and low-maintenance brunch option, IF you can get good bagels.

                                                    I also do lots of fresh fruit, in separate bowls so people can mix if they want to (some people are anti-fruit salad). And I like to bake mini-muffins.

                                                    1. re: Pia
                                                      goodhealthgourmet Apr 29, 2010 03:21 PM

                                                      the OP specifically asked what to do with the salmon "without just slapping it on the buffet plate" - otherwise i wouldn't have gotten so carried away ;)

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                        r
                                                        runwestierun Apr 29, 2010 08:59 PM

                                                        No, GHG, I think Pia's idea is good. I just didn't want a lone piece of oily fish on a plate and I've gone braindead. I think the bagel idea is good for part of the fish (I have alot), and your idea of napoleons totally intrigues me. Do you have a recipe? This could be a perfect food! I have never seen a savory napoleon.

                                                        1. re: runwestierun
                                                          goodhealthgourmet Apr 30, 2010 10:46 AM

                                                          re; the napoleons, i'm not much for recipes for this kind of thing - you can really wing it. but here are some general guidelines:
                                                          - for the "foundation" pieces, use squares of baked puff pastry or phyllo, OR homemade potato chips (just slice into thin rounds and bake or fry until golden)
                                                          -for the filling, blend creme fraiche or mild goat cheese with some minced chive, maybe a little fresh dill or some chopped capers, a little finely grated lemon zest, some freshly ground pepper (you see where i'm going with this...?)
                                                          - place a foundation layer on the plate and spread it with a little of the cream or cheese mixture; top with a layer of smoked salmon (and maybe even some chopped, fried capers); top with another foundation piece (and if you want to, repeat with another layer).

                                                          does that make sense?

                                                          oh, and about the platter, since you're open to that idea, Pia's suggestion was perfect - she included all the necessary elements.

                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                      Will Owen Apr 29, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                      "the issue with the lamb isn't that it's too fussy, it's that they're too labor-intensive." Depends on how you do'em. Seems to me if you roast whole racks to the just-past-rare stage and cool them down quickly, you could hold them and then cut apart and grill quickly in batches just to heat through. I've had those at a catered party and I believe that's how the chef did them, adding just a quick brushing of oil and a dash of seasoning. Yes, they WERE good; Mrs. O had to pry me forcibly away from the platter so the others could get some...

                                                      Speaking of that salmon, one of my favorite brunch dishes here in LA is at a place called Square One Dining. It's a Benedict variation with crisp fried cakes of shredded potato on a bed of frisée, with slices of their house-cured salmon laid over, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise. Usually served with grits, but their baby arugula salad is even better with it...

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                        a
                                                        alexa52 May 2, 2010 02:46 PM

                                                        Poached Salmon is an easy and impressive dish. Poach it the night before and serve it cold. Looks beautiful as a center piece.

                                                      2. re: runwestierun
                                                        eight_inch_pestle Apr 29, 2010 01:46 PM

                                                        To tie into an earlier suggestion that you liked, smoked salmon is great sliced thin and stirred into deviled eggs. Or just used as a garnish for each egg, maybe with a little dill or other herb of your choice.

                                                        And it would also be great on eggs benedict or in baked or shirred eggs, maybe as a little surprise in the bottom of each cup. (Can you tell I have a weakness for salmon and eggs?)

                                                        1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                          r
                                                          runwestierun Apr 29, 2010 09:06 PM

                                                          Will and Eight Inch,
                                                          I really like the idea of a benedict, esp with salmon, but how can I do it so it is not labor intensive for 40 people? I want to enjoy the party.

                                                          1. re: runwestierun
                                                            eight_inch_pestle May 1, 2010 05:22 PM

                                                            I've certainly never done them for a crowd that large. Here's a few suggestions that might make it more feasible. The keys are obviously preparation and organization.

                                                            1) The salmon is also a nice alternative to meat because you don't have to cook it or keep it warm. I would open the packages the night before and bunch the slices into forty individual servings on a large tray or trays (assuming you have the refrigerator space). Pull them out about an hour beforehand so they're not refrigerator cold.
                                                            2) Make the hollandaise ahead and keep warm over the gentlest heat.
                                                            3) Butter the English muffins beforehand, and then toast them all at once in the oven.
                                                            4) The eggs. This is obviously the real challenge. I know some fortunate people have the skill or experience to poach a whole bunch at once, and could probably knock these out fairly quickly. I am not among those people. Another option, of course, would be a faux-benedict, made with either soft-boiled or baked/shirred eggs. You could even try making the baked eggs in muffin tins in a bain marie, which would probably allow you to make all 40 at once. If that were successful, the entire project becomes a really simple and fairly fast assembly-line task, assuming you are well organized and have plated the English muffins while the eggs cook, have trays of portioned-out salmon waiting, and have your hollandaise warmed and ready to be ladled.

                                                            Are you alone in the kitchen? Assembly line projects of this magnitude are far easier with a spouse or good friend---even someone to just runs plates out to company as you finish. Anyhow, as long as the party is a long way off, I would recommend a couple dry runs. Make 10 and see how it goes and what you learn. Good luck!

                                                            1. re: runwestierun
                                                              iheartcooking Sep 26, 2010 04:32 PM

                                                              Alton Brown answers this precise question in an episode about brunch (about eggs Benedict, really) in which he teaches a really neat way to make poached eggs for a crowd. It's very systematic and looks foolproof. I'm sure you can find the video up on YouTube :)

                                                        2. s
                                                          sparkareno Apr 29, 2010 12:50 PM

                                                          I take red grapefruit, cut in half, squeeze out some of the juice, replace juice with vodka, sprinkle w/brown sugar & put under the broiler--garnish w/ 1/2 strawberry & mint in the middle. Kind of like a greyhound drink--that you eat!

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: sparkareno
                                                            eight_inch_pestle Apr 29, 2010 04:38 PM

                                                            Do you think the flesh absorbs enough vodka that this would make a good hors d'oeuvre if cut into wedges before sprinkling with sugar and broiling? I'm thinking they might be nice served with cocktails made with champagne and vodka and the reserved grapefruit juice, maybe with a little mint chiffonade. A little messy, so obviously an idea for casual company or good friends. And you'd surely have to lose the strawberry, altho a slice could be nice in the cocktail.

                                                            1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                              s
                                                              sparkareno Apr 30, 2010 11:14 AM

                                                              I don't know---I think keeping them in halves holds the vodka in. The vodka fills up the displaced squeezed out juice. When I've made them there is always lots of "vodka juice" still in the shell that we kind of eat with our spoons. Maybe if you soaked the grapefruits the night before it would really give them a chance to soak up & then cut them into wedges right before the brown sugar/broiling. I do like your idea of serving them with the champagne cocktails. And the pink grapefruit does look pretty.

                                                              1. re: sparkareno
                                                                eight_inch_pestle May 1, 2010 04:31 PM

                                                                Thanks for the feedback. I may give it a try just for us two before experiment with company. Will report back if I do.

                                                            2. re: sparkareno
                                                              r
                                                              runwestierun Apr 29, 2010 09:01 PM

                                                              Wonderful! But how do I keep the children away?

                                                              1. re: runwestierun
                                                                Caitlin McGrath May 1, 2010 07:46 PM

                                                                Warn their parents and put the platter in a high spot (pointing it out to the adults)?

                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                  r
                                                                  runwestierun May 1, 2010 08:34 PM

                                                                  Yes. I thought of a little skull and crossbones label, but, at least for the children in my family, that would make it even more enticing.

                                                            3. c
                                                              CookingintheMountains Apr 29, 2010 06:17 PM

                                                              How about beginning with a chilled glass of bubbly and/or some fresh squeezed O.J.?
                                                              A fruit Salad of what ever is in season such as a medley of - Blackberries, Strawberries, Kiwis and Pineapple OR a Melon Medley of Casaba, Watermelon, Honeydew and Cantaloupe. I usually do a Fritatta because it is quick, easy but very yummy. Try a mushroom, asparagus and cheese. Serve up a variety of Croissants, bagels, buns and/or muffins. Grill some quality sausages (Chicken Apple, Turkey Cranberry, Spicy Moroccan Lamb) and/or Bacon.
                                                              The other option is to gear up to a more lunch like menu....Gazpacho and poached Salmon?

                                                              What ever you choose have fun and have plenty!

                                                              1. BarbRolek Apr 30, 2010 06:31 AM

                                                                Check out "Breakfasts & Brunches" from the Culinary Institute of America. Lots of great ideas. The puff pastry cherry-cheese baskets are a great idea. You can use purchased puff pastry or make your own blitz puff pastry, which is much faster than the original from scratch. You can turn this dough into all sorts of sweet and savory items for your brunch -- turnovers, bear claws, little tarts -- fast and easy with purchased puff pastry. And they can be eaten hot or at room temperature (make ahead).

                                                                1. c
                                                                  cathyeats Apr 30, 2010 09:10 AM

                                                                  I make egg white frittatas and people are always amazed how good they are (I use one yolk, and the rest whites.) My favorite frittata includes tomatillos. But for springtime, I just made one with ramps and asparagus. I will get the recipe together tonight and post it here in the next few days!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cathyeats
                                                                    r
                                                                    runwestierun Apr 30, 2010 09:21 AM

                                                                    Thank you, Cathy. I have some ramps, so I look forward to your recipe.

                                                                    This brunch is for the day after my parents' 50th wedding anniversary party, so I am planning ahead because I want it to be special and I want to have the time to enjoy it myself. I appreciate all of your ideas.

                                                                    1. re: runwestierun
                                                                      c
                                                                      cathyeats May 3, 2010 02:38 AM

                                                                      Here's the recipe, as promised. I used six egg whites and one whole egg, and although it was delicious, it was a little flat (see the photo.) So I’m recommending eight whites here. Or extra yolks if you prefer. But I need to stick with whites because of my stupid cholesterol problem. To keep it very simple, I baked this. But you could also cook it in the more classic frittata manner, starting it in the pan then finishing it in the oven for a few minutes.

                                                                      You can see the photo here: http://whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/05/...

                                                                      Baked Egg White Frittata with Ramps and Asparagus

                                                                      8 egg whites

                                                                      1 whole egg

                                                                      1/2 c. fat-free ricotta cheese

                                                                      1 T chopped flat-leaf parsley

                                                                      1/8 t. salt

                                                                      Freshly ground black pepper to taste

                                                                      1 T. extra virgin olive oil

                                                                      1/2 lb. asparagus, tough ends snapped off, stalks cut into 1/2-inch pieces

                                                                      6-8 ramps, chopped (or use 5 scallions

                                                                      )

                                                                      Preheat the oven to 350. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the ramps and asparagus and saute until just tender, about 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg whites, egg, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper. Spray a 9″ pie pan with cooking oil spray. Place the ramps and asparagus in the pie pan, then pour the egg mixture on top. Bake until just firm to the touch in the center, about 20-25 minutes.

                                                                  2. s
                                                                    swamp Apr 30, 2010 11:44 AM

                                                                    I like serving egg cups where you wrap partially cooked bacon around a muffin tin and then put an egg with topped with green onions and cheese. Bake until egg is done. Kind of a nice all in one item.

                                                                    1. bermudagourmetgoddess Apr 30, 2010 11:59 AM

                                                                      I love hosting brunch parties instead of dinner parties! I have a spread that I pretty much stick too all the time!
                                                                      Mimosas
                                                                      Spicy Bloody Mary’s garnished with a large poached shrimp
                                                                      Pink Lemonade (it is a vodka drink)

                                                                      Smoked Salmon & Fish Platter
                                                                      Mixed Salad & Fruit
                                                                      “Southern” Eggs Benedict with Sausage Patties and cheddar cheese sauce
                                                                      Maple Bacon
                                                                      Crab cakes and Salmon cakes
                                                                      Blintzes with sugar and fresh orange squeezed on top
                                                                      Selection of Croissants, Muffins and pastries ~ which I do buy from my local baker...too busy making eveything else to worrie about muffins and pastries!

                                                                      However with such a large crowd why not a nice smoked ham and egg scramble with spinach...just a thought

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess
                                                                        e
                                                                        eaglelake Apr 30, 2010 01:17 PM

                                                                        Sausage and Johnny Cake - the recipe is in the "Best of Bridge" series of cook books...great for a brunch - and can be made ahead of time- frozen and re-heated.

                                                                        1. re: bermudagourmetgoddess
                                                                          r
                                                                          runwestierun Apr 30, 2010 07:45 PM

                                                                          Shrimp in a bloody mary! Such a good idea. Mmmmmm maple bacon. How do you make your pink lemonade?

                                                                          1. re: runwestierun
                                                                            bermudagourmetgoddess May 1, 2010 08:30 AM

                                                                            Vodka, sour mix and a splash of cranberry ... garnish with a wedge of lemon

                                                                        2. souschef May 1, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                                          I like to make cheese souffle for brunch, but obviously not for 30 people. However, with careful planning it may be doable.

                                                                          Am I the only one who thinks that mimosas are a waste of good bubbly and good freshly-squeezed orange juice? I like both for brunch, but each on their own.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: souschef
                                                                            r
                                                                            runwestierun May 1, 2010 08:35 PM

                                                                            Ah, you assume I will be buying good bubbly...

                                                                            1. re: souschef
                                                                              JerryMe May 2, 2010 01:11 PM

                                                                              Oh, I love mimosas - champagne on it's own is not to my taste, but w/ the fresh oj, it's a welcome treat!

                                                                              1. re: JerryMe
                                                                                souschef May 2, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                                                Don't give up on Champagne just yet; try several different ones (ideally at a tasting bar) as it is something very personal. I love some of the cheaper ones but don't care for some of the highly-rated (and expensive) ones.

                                                                              2. re: souschef
                                                                                LaLa May 2, 2010 04:05 PM

                                                                                I add a littlte triple sec to mine

                                                                              3. m
                                                                                MNLisaB May 1, 2010 08:34 PM

                                                                                So many great ideas here. I like to make a nice smoked salmon/cream cheese fritatta, with green onions, garlic and chopped spinach. You could probably do a larger version of this in a glass baking dish, and cut them into perfect serving sizes.

                                                                                Have never tried it, but am sure you could find a make ahead version of stuffed french toast.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: MNLisaB
                                                                                  a
                                                                                  alexa52 May 2, 2010 02:50 PM

                                                                                  MNLisaB - do you have a recipe for the leek and onion strudel? Sounds yummy.

                                                                                2. souschef May 1, 2010 08:52 PM

                                                                                  I make a leek and onion strudel that I have served as hors d'oeuvres at dinner parties, but it would go well at brunch, and it is make-ahead. You can make large ones and cut them up, or make mini spring rolls or beggars purses. The recipe is simple: sliced leeks and onions sauteed in butter and olive oil till softened. Then add summer savory and raisins that have been macerated in port. Heat through, then allow to cool and make the strudel with phyllo. Everyone has enjoyed it when I have made it.

                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                    maria.clifford May 2, 2010 05:49 AM

                                                                                    Homemade yogurt, serve with homemade granola or muesli mix
                                                                                    Fruit salad, just chop up your favorite fruits, like apples, kiwis, strawberries, bananas
                                                                                    Homemade rolls, croissants, muffins, scones, other baked goods
                                                                                    Make-your-own-sandwich table: different types of breads, with a variety of toppings, like cheese, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, radish, bell pepper, hard-boiled egg.
                                                                                    chai tea

                                                                                    1. s
                                                                                      suzannajoy May 2, 2010 09:59 AM

                                                                                      This strata is incredible and always a hit

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

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: suzannajoy
                                                                                        r
                                                                                        runwestierun May 2, 2010 12:19 PM

                                                                                        I really like that it doesn't have meat in it. I wasn't really considering strata because we have a fair number of vegetarians in the family, but this would be so much easier than EB (I could leave the meat off some EB, that's one reason I was invested in that idea). Thank you.

                                                                                        1. re: runwestierun
                                                                                          souschef May 2, 2010 12:53 PM

                                                                                          I just remembered that I saw something in the Balthazar cookbook about cooking EB for a large crowd, so pulled out the book, and here's what it says:
                                                                                          "The favorite standard is eggs Benedict, whose elements get prepared well in advance: dozens of soft-poached eggs kept by the side of the stove in a basin of hot water, so that they stay warm but don't cook any further; a container of holladaise sauce."

                                                                                          It then states that it takes just a minute to slide a couple of eggs onto a toasted English muffin and coat them with sauce; also that it is not time- consuming provided you do the prep well in advance.

                                                                                          Hope that helps if you are intent on making it.

                                                                                          1. re: souschef
                                                                                            r
                                                                                            runwestierun May 2, 2010 01:43 PM

                                                                                            I have that cookbook. I think that's perfect. I was trying to think of a way I could do 63C eggs in my sous vide cooker, but I didn't want to crack each egg as I needed it. Of course! I can just hold them in the cooker out of the shell until I need them. I really appreciate that you looked that up. Also that you chose a book I luckily have on my shelf. Thank you.

                                                                                            So, for the meat eaters I can make EB, and for the vegetarians I will do an English muffin with some shredded parm, a poached egg, a warm pistou of basil, EVOO and a bit of garlic, and a couple of drops of truffle oil. And I can prep and hold everything enough so I won't be stressed. YAY!

                                                                                            1. re: runwestierun
                                                                                              l
                                                                                              LaReeJB May 13, 2010 12:03 AM

                                                                                              I am having a bit of trouble understanding how vegetarians eat eggs. I have noticed in a lot of eggs benadict recipes that you simply dont put on the Canadian bacon .... aren't eggs in the meat catagory?

                                                                                              1. re: LaReeJB
                                                                                                LaLa May 13, 2010 03:48 AM

                                                                                                some do
                                                                                                http://www.ivu.org/faq/definitions.html

                                                                                                1. re: LaReeJB
                                                                                                  nomadchowwoman May 13, 2010 08:38 AM

                                                                                                  I think many vegetarians (not vegans) abstain from eating the *flesh* of animals and seafood because it is necessary to kill these creatures to eat them. Poultry does not have to die to produce eggs (which is not to say that mass production in the egg industry is not fraught with its own problems).

                                                                                        2. ladyberd May 13, 2010 09:55 AM

                                                                                          I like to make Spanish food for brunch. The star is huevos flamenco - eggs that are baked in a tomato chorizo sauce and topped with manchego. I also serve grilled bread with tomato and garlic, Serrano ham, Spanish cheeses and olives, etc. The egg recipe is available on the food network website - it's one Anne Burrell made - it's fantastic!

                                                                                          Cheers,
                                                                                          Ladyberd
                                                                                          http://ladyberds-kitchen.blogspot.com

                                                                                          1. AmandaCA Sep 26, 2010 03:53 PM

                                                                                            I'm surprised no one mentioned stuffed french toast casserole. At least, I don't think any one mentioned it. I do a brunch once a month for my lady friends and it is always a hit. Simple, versatile and bake ahead too. Plus it makes your house smell great right before people arrive.

                                                                                            I also like pound, lemon, pumpkin or banana bread with flavored butters. I've done fresh local bagels with 3 flavored cream cheeses homemade, strawberry honey, chive and salmon. You can do layered yogurt parfaits in wine or margarita glasses. And biscuits with chicken salad are great too.

                                                                                            French Toast Casserole

                                                                                            I have made this with strawberries, blueberries and for the fall, small diced cooked apples with cinnamon. I have served it with lemon curd, whip cream, maple syrup and a cinnamon creme anglaise, so it is very flexible.

                                                                                            Ingredients:
                                                                                            6 thick slices bread (I like brioche or challah)
                                                                                            8-ounce package cream cheese
                                                                                            1/2 cup fresh or frozen Maine wild blueberries
                                                                                            5 eggs
                                                                                            1/4 cup maple syrup
                                                                                            1 cup milk

                                                                                            Remove the crusts from the bread and cube the bread. Spray the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish with vegetables spray and place half the cubes of bread in the pan. Cube the cream cheese and put on top of the bread. Distribute 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese. Place the remaining bread over the blueberries. In a bowl, beat the eggs, then add the maple syrup and the milk. Pour the mixture over the bread and cheese. Place plastic wrap over dish and refrigerate overnight.

                                                                                            In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place aluminum foil over the dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Note: It is best if you let the French toast sit for about 10 minutes before slicing.

                                                                                            1. mamachef Sep 26, 2010 04:05 PM

                                                                                              I haven't seen Blintz Casserole yet, served w/ a cinnamony blueberry sauce and stuffed w/ sweetened pot cheese, or baked eggs florentine with cheese mornay, which can be done in large quantities at one time because it's an oven dish. And something different and fun is to make good sourdough french toast prep. but instead of griddling it, pop it in the waffle iron and serve with strawberry compote and creme fraiche; also easily done ahead of time and kept warm. I like Heller-Willinger's zucchini pudding and spiral-sliced ham brunch also, and eggs baked in baked potatoes, hollowed out and topped with a tbs. of heavy cream and some parmesan and browned pancetta are great; can also be done in hollowed out tomatoes. And if it's informal, an English fry-up (eggs, irish bacon, cumberland sausages, black pudding, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, fried toast, baked beans, fried potatoes) with a Pimm's cup is nice, but for 30 you'd have to go non-traditional and make baked scrambled eggs unless you're up for frying 60 eggs to order, though poached done ahead and held in water might work, and could be served atop the beans or potatoes.)

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