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Christmas Brunch in Lieu of Dinner

Wtg2Retire Dec 6, 2010 02:11 PM

I have decided to have a Christmas Brunch rather than a dinner. This is against long standing tradition, but I am going to do it. Following is my menu so far; I am wondering if any of you have comments or recommendations other than that shown. Any comments are welcome.

Bloody Marys
Baked Eggs in Tortilla Cups
Swiss Fried Potatoes
Chopped Onions and Tomatoes with Capers
Yummy Overnight Rolls (like sticky buns or monkey bread)
Green Grapes, Bluberries, Strawberries and Sliced Honeycrisp Apples and Kiwis Platter
Hot Coffee

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  1. boyzoma RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 6, 2010 02:30 PM

    Sounds good. Another fun thought would be http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/eg...

    Just a thought - kind of 2-in-1

    1 Reply
    1. re: boyzoma
      Wtg2Retire RE: boyzoma Dec 7, 2010 07:17 AM

      Thanks for the link. Great recipe which I am going to copy and put in my files.

    2. nofunlatte RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 6, 2010 02:41 PM

      Is this a vegetarian brunch or an omnivore brunch? If the latter, why not add some sausage or bacon? Of course the recipe boyzoma linked to would add meat to the menu, albeit not in unadorned form. Otherwise it sounds great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: nofunlatte
        Wtg2Retire RE: nofunlatte Dec 7, 2010 07:18 AM

        Not a vegetarian brunch. The baked eggs will be covered with crumbled bacon.

      2. a
        attran99 RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 6, 2010 02:46 PM

        Some bruschetta would be a fabulous appetizer :) Or a caprese salad...you can skewer them individually for a fun app to eat.

        1 Reply
        1. re: attran99
          Wtg2Retire RE: attran99 Dec 7, 2010 07:19 AM

          Bruschetta sounds like a great addition. Thanks.

        2. Wtg2Retire RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 07:20 AM

          Thanks to all of you for your contributions. I truly appreciate.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Wtg2Retire
            greenstate RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 10:00 AM

            Since it is Christmas and you are bucking years of tradition, you want the meal to be a huge success, with plenty of choices. I like what you have chosen to serve but I would offer a broader selection, more of a Smorgasbord. I love the idea of a platter of sausages or smoked salmon and bagels, or some other bread as an alternative to your sweet pastry. Maybe serve a sweet, creamy cheese to go with your fresh fruit, like goat Brie or Humboldt Fog or a bowl of Greek yogurt. Another great brunch dish, that is made the night before and popped into the oven, is baked French toast. It can be eaten warm or at room temp and it is always a crowd pleaser. Good luck!

            1. re: greenstate
              Wtg2Retire RE: greenstate Dec 7, 2010 12:34 PM

              Umm, yumm. I love the idea of a platters of sausages, as well as the cheese or yogurt to go with the fruit. Also think I will have homemade biscuits and perhaps English Muffins.

              Initially, I was going to include baked French toast, but decided that would make too many sweets at the table, so decided to scratch it.

              Thanks for the ideas.

              1. re: Wtg2Retire
                southernitalian RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 12:41 PM

                I think bagels are a better option than English muffins because they don't have to be toasted and kept warm. I do something similar to this a few times a year. I'm always amazed how quickly the bacon and sausage get gobbled up.

                1. re: southernitalian
                  Wtg2Retire RE: southernitalian Dec 8, 2010 10:59 AM

                  That is indeed a good point. Thank you.

          2. Wtg2Retire RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 12:34 PM

            Thanks to all of you for your good suggestions.

            1. Wtg2Retire RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 12:50 PM

              Here is my revised offering for Christmas Brnch. Anymore comments, suggestions - all are welcome.

              Bloody Marys
              Platter of Sausages
              Baked Eggs in Tortilla Cups
              Swiss Fried Potatoes
              Chopped Onions and Tomatoes with Capers
              Homemade Biscuits, English Muffins and Good Butter
              Yummy Overnight Rolls (like sticky buns or monkey bread)
              Green Thompson Grapes, Sliced Honeycrisp Apples, Kiwi, Blueberries, and Strawberries Platter with Greek Yogurt and/or Brie or Humboldt Fog Cheeses
              Hot Coffee

              16 Replies
              1. re: Wtg2Retire
                Ruth Lafler RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 01:11 PM

                The only things I'd add are a non-alcoholic cold drink option and tea.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  Wtg2Retire RE: Ruth Lafler Dec 7, 2010 02:15 PM

                  Oh my. I don't know why I didn't think of that. I will add orange juice and Barefoot Contessa’s Herbal Iced Tea. Thanks so much.

                2. re: Wtg2Retire
                  chowser RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 01:20 PM

                  That sounds great. If anything, I'd add (mostly because it's my Christmas go-to and you have Prosecco) cranberry simple syrup. Make simple syrup, then add cranberries to it. Put a couple of tablespoons in the prosecco and you have a Christmassy mimosa. The cranberries are really pretty and the drink is great. You can also put it in seltzer water or another non-alcoholic fizzy drink.

                  If you want to make it easier on yourself, I'd leave out the English muffins since you already have home made biscuits and overnight rolls. But, they'd be fine there, too.

                  1. re: chowser
                    Wtg2Retire RE: chowser Dec 7, 2010 02:20 PM

                    I do want to make this easy on myself, so I may end up deleting the English muffins.

                    But I am defiitely going to add your cranberry simple syrup idea. Would you mind giving me an idea as to amount of cranberries to add to ____ amount of simple syrup, please. This is just a wonderful idea.

                    1. re: Wtg2Retire
                      chowser RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 03:10 PM

                      I just kind of wing it but it's along these lines but I don't drain the cranberries.


                      I used the leftovers from Thanksgiving on a pork roast and it was really good.

                      1. re: chowser
                        Wtg2Retire RE: chowser Dec 8, 2010 10:24 AM

                        Thanks a million.

                  2. re: Wtg2Retire
                    laliz RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 02:06 PM

                    Instead of kiwi, I'd garnish the fruit platter with sliced starfruit (in season at this time of year)

                    1. re: laliz
                      Wtg2Retire RE: laliz Dec 8, 2010 11:01 AM

                      I will definitely consider the star fruit.

                    2. re: Wtg2Retire
                      Emme RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 07:46 PM

                      sounds simply lovely. the only other thing i would personally like is some greens, such as some lightly steamed and maybe chilled spinach leaves or some roasted asparagus or broccoli. something about wanting to balance the richness... but that's just my ten cents. i'm sure it will be a very merry brunch!

                      1. re: Emme
                        cheesecake17 RE: Emme Dec 8, 2010 09:29 AM

                        Roasted asparagus fits in nicely with the menu and can also be served room temperature. If you want to go for an xmas color theme, add some crumbled feta and halved cherry tomatoes on top. Plus, asparagus goes really well with eggs.

                        Also.. if you're going to do homemade biscuits, why not do a stuffed French toast instead of the cinnamon buns or monkey bread? It's a totally different texture, you can prepare the night before, and so good...

                        1. re: cheesecake17
                          Wtg2Retire RE: cheesecake17 Dec 8, 2010 10:55 AM

                          I love the idea of the spinach and the roasted asparagus. However, I can longer eat either one (health reasons). And the people who will be present do not like spinach or asparagus (silly ones).

                          I will Google recipes for stuffed French toast. Do you have one that you would be willing to share, please.

                          1. re: cheesecake17
                            Wtg2Retire RE: cheesecake17 Dec 9, 2010 06:27 AM

                            cheesecake17, do you have a recipe for stuffed French toast that has been successful for you? I looked at recipes I Goggled; only one of them was for overnight.

                            1. re: Wtg2Retire
                              cheesecake17 RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 9, 2010 06:45 AM

                              I made one a while ago, that had cream cheese and strawberries in the filling. The recipe used thick slices of challah with a slit cut in each slice for the stuffing. Unfortunately, no idea where the recipe is. Hopefully someone else can help!

                              1. re: cheesecake17
                                Wtg2Retire RE: cheesecake17 Dec 9, 2010 11:23 AM

                                Thanks, cheesecake.

                                1. re: Wtg2Retire
                                  chowser RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 9, 2010 12:15 PM

                                  I make baked stuffed french toast often but don't use a recipe. I do a cream cheese filling, cream cheese, egg, sugar mix (and whatever else I feel like at the time). If I use presliced bread (challah types are great but plain white bread works, too), I spread that between pieces of bread. If the bread isn't sliced, I slice thick pieces and cut a pocket in the middle. Layer it in a buttered baking dish. I pour eggs/egg yolk/milk/cream/sugar/spices/vanilla ver it and let it sit overnight. In the morning, let it come to room temperature and bake. I play w/ it a lot--add fruits, dried fruits, eggnog, caramel, maple syrup, ham pieces. It's pretty foolproof. Just start w/ a basic recipe and add on.

                                  Here's one that looks about right (w/out the cream cheese):


                                  A filling with this ratio of cream cheese, sugar, and egg (this one has apples, too):


                                  1. re: chowser
                                    Wtg2Retire RE: chowser Dec 9, 2010 12:20 PM

                                    Thank you so very much.

                      2. JEN10 RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 7, 2010 02:53 PM

                        I do this very simple salmon, red graprfruit, red onion & arugula salad. It is prepared in advance and assembled last minute. It is also very attractive on a platter.

                        1. othervoice RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 8, 2010 05:51 AM

                          I think this is the most wonderful idea. I've often tried to attempt it myself, but the hardest part is to get everyone to go along. Maybe it's just me but people just don't want to give up the traditional Christmas dinner. My Mother always did Easter brunch and it was always a huge success and we always remembered it. My other comment is regarding the Swiss Fried Potatoes. Care to share the recipe? Have a wonderful holiday!!!!

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: othervoice
                            mamachef RE: othervoice Dec 8, 2010 06:35 AM

                            +1 on that potato recipe, when you've got time!

                            1. re: othervoice
                              Wtg2Retire RE: othervoice Dec 8, 2010 10:52 AM

                              Of course. Here is the way I do the potatoes. I took bits and pieces from numerous recipes to create this.

                              Swiss Fried Potatoes

                              2 lbs. potatoes, finely shredded after cooking
                              3 tbsp. butter
                              1 tsp. salt
                              2 tbsp. milk
                              1 lg. onion, finely chopped
                              1 1/4 c. grated Cheddar

                              Cook potatoes at least 1 day before hand. Boil the unpeeled potatoes until semi-tender the day before preparation. (Instead of boiling the potatoes, I cook them in the microwave early in the day I want to use them. Immediately before ready to “bake,” wash unpeeled potato, wrap in a microwave paper towel, and microwave until just “baked” enough begin to soften. Cool.) Peel and grate. (Personally, I do not peel the potatoes, the peel normally will not grate into the potatoes, it just sort of lifts up [hope that makes sense].) Combine potatoes, onion and salt.
                              Heat butter in a large skillet until slightly brown. Add potatoes, onion, and salt mixture. Do not stir; you want them to form a crust. Press together in the pan like a round loaf. Sprinkle with milk and cover with a tightly fitting lid. Reduce heat as soon as potatoes begin to sizzle. Fry very slowly for another 15 minutes. During this time, a brown crust will form. Cover pan with a platter and flip the potatoes onto it and then slide them back into skillet browned side up. Add grated cheese on top of potatoes and firmly press mixture. Cover tightly and cook for another 15 minutes until bottom is crispy. Cover pan with a platter and flip the potatoes onto it. Serve immediately.

                              1. re: othervoice
                                Wtg2Retire RE: othervoice Dec 8, 2010 11:02 AM

                                other, I did not give anyone an option to voice an opinion. I just stated that I was doing Christmas brunch instead of Christmas dinner. So far, no one has voiced opposition.

                              2. s
                                smtucker RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 9, 2010 07:18 AM

                                Joy Joy! My family has agreed to a brunch for Christmas instead of the normal sit-down feast. Have the breakfast part of the menu planned, and will now start considering the more savory elements.

                                bagels [home-made]
                                capers, red onion, lemon wedges, cream cheese
                                strata or a frittata
                                Flour Sticky-Buns
                                crispy bacon
                                mustard-dill sauce

                                roasted vegetable terrine with goat cheese
                                roasted asperagus

                                Still need a few items so that the vegetarian [not vegan] sister has an appropriate protein to eat.

                                Love that I can do most of the prep in the days before the holiday instead of getting up so early and starting a major mid-day meal in the wee hours of the morning.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: smtucker
                                  mamachef RE: smtucker Dec 9, 2010 07:31 AM

                                  Maybe a vegetarian "jambalaya" made with Soyrizo?

                                  1. re: smtucker
                                    cheesecake17 RE: smtucker Dec 9, 2010 07:51 AM

                                    If she eats eggs, the strata or frittata will work.. as long as there's no meat in it.

                                    1. re: smtucker
                                      Wtg2Retire RE: smtucker Dec 9, 2010 11:33 AM

                                      Wonderf that the family agreed to a brunch, smt. I wish I had some ideas for a vegetarian dish for you but, unfortunately, I do not.

                                      1. re: smtucker
                                        chowser RE: smtucker Dec 9, 2010 12:17 PM

                                        Can you just make a vegetarian strata or frittata? Or, just some boiled eggs are good. There's nothing like a well made boiled egg, imo.

                                        1. re: smtucker
                                          Emme RE: smtucker Dec 9, 2010 08:33 PM

                                          hash browns or hash brown casserole with Soyrizo might be good. along with some onions, diced chiles, jack cheese, etc.

                                          flatbreads or breakfast pizzas - layer and bake the morning of with grated potatoes, onions, seitan or tempeh crumbles, sliced tomatoes, cheese, and poached eggs on top.

                                          baked blintz casserole - protein in the ricotta filling...

                                          you could even do a quinoa/lentil/barley/grain salad for protein and light textural contrast.


                                          1. re: Emme
                                            Wtg2Retire RE: Emme Dec 10, 2010 06:30 AM

                                            Thanks for the ideas, Emme.

                                          2. re: smtucker
                                            smtucker RE: smtucker Dec 10, 2010 10:15 AM

                                            We won't do anything with Soy[stuff] since there are too many estrogen cancers in the family. More likely to add some stuffed mushrooms, spinach pies, some home-cured pickles, and possibly a meatless, warm soup. The strata/frittattas will be made without meat.

                                            Have decided to cure my own bacon which is an easy thing to do.

                                          3. s
                                            sweetbasil RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 11, 2010 08:59 AM

                                            I do a brunch every year, except I host it on Christmas Eve. That leaves Christmas Eve night and Christmas Day drama-free (the inlaws are, um... difficult), and we're able to really relax and enjoy a more unconventional Christmas meal.

                                            A few favorites:

                                            Sweet and Spicy bacon (bacon brushed with maple syrup & ground chipotle, oven-baked on racks - great way to prepare large quantities of bacon)
                                            Cranberry butter - made with leftover spiced cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving
                                            Orange Scones
                                            Fruit salad (kiwi, grapes, clementines, etc) with a honey yogurt dressing
                                            Quiche- Lorraine and spinach
                                            Spanish Tortilla

                                            Sometimes I serve ham or sausage, sometimes I add a dish or two, but generally, I keep it simple so that it's fun and stress-free to prepare. Have a great time!

                                            1. q
                                              Querencia RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 11, 2010 09:55 AM

                                              You can't have too many choices on a brunch buffet, especially on a holiday. 1) I love to put a glazed baked ham or half-ham (spiral cut works well) on the table with a sharp knife and a basket of biscuits or little rolls sliced almost through so that people can make mini- sandwiches. 2) The Anglo-Indian classic Kedgeree is another great hit---in a whole stick of butter saute sliced onions, golden raisins, and curry powder (to bring out its flavor) then add this to hot cooked rice (you can do this ahead). Just before serving, heat it and add chunks of cooked fish (I prefer poached salmon). Serve with things to adorn it with like chutney, toasted coconut, lemon wedges, ground peanuts, sliced hard-boiled egg. 3) As trite as quiche now is, people still gobble it up. Try asparagus with Feta cheese (sweet/salty, good combo).

                                              1. Wtg2Retire RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 11, 2010 01:10 PM

                                                Sent all of the suggestions to those who will be attending the brunch. Below is the final menu agreed upon. For munchies during the afternoon, we will have Salami and/or Pepperoni Chips;
                                                Radishes, Carrots, Celery, Cherry Tomatoes, and Red and Green Pepper Strips, Broccoli, Cauliflower with Cucumber Yogurt Dip; Spiced Mixed Nuts; and Ginger Krinkle Krisps Cookies.

                                                Bloody Marys, Orange Juice, and Barefoot Contessa’s Herbal Iced Tea
                                                Platter of Sausages
                                                Baked Eggs in Tortilla Cups
                                                Swiss Fried Potatoes
                                                Chopped Onions and Tomatoes with Capers
                                                Homemade Biscuits and Good Butter
                                                Overnight Sweet Rolls (similar to sticky buns or monkey bread)
                                                Green Thompson Grapes, Sliced Honeycrisp Apples, Kiwi, Blueberries, and Strawberries Platter
                                                with Brie or Humboldt Fog Cheeses
                                                Hot Coffee
                                                Prosecco and Original Fresca with Cranberry Simple Syrup

                                                1. Wtg2Retire RE: Wtg2Retire Dec 12, 2010 08:45 AM

                                                  Meant to also say many, many thanks to all of you for your help in creating this menu.

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