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Nov 17, 2012 12:27 PM

Casual neighborhood coffee - brunch recipes?

We're having neighbors over in a few weeks. Probably 30-40 adults and kids. Coffee, cider, conversation. Some guests will bring a dish. I'll put out enough to make sure all are fed even if some come empty-handed. This is a casual morning get-together; no champagne or caviar.

Here are some ideas - I'll probably put out 4 or 5 dishes. Please feel free to comment or suggest other simple or make-ahead ideas. Thank you!

1. Something savory and substantial
Potato and Bacon breakfast casserole - possibly make a second, subbing spinach and feta for the bacon
Steamed salmon
Pasta/shrimp salad

2. Something sweet
Blintz soufflé ("souffle" is a misnomer; this is a rich, sweet eggy dish casserole) - definitely will make for the sake of family peace
Muffins -assign to others
pumpkin bread
ina garten’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake
costco fruit tart

3. Something light and salad-y
Fruit salad - assign to others
Green salad – assign to others

4. Something munchy
Plate of sandwiches – but might get soggy.
Bagels and cream cheese
Cheese / crackers / biscuits

What do you think?

- Julia

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  1. Just found out one family will bring pumpkin bread. Another asked what to bring and I suggested fruit salad or muffins. This is going well already!

    1 Reply
    1. re: tannline

      Sorry. Should read replies before posting! Now see you have pumpkin bread covered

    2. This all looks fantastic! I was going to suggest a quiche but you're already offering that. I would suggest smoked salmon instead of steamed so that people can have it on its own or with their bagels and cream cheese. Fritatas are also another great brunch item that may work under the something munchy category, especially if you bake them in individual cupcake tins or cut them into little handheld squares. May I also suggest making a jug of bloody mary mix and leaving some vodka out? Those that want a virgin mary can just pour themselves a glass and those that want a bloody mary can add a spash of vodka to theirs.

      3 Replies
      1. re: khat mange

        Thank you - helpful input. Would mimosas do instead of bloodys? I'm not expert on bloody mixes(do you have one to recommend?) but prepping a pitcher of real ones takes time... Or how about if I keep a decanter of rum near heated mulled cider?

        Agreed, about smoked salmon... my stepmom will be disappointed, b/c I'm moving away from her recipes (the poached salmon and, possibly, a blintz souffle) in favor of fresh smoked and the Costco fruit tart...

        1. re: tannline

          Yes, of course mimosas would be a great alternative to bloodys. Bellini's are also nice if you want to get some peach nectar. But some purists think they should be made with ground up peaches rather than the Goya peach nectar that I buy to make them.

          1. re: khat mange

            the original bellini recipe calls for white peach nectar. but offering sparkling wine with choices like oj, cranberry or pomegranate are seasonal and popular.

      2. For something munch, how about a platter of cut up vegetables - carrot, celery, different peppers, etc. - with some hummus, baba ganoush, guacamole or other dips. It's colorful and refreshing, relatively easy, and may be easier to eat buffet style on laps or standing than a salad would be. I would imagine you'd want to have some sliced tomato and onion to go with the lox, so this seems like a natural fit. The rest of the menu looks great - and what a lovely way to get the neighbors together!

        1 Reply
        1. re: asf78

          Thank you; that's a good idea. I'm trying to choose among the dishes rather than making all of them; cut-up veg and the dips can be purchased, which is helpful.

        2. My favorite pumpkin bread is from The Joy of Cooking.

          1. i'd combine the quiche/potato/bacon idea into 2 kinds of fritattas -- one vegetarian, one with meat. agree about smoked salmon instead of steamed, set out with various cream cheeses, traditional garnishes and bagels.

            i'd skip the pasta salad entirely. they get soggy and mushy in no time and just remind me of bad cook-out food. i've made little baked ham cups with mac and cheese in them, using mini-muffin tins and they get devoured. they are even good at room temp and are good for big groups cuz they are hand-held, one-bite goodies. they can be made ahead and easily reheated.

            if you want sandwiches, you can make pinwheels or roll-ups with various colored tortillas. spread a thin layer of butter on the wrap, then place a lettuce leaf. this will act as a moisture barrier so they don't get mushy. cut up they are also child-friendly for kids who might be eating and not seated.

            if this is morning, i don't see needing a green salad at all.

            i'd skip the cheese and crackers too, but might add brownies or cookies, again for hand-held ease. i don't know that you need fruit salad plus a fruit tart. fruit salad and maybe lemon squares?

            1 Reply
            1. re: hotoynoodle

              Thank you. Based on everyone's input, here is my current thinking...

              Orange juice (2-3); cranapple; prosecco = mimosas

              Food ideas:

              Something savory and substantial
              • Mini-quiches (some with meat and cheese; some without) or Monte Cristo Strata from Food & Wine magazine – looks easy; make-ahead
              • Smoked salmon / bagels / cream cheese / lettuce, tomatoes, red onion – put toaster and knives and jar of mustard nearby; slice bagels in half but leave halves together

              Something sweet
              family recipe blintz soufflé (makes 9 x 13” casserole) or Costco fruit tart
              Muffins -assign to others
              pumpkin bread – have volunteer

              Something light and salad-y
              Fruit salad – assign to others
              Green salad – assign to others
              Cut-up vegetables, hummous, tabbouleh

              I love the tortilla pinwheels idea, but assembling takes some time so may do depending on time available. If I don't, the kids can grab mini quiches for eating on the run...