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Nov 19, 2012 11:40 AM

Brunch menu help

I don't recall ever hosting a brunch for a group before, seems to always be dinners. However this coming weekend I am hosting a brunch for my SO's birthday, including the inlaws. I want to keep it simple but delicious of course!! There are 8 of us. Here are my thoughts, please jump in with opinions, recipes.

Sausage strata (I like this for the make ahead part, I don't have a recipe, but I do have some nice aged British cheeses in my fridge)
Warm tomato/bacon compote (maybe skip the bacon, since the strata will have sausage?)
Something sweet (sticky buns??) that I can make ahead, or throw in oven after strata is good.

Any other ideas? This will be a 10:30am brunch. Some fruit might be nice, but a fruit salad seems so pedestrian.

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  1. The sausage strata sounds good and will be perfect for your "main." I'm not sure what purpose the compote serves - is it something you would put on top of the strata, or on toast, etc? Unless it's a condiment, I would replace it with a light salad, maybe arugula or other baby greens, fennel, citrus, pomegranate seeds - something that incorporates fruit without being "fruit salad." That plus your sweet baked good (I would go cinnamon rolls, but that's just personal preference) and you'll have all your bases covered (unless there are vegetarians).

    4 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      No vegetarians to worry about. Yes, the compote goes on top of the strata (it is really just cooked down tomatoes, very yummy with eggs), so I could use a 'side dish'. But I have to admit I feel weird having a salad at 10:30 am LOL!

      do you have a cinnamon roll recipe BD? I have never made them before.

      1. re: cleopatra999

        I made these: for Christmas day breakfast last year and they were the BEST cinnamon rolls I've ever had (left out the raisins). They're a bit labor intensive but it all gets done in advance. Totally worth it.

        Anyway, since the compote is a condiment, you really just need a side dish - I understand that 10:30 feels a little early for a green salad. Is your strata very bread heavy? If not, you could do a potato side that includes some other vegetables, like a sweet potato and brussels sprout hash, something like that. I love savory foods for breakfast, though - I'm not a fruit or sweet person that time of day.

        1. re: cleopatra999

          the tomato compote, sans bacon, sounds good.

          pre-noon feels ridiculously early for green salad, unless i was up at 4:00 am. :) but perhaps some roasted green beans, fennel or asparagus would be a good green side.

          you can do a color-themed fruit salad, like kiwi, green grapes and avocado balls, presented on skewers, instead of just the usual tossed.

          1. re: cleopatra999

            I almost always have a salad when eating brunch is a lovely foil to the protein-sugar-fat dishes that are so good at brunch.

        2. What's the tomato compote like? It would be good to get a fresh element in there. If the compote is more sauce-like what about provencal tomatoes? Tomatoes that have been seeded and had the holes filled with breadcrumbs and herbs and then roasted. Instead of a fruit salad, what about a pitcher of smoothies?

          1. Smoked salmon served on buttered bread is nice. Or bread slathered with chive cheese.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Berheenia

              I don't actually have a recipe for the strata yet (open to suggestions), but I suspect it will be fairly bread heavy, that along with the sweet will definitely have carbs covered. I agree with needing a fresh element, but I also like the asparagus idea, feel like that might compliment well (but still feels a little weird for breakfast.

              I love the idea of a fruit skewer, especially the colour theme. Unfortunately I am allergic to kiwi and SO hate avocado, but I am sure I could think of another colour to use.

              do you think it would be too much food to add in crab cakes? Love them, SO loves them, and I could totally see them on the side with asparagus and hollandaise.

              1. re: cleopatra999

                My personal fave strata recipe


                Crab cakes with hollandaise ... mmmmm

                1. re: Berheenia

                  that strata looks lovely, could easily adjust for sausage and aged cheddar.

                2. re: cleopatra999

                  A go-to fruit salad for me is berries tossed in a little sugar and balsamic vinegar.

                  1. re: Dcfoodblog

                    nice touch with the balsamic! good idea

              2. I just did a brunch for 6 that was very well-received: mushroom & spinach strata from Smitten Kitchen, apple cinnamon monkey bread from scratch, bacon, and fruit salad. Very easy because the strata & bread were both prepared the night before, and could go in the oven together (along with the bacon). To fancify the fruit salad a bit, I would limit the number of fruits; for example, just pineapple and blueberries, or oranges & blackberries...and maybe add some lime zest or a sauce like sweetened vanilla creme fraiche or something.

                1 Reply
                1. re: stak

                  Oops, forgot the recipe is actually for spinach & gruyere, not spinach and mushroom. I used less spinach & added sauteed mushrooms & red peppers, and actually used old cheddar because that's what I had. Strata recipes seem pretty flexible in general.

                2. I always include some really nice fruit dish. One possibility, Scalloped Apples--- sliced apples baked with cinnamon, clove, nutmeg,and a little butter, a few bread crumbs on top, served warm. Another possibility: a big Mexican papaya, nice and ripe, cut into chunks with a few seeds strewn here and there to announce that it's papaya and not melon, and some wedges of lime around the edge, good color contrast and useful for squeezing juice. And I offer more than one bread or roll item---people like a variety. Especially if you serve buffet, people like to feel overwhelmed. And a couple of pitchers of juice, maybe orange and cranberry, as well as coffee.