Mother's Day Brunch for 11 - everything make-ahead
Help me! I started inviting parents and siblings etc for mother's day brunch, and eventually, my attendees list came up to 11. It's not THAT many people, but every time I entertain, I find myself making things at the last minute, making a mess of the kitchen, and overall hating myself instead of just enjoying having company. I have gotten better at weighting my dishes on the make-ahead or simply baked side, but I feel like brunch is something that will easily put you into the short-order cook category pretty quickly. As such, I am trying to make it so everything that we eat is either made ahead of time and great at room temp, can be baked and then sit at room temp, or be time/temp dependent, as this crowd is not skilled at getting places anything other than very early or very late. Please take a look at my menu and let me know if you think I should add/subtract anything. We will have 2 vegetarians there, one who avoids cow milk, but isn't actually allergic to it.
Minty Iced Green Tea w/ lime
Blood Mary Stuff
Lox Flatbread (http://www.chow.com/recipes/11384-lox...
)Spinach, Mushroom, & Chevre Quiche
Chive & Sharp Cheddar Biscuits - OR - Chive & Medium Cheddar Raised Waffles (do these need to be served warm?)
Baked bacon or sausage
Fruit Salad w/ a mint simple syrup
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Key Lime Pie bars
I figure with this setup, I can bake off my pie, bars, and crusts for the quiches and flatbread the day before, prep everything up for the fruit salad and quiches, then the morning of, assemble and bake quiches and then toss the bacon in the oven.
I'm not really sure on this. I'm also thinking an asparagus and creme fraiche tart might be really pretty, I have one of those rectangular tart pans that doesn't get enough use. Too many baked goods/carbs? Making a primarily vegetarian brunch feels a little forced to me, but if I do it right, I'm sure nobody will be missing all that much meat.
Good list - a LOT of food. Responses:
1. Yes, waffles *should* be served warm, IMO. But you could make them ahead and then reheat in the oven.
2. Make the bacon the day ahead as well. A quick re-warm in the oven with the waffles should suffice.
3. I think with two quiches, and the biscuits, waffles, fruit salad and bacon, you should be fine. I'd pass on the 3rd tart/quiche.
I'm one of those people who's terrified of running out of anything, so I'll make a ton, then feel guilty eating the leftovers for the next week.
1) I will definitely just make the biscuits, the waffles seem more high maintenance. Do you have a really good biscuit recipe?
2) Good call on the bacon. I hadn't thought of that, but it's easy to pop into the oven to recrisp and then not have to deal with a sheet pan full of liquid bacon grease.
3) Do you think if I removed one of the quiches, and didn't do waffles, it would be enough for 11? I am totally incapable of gauging the correct amount of food any group of people will go through.
Laurel, think about what could be frozen and reheated for later leftovers, vs. having to eat them immediately as leftovers. Bacon and waffles (or pancakes) are all freezable and you can have them later.
Yes, definitely don't want to deal with the bacon grease during your brunch - cooking the bacon ahead seems to be the way to go.
I definitely don't think you can remove a quiche and NOT do the waffles. Some other ideas if you don't want to do the waffles:
Bagels and cream cheese and a few other spreads.
A prep-the-night-before Oven French toast. Pop it into the oven before your guests arrive; done 50 minutes later.
A homemade granola cereal with both regular and almond or soy milk as the stir-in.
Here's what I would do to make this easier:
1. Eliminate one of the quiches (since you're making bacon anyway, I'd get rid of Lorraine).
2. Eliminate the harder dessert. If you want another one, buy something from a bakery, ice cream, etc.
3. Make the biscuits instead of the waffles since waffles need to be made individually.
4. Forget the flatbread and just put out slices of the lox and cheese & accoutrements. You can make this chilled platter the day before and cover with plastic wrap.
And personally, I would put out hot coffee instead of iced. I don't think this would add time at all, and you already have 3 chilled bevs (just my personal preference).
Otherwise, this sounds AMAZING! I want to come!
1) I will drop the quiche lorraine. Thanks!
2) I love making desserts, and am doing a strawberry rhubarb pie for sure. I thought coffee cake might be an OK second dessert, but my favorite recipe contains rhubarb, and my pie-hating husband love key lime.
3) I was leaning towards the biscuits, but figured the waffles wouldn't be much extra effort, just have the iron running while I bake stuff off, and the batter has to get made the night beforehand. I'll just do the biscuits. I can make them days beforehand and freeze, then just toss in the oven first thing in the morning.
4) I'm totally hung up on this flatbread thing. In fact, I saw the recipe, and decided that I'd make Mother's Day brunch so I could make it.
Re: Coffee - I'm not sure an effective way to do hot coffee, short of either borrowing a coffee maker or getting a jug at starbucks (blech), as we have french press, aeropress, moka pot, and espresso machine, but no way to keep any of that stuff hot. I figured an iced concentrate could be added to boiling water for a hot cup of coffee or poured over ice and milk for a creamy ice coffee. Or should I just borrow a coffee maker?
You know, some of the best coffee I've made has been from a cold concentrate. You steep an entire can of coffee in a couple of quarts of water, in the fridge, for a few days. Shake it now and then. Then pour it all through, first, a fine sieve, and then a coffee filter. Keep the concentrate chilled (you can let it come to room temp the day of the brunch), then add boiling water for hot coffee, and cold + ice for iced. You'd want to do a test run before then, to get the proportions right. Search for
"cold brew coffee" on this board and on General Topics. There have been a number of good discussions. I got out of the habit of cold brew when I discovered great whole bean decaf from Trader Joe's. My grinder only holds enough beans for 2 cups of coffee so I've been making it via drip, every day. A tip: have your coffee ground as finely as possible. It will make filtering harder, but you'll be able to use about a third less coffee, even if, like I do, you prefer a very strong brew. You can always dilute it if it's too strong, and use less the next time.
Vanilla ice cream instead of the key lime bars. That way your guests have the option of pie a la mode, or topping the ice cream with the fruit salad. Or bake shortcakes in a muffin tin, or a pound cake, and instead of S/R pie make S/R compote so you have several options for ice cream shortcake topping,
A vote of dissent on ice cream. I find it to be a big PITA for buffets, because either you have to find out who wants some and then go and dish it out yourself, or your guests have to go to the freezer and serve themselves, requiring messing with a carton, getting sticky fingers, etc. You'll also need extra utensils/bowls for serving.
A counter-dissent: Eleven people at most would want the ice cream. Not a big deal to plop a dozen scooped balls into a bowl, keep in the freezer until the end of the meal, then bring it out and set it, "double boiler style", into a larger bowl/container filled with ice, or cold water containing frozen gel packs.
I would have something to munch on during the iced tea/coffee, BMs, as everyone arrives at different times.
ie, crackers with a shrimp spread, antipasti type plate.
Bacon & sausage
Quiche is great at room temp too. Since your quiches have crusts, I might think of something else for dessert. Strawberries are lovely now on angel food cake or ice cream. Cookies along side if you want.
This sounds delicious! However, most of your choices involve a crust of some kind, which makes this feel a bit repetitive and carb heavy.
If I were you, I would keep the lox flatbread but make the two quiches crustless. They can then be eaten as slices on their own or as a filling for the biscuits (which I think are a much better idea than the waffles if you don't want to be doing a la minute cooking). I'd do sausage patties instead of bacon - they also make a nice biscuit sandwich, and you already have bacon in your quiche Lorraine.
If you want to incorporate asparagus, a simple side of roasted asparagus would be a nice compliment to the other dishes, perhaps with a drizzle of a creme fraiche-based sauce. In any case, I would try to include some type of vegetable item, especially since you have vegetarians coming who might want something other than carbs and eggs.
Yes, definately add a veg. Asparagus would be perfect, although for 11 could get expensive quickly. Roasted veggies are great room temp, the OP could roast zucchini, bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, etc the day before and arrange in stripes of color on a platter for pretty presentation and an easy veggie option
For the fruit i would avoid a fruit salad- if you have any leftovers it turns very quickly. A bowl of whole strawberries, clementines or oranges cut in wedges, bunches of grapes, thick sliced cantelope would make a great presentation and also not turn as quickly at room temp for a while during the party and/or if there are leftovers.
Keep the veggie quiche dairy free for your veg non dairy guest. Unsweetened almond milk or soy milk works as a sub if your recipe includes dairy
Good point on the fruit salad. Fruit salad also sometimes looks kind of mushy and sad.
I have had great luck with arranging rows of fruit on a long oval platter. It looks very nice. If the OP still wants to use a mint syrup, it could be served on the side or drizzled over the entire platter. Or, just a few scattered mint leaves would eliminate the need to make the syrup.
Rows of melon, pineapple, and strawberries looks nice.
EDIT: This type of fruit keeps better as a leftover.