Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Let's Do Brunch


Brunch is, without hesitation, my favorite meal of any day I can get it. Since I normally wake up at a crisp 11AM, brunch and I have had a long love affair--full of scones, home fries, pancakes...

Sabrina’s, Rx, and my newfound favorite Honey’s Sit 'n' Eat are all fine choices in the Philly brunch scene. However, during my last weeks of school I didn't want to bother with SEPTA, an hour-long wait, and a $14 omelet. Instead, a brunch in the comforts of our home and pajamas sounded more to my liking.

Hosting a brunch may sound overwhelming when you take them on full force but with the right attitude, some good planning ahead, and a solid menu, they can be an easy and relaxing event for all. The most solid advice I could offer is don’t be overambitious. I’ve made this mistake too many times while hosting dinner parties. Individual omelets with the guest’s choice of ten different chopped fillings can be elegant but why go through the hassle? Instead, go for scrambled eggs which can be made in a big batch and served buffet style.

It's also important to do enough preparation. This starts with having a menu in mind long before the morning of the party. Try to prepare as much as possible beforehand to avoid being exhausted and stressed by the time your guests arrive that morning. For example, scone dough can be prepared in advance and simply cut up and baked the morning of. It is important to have a game plan before cooking. Know what order you plan to make items so you can figure out what needs the oven and what should be served warm.

As far as what should be on the menu, try to make a balance of savory and sweet dishes to cater to different brunch palates. Avoid making dishes for the first time - stick with tried and true recipes so you don't encounter unexpected surprises midway into cooking. A pot of coffee is a must, even if you don’t drink it. I assure you others will.

It is best to do your brunch family style--have dishes out on the table and let guests serve themselves. And of course, a vase of flowers is always a nice touch.

My last piece of advice, and the most important, is that you should enjoy yourself as the host. If a dish does not come out as perfectly as hoped, don’t obsess over it. Enjoy the company of your friends and family and by all means, eat until you can’t even think about dinner.

Our Brunch Menu
• Asparagus and Onion Frittata (Courtesy of Epicurious)
• Trader Joe’s Basil Chicken Sausages
• Roasted New Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
• Banana Berry Smoothie
• Trader Joe’s Orange Juice
• Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake Muffins (Courtesy of Joy of Baking)

Other suggested menu options: French toast, quiche, scrambled eggs or frittata with various toppings (goat cheese, lox, mushrooms, artichokes, leeks, spinach, etc.), yogurt, coffee cake, cinnamon rolls, bacon, hash browns, home fries, biscuits

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