Easter is next weekend. Whaa???
Are you having friends and fam over for some egg hunting and nosh?
Have you planned your menu?
No worries. Here’s a sample menu and some tips & tricks for putting together a simple, scrumptious and hassle-free Easter Brunch.
TIP: Go simple and make as much ahead as possible.
A good brunch consists of the following:
- A sweet treat
Now is NOT the time to prove your omelet making prowess (I’m speaking to you, gentlemen). Omelets keep you tied to the oven and away from your guests and the egg-hunting, Bloody Mary-drinking fun. Instead go simple but with panache. A big pan of scrambled eggs made a bit fancified by making the eggs with chives, heavy cream, and topped with smoked salmon or caviar. Or, go do-ahead style egg dishes such as quiche or strata. There are a million quiche/strata recipes out there on epicurious.com or in your grandmom’s recipe drawer. Choose one or two that speak to you. If you are having a crew of 6 or more over on Easter, make two – one meat and one vege.
Pig of some sort (or multiple sorts) is NECESSARY for a good brunch. I’m addicted to brown sugar bacon. Actually, I’m just plain addicted to bacon but this candy version is muy bueno. Here’s the recipe:
Baked Brown Sugar Bacon
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cover a cookie sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top.
Lay bacon on top of the cooling rack.
Sprinkle brown sugar on top of bacon.
Lightly sprinkle freshly ground black pepper on top of bacon and brown sugar.
Put the lot in the oven.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Every good brunch includes some bread-like substance. If you are an over-achiever you could make homemade biscuits or scones but I prefer to serve bagels with a couple of different schmears. I buy the bagels and provide a regular whipped cream cheese (whipped is easier to spread) and scallion cream cheese. People go nuts over this home-made schmear and it’s beyond easy. I actually get embarassed when people compliment me on it because it’s so damn simple.
Scallion Cream Cheese (adapted from The Barefoot Contessa)
Room temp, rectangular block of cream cheese (full fat, non-fat is for suckers)
2.5 to 3 hastily chopped scallions (make sure you use the white and green parts)
A scant teaspoon of milk (you may need more)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Place the first 3 ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse, pulse, pulse. Check the consistency. Are the scallions well incorporated? Is the mixture smooth and spreadable? No. Add a wee bit more leche and pulse, pulse, pulse again. Add s&p to taste. Spoon into a pretty bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge until ready to serve. Can be made 2 days in advance.
Fruit is necessary to brunch. Don’t argue with me, it just is. I suggest slicing up some nice melon or making a fruit salad. And don’t be chincy on the salad and make it mostly with bananas and apples. It makes an ugly salad and doesn’t taste that great. Nuf said.
Brunch isn’t the time to pull out the triple layer death by chocolate cake. However, a little bit of sugar is a nice way to round out brunch. I like the idea of a blueberry coffee cake, lemon bars, or a pavlova (merengue shell filled with fruit and cream). Or, if you must have your choco fix, I’d suggest Molly Wizenberg’s Banana Bread with Chocolate and Crystallized Ginger. Slice it thickly, toast it, and then slather it with mascarpone cheese.
Boozy brunches are the best! I generally offer guests two alternatives: mimosas and bloody marys. Make the bar do-it-yourself. Set up the glasses, booze, juice, and mix-ins in an easily accessible place and let the guests have at it. A complete bloody mary bar includes: vodka (the good stuff), V8, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, prepared horseradish, celery sticks, green olives, cocktail onions, pickled green beans, lemons, and limes.
Good strong coffee makes brunch, more brunchyee. I place the coffee with mugs, milk, ½ & ½, and sugar out on the bar with the booze set-up and let guests help themselves.
An Easter Brunch party wouldn’t be any fun without an Easter egg hunt. Even if your party consists of no one under the age of 30, you should still conduct a hunt and offer a prize for the finder of the most eggs. If making hard-boiled eggs unnerves you, use my method for making tasty hard boiled use my method for making tasty hard boiled eggs.
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