If you haven’t noticed, we can’t resist a good party or meal. Food, family, and friends are meant to be celebrated, and we work hard to create serving pieces that add that something extra to every table setting. One of our favorite meals? Brunch! You get the best of both breakfast and lunch. Plus, it’s a nice meal to have guests over for because it’s a little more casual than a sit-down dinner. Here are some of our favorite tidbits to make it easy and delicious.
Make your own mimosa bar! Not only does it give guests a chance to mix up their drinks just the way they like them, but it makes it easier on you. Set out pitchers of different juices (orange, apple, cranberry, pear, grapefruit) and a few bottles of chilled champagne. The bright colors of the different juices make it a really beautiful sight! Or skip the bubbly and just have a juice bar instead. Swap in flavored seltzer to add a bit of carbonation.
Buy local and fresh. There’s something about a bouquet of local flowers from a farm stand, crusty baked bread from your local bakery or a friend, or fresh eggs from the farm down the road that adds that extra touch. Plus it lets you recommend your favorite local businesses to friends.
Bake your bacon. This method turns out to make much less of a mess and provides more even cooking/fat rendering. Plus you avoid those pesky burns from grease splatters, and you don’t have to spend your time watching it.
Be smart about how you use your space. Short on extra room? Think outside the house! If the weather is cool, set up a drink station on the porch. It acts as a refrigerator, and it’s no big a deal if something gets messy. Put out a citrus press and a bowl of grapefruit, oranges, limes, and lemons so people can make their own concoctions. Place glasses, mugs, champagne, a coffee carafe, milk, and sugar all in the same area.
Set up a buffet instead of a sit down. Use a sideboard or small table to set out plates, napkins, and utensils, etc. Be eclectic about what you put out. Use those inherited formal and everyday sets—don’t forget your favorite MacKenzie-Childs pieces! You’ll get plenty of compliments on all the beautiful china and pottery, and it’s a great conversation starter when you can tell people about the origins of the different pieces.
Choose some dishes you can make ahead. Some great brunch standbys are a quiche or a frittata bake. Quiches are easy to add to or mix in whatever you have on hand: meat, herbs, veggies or cheeses. Make them the night before, heat them slightly, and serve with light, lemony vinaigrette.
Try a BYOBB. Or a build-your-own bagel bar. Include a variety of bagels (seeded, cheese, herb, everything, fruit) and spreads, like homemade flavored cream cheese (start with regular cream cheese as a base, whipping in fresh herbs, veggies, spices, dried fruits). Have jams, apple butter, and peanut butter for a sweet take, with fresh fruit slices and toppings, like lox, capers, scallions, pickled onions/veggies, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, avocado, hardboiled eggs, and cured meats.
Have some solid recipes on hand. Use tried-and-true recipes or get recommendations from friends. The last thing you want is to try something new and have it turn out badly. Here are some of our favorites: Blueberry French Toast Casserole, Spinach and Gruyere Quiche with a Hash Brown Crust, Crescent Bacon Breakfast Ring, Kentucky Benedictine Tea Sandwiches, and Blueberry Gingerbread.
Don’t forget a cheese platter. But give it a twist. Place slices of fresh bread and English muffins next to the toaster with cheese spreads, jams, and jellies—Stonewall Kitchen’s Garlic Onion Jam and Old Chatham Hudson Valley Camembert are both delicious.