Brunch is an easy and informal way to entertain over the holidays because so much can be made ahead, leaving only details for the last minute. Our favorite banana bread and blueberry muffins can be made even a week before and frozen, thawed the day before the event. Pie crust for quiche can be made a week ahead and frozen, or the day before and refrigerated, to roll, fill and bake in the morning. A Strata, or layered egg, day-old bread, and cheese dish is made the night before and rested in the refrigerator. The bread soaks up the batter overnight, and is baked in the morning. What could be easier for Christmas or New Year’s Day?
In a pretty glass bowl place layers of ruby grapefruit and orange sections with kiwi slices and a handful of blueberries, topped with pomegranate seeds. Add fresh mint, if you like, and a squeeze of lime juice over all. The fresh fruit cuts through and complements the rich cheese, egg and meat dishes found in brunch buffets.
For family, just accommodate tastes and dietary restrictions, but for a crowd, plan to offer a variety of foods so that vegetarians and those with gluten or dairy intolerances can find choices that satisfy. Early brunch means breakfast, but a later brunch needs to be heartier. Add a colorful green salad alongside the fruit, make a vegetarian strata or quiche, and serve the meats separately. A spiral cut ham is easy to slice, heat, and serve in a chafing dish with this raisin sauce from Rita Hyland on the side.
Raisin Sauce for Ham
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 tsp. ground mustard
1½ cups water
½ cup raisins
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. butter
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir in the water, raisins, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, and bring to a boil. Cook until thickened, stir in the butter, and serve warm over sliced ham.
The following recipe is great for any brunch that includes children.
Makes 4-6 servings
Pastry for a single crust 9 inch pie
2 cups shredded cheese
Crumbled, cooked Italian sausage or crisp bacon
1 cup sour cream
Sliced mushrooms, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper
Roll out the pastry to fit a 12 inch pizza pan, or place on a baking sheet. Lay the pastry into the pan, pressing edges against the pan sides and fold over any excess to create a rim to hold in the ingredients. Bake on lower rack of oven at 425° for 5 min. Gently press down any bubbles in the crust and cool before filling.
Sprinkle cheese, any vegetables, and meat you choose over the crust. In medium bowl, beat the eggs with the sour cream until smooth. Pour over the filling, and bake on lower rack of oven at 425° for 20-25 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before cutting into individual servings.