Hosting an End of Summer Brunch
Ah, Brunch. Brings to mind leisurely visits with friends and family while enjoying the cool freshness of the day’s beginnings, before the almost energy sapping heat turns the day into a furnace here in Colorado.
Summer is quickly coming to its end but there’s still time to have a group over for a brunch and take advantage of all the summer’s bounty found in the Colorado farmers markets. Brunches are casual, affordable, and people are more relaxed in the morning, especially on Sunday. There can be special occasions to celebrate, ie a shower, day after wedding brunch, Christening, holiday celebration, etc. Whether you choose to invite your guests with a digital online invitation or a paper invite be sure to have a start time and end time so your guests have that open house feel. This also allows you to have some one on one time with your guests as people will leisurely arrive at different times.
Shop the Farmer's Market
Shopping locally and organically keep the costs down while offering opportunities for easy recipes and colorful table settings. Shopping the farmer’s market will net you most of the fresh, quality, Colorado grown items you will need for your recipes. But, if you aren’t able to get to one of the many local farmer’s markets there are many grocery stores that offer Colorado grown products. Just look for the Colorado Proud label. The Rocky Mountain Growers directory online lists the individual sustainable ranches and farms in Colorado so you can be assured of the quality and sustainability controls of the foods you can purchase.
Choosing Your Brunch Menu
One way to set up your brunch is to create DIY stations so your guests can help themselves to what they want, while offering easy, simple and casual dining. You will want a coffee station,(if you have an individual coffee cup maker this is a great option for guests to choose from several a variety of coffees). Some sort of fresh fruit station using skewered fruit that you’ve make is great for easy transport ! A parfait bar is another option. Yogurt, granola, dried fruit and fresh berries, and nuts can be arranged in separate bowls for guests to choose and build their own parfaits. And don’t forget to set wine glasses or other interesting glassware for their creations! Setting the table and stations the night before will allow you the time in the morning to warm the food and prep any last minute recipes. Mini bagels with lox and cream cheese can be displayed with capers, fresh tomatoes and onions on a serving platter.
I am a believer in using simple, non-fussy, healthy food choices, but being creative is what it’s all about! For instance, prepare couscous or quinoa and add toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries and fresh mint then mix with a fresh shallot vinaigrette dressing. You may add some other ingredients like fresh cantaloupe or other colorful fruit to make it “yours”.
Prepare your main dish ahead of time preferably the night before so that it’s a matter of baking it only in the morning before your guests arrive. A simple crustless quiche is a good choice and I’ve provided the recipe at the end of this article.
No brunch is complete without a mimosa-so make sure you have orange juice and champagne on hand. If you have champagne flutes, by all means this is the chance to use them. Add a strawberry to the bottom of the glass for a nice presentation!
Take advantage of all the natural decorations you have at your fingertips. Place potted greenery and natural materials around. Use, for example, a chard leaf for a napkin ring holding it in place with a tied scallion stem or rubber band. Lavender, that wonderful smelling herb , can be used on the table as a decorative centerpiece placed in a galvanized bucket or simply laying in a basket. Use fresh fruit to add color-whether placing lemon and limes in a glass container or in baskets. Woven placemats, white dishes along with glassware add spaciousness and texture to your table. Or, if you have several varied size vases, place flowers around your stations.
However you choose to entertain, keep in mind that enjoying your party and your guests is the most important ingredient. Sometimes it’s better to have someone else prepare the food and set up the stations, monitor them, replenish them, and clean up. That’s where Stovetop Talent comes in. A chef from Stovetop Talent can do all the work with a menu approved by you. And you can a relax while knowing everything is under control!
Crustless Quiche Recipe
Serves 8-10 cooktime 45 minutes
¼ lb butter
½ cup flour
6 lg eggs
1 cup milk
1 lb Monterey jack cheese, I” cubes
1 (3oz)Pkg Cream Cheese softened
2 cups cottage cheese
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Melt butter in a small saucepan, add flour and cook until smooth. Set aside.
- Beat eggs, add milk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter-flour mixture. Still in Monterey Jack cheese.
- Pour into a well greased 9” x 13” pan, Distribute cheese cubes evenly and bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until set. (May refrigerate overnight and bake the next morning ).
Serving suggestion: Green chili or favorite salsa