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a delicious & simple make ahead brunch dish?


zoe b
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I'm having my annual Not Holiday brunch on Sunday--people just drop in and visit--we have mimosas to drink. I have to keep it do ahead because once people start arriving I can't be cooking--so I just put out a buffet table.

I'm serving a ham this year and I usually make overnight French toast-- I call it Cuban French toast because the recipe is from my friend Nieves, who's Cuban--but i don't know if it actually is Cuban--but i wanted to do something different. I found this recipe in Epicurious

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/238006

haven't really looked at it yet, but the flavor combo sounds good.

Or I could possibly so some sort of strata--not the traditional one, but i've seen fancier recipes for this--or maybe a fritatta or two...or a grits casserole....

I'll make a fruit platter, have some cheeses and salamis, some muffins and tea breads--but if you have anything that you make that works for you, I'm all ears!

Zoe

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Not sure if these ideas will be helpful... They are simplicity itself, you can make them ahead, but you do have to keep them warm.

I used to give a LOT of brunches. And my most successful menu was the sausage apple ring, a selection of various scrambled eggs, and then the typical fruits, french toasts and/or other sweet breads, bloody marys & mimosas.

For the scrambled eggs, serve three types. One with a can of smoked oysters scrambled in (and this sounds yucky, but it's really wonderful and you should try it anyway late one Sunday morning); one with some onions, tomatoes and chiles; and one plain.

Sausage Apple Ring

2 lbs good quality bulk sausage (and it HAS to be the best quality; cheap sausage makes this dish far too greasy)

1 1/2 C cracker crumbs

2 eggs, beaten

1/2 C evaporated milk

1/4 C chopped white or yellow onion

1 C apple chunks

Combine all ingredients, tossing well with a light hand to combine, but try not to mash the meat or the apples. Press into a 6-cup bundt pan or mold. Bake 350 1 hour. You can bake this for 30 minutes the day before and refrigerate until time to serve. Then bake final half hour and serve.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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For the scrambled eggs, serve three types.  One with a can of smoked oysters scrambled in (and this sounds yucky,

Wow, this does sound yucky, especially the texture--can't wait to try it! So it's just regular old scrambled eggs with the oysters tossed in? How many eggs to a can of oysters? Do you ever add anything else? What's a good brand of smoked oysters?

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Jaymes , darlink, I have a question for you--do you have any recipes that are less than 1500 calories per serving?

hehehe-- if you do, I've seen no sign of this!!! You are a true food hedonist!

So the sausage ring--is it like a meatloaf in texture, or scrapple or what?

crispy or meaty? I'm interested in this.

I love the smoked oyster in scrambled eggs idea--I bet it is yummy...I will try this --it sounds very MFK Fisher to me for some reason--it should be eaten late at night in PJs with your lover while drinking champagne.

but I'm afraid scrambled eggs won't stay nice over four hours--i do have warming trays, but still, i think the tops'll get crusty.

zoe

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Jaymes , darlink, I have a question for you--do you have any recipes that are less than 1500 calories per serving?

Well...uh...uh...

Salsa?

:cool:

The sausage apple ring does have a texture similar to meatloaf, but coarser, what with the apples and sausage and all. The top browns and gets crispy, but the inside doesn't.

And about those smoked oysters with scrambled eggs...

It's really surprising how good that is. I guess I scramble about six eggs. Add your cream okay WATER :raz: and scramble as usual, except when the eggs are beginning to set up, so about half scrambled, dump in a small can of undrained smoked oysters. I've never added anything else. Remember thinking when I first got this recipe years ago that onions might be good in it, too, but then tasted it and it's obvious you need nothing more. I do always have a little bottle of some kind of hot sauce handy to shake over it after it's on the plate. This probably would serve about two folks in pj's.

And sometimes when I'm doing my "scrambled eggs three ways" thing, I'll scramble some canned asparagus in one of the selections and serve them alongside. They seem to go together pretty well.

I've never paid much attention to the brand of oysters. I think they're all pretty good.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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It's really surprising how good that is. I guess I scramble about six eggs. Add your cream okay WATER

Jaymes, I hope I didn't offend by teasing you a little--because the thought of you subbing water for cream in eggs is terrifying me-- water in scrambled eggs is nasty--as you well know--so you must be givin it back to me!!!!

Z

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I'm always looking for new brunch items, myself, since I wind up making it for company every week, and for a slew of folks several times a year. While I don't mind more time-intensive dishes for the weekly group, at our big festival events I always need low-maintenance ideas. A few that have gone over very well:

Breakfast Platter Muffins - Brown a pound of breakfast sausage with chopped onion & garlic, mix with 2 dozen eggs and 8 oz. or so of cheddar cheese, season, and ladle into greased muffin cups. These turn out surprisingly well; just be sure to use high end breakfast sausage... the cheaper stuff is way too greasy. I keep them rather plain because we always have some picky & not-overly-sophisticated eaters; if you don't have that issue, you could add some ingredients to up the interest, make them with a mixture of cheddar and blue cheeses, stir in some chopped red peppers or mushrooms, etc.

Savory Bread Puddings - There are any number of combinations that work well this way... ham, smoked salmon, shrimp, mushrooms, artichoke hearts, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, leeks, whole roasted garlic cloves, and peppers are some of our favorites. Gruyere is my personal choice for cheese here!

"Hash Brown" Casserole - you could use shredded potatoes, but I like mine diced, with skins left intact. I toss them with olive oil & kosher salt & pre-bake them in the oven until they're crispy and tender first, then mix with white pepper gravy, lots of cheese, a few beaten eggs, and browned sausage or chopped ham. Top with more cheese & refrigerate until you're ready to bake it off. Massive favorite if you don't let on how many grams of fat and calories there are thanks to the eggs & my evil gravy recipe... :)

Cinnamon rolls - I make them the night before, put them on sheet pans, cover 'em with plastic wrap, then take them out enough ahead of time to rise & bake at brunch time. Never seem to have enough.

Our all-time biggest crowd-pleasing brunch surprise, however, is peach cobbler! I had the idea in a sleep-deprived moment of desperation one Sunday morning when I discovered it was 6am and I had not managed to get to bed yet... I knew there was no way I could do so and still feed everyone, but I was too exhausted to make what I had been planning, so I pulled out my full sheet cake pan and made a mega-sized version of my grandmother's peach cobbler. It's now expected at every festival on Sunday morning. No less healthy than coffee cake, I guess!

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Grits casserole is a good idea as long as you can keep it hot ie from solidifying.

What we have done when that is a problem is go ahead and let is solidify and then fry or grill it in slices so room temp or lukewarm is no big deal. We also came up with "Possum in the Hole." Place sausages lengthwise in the grits casserole and let it cool. When you slice, cut parallel to the sausage so you have savory circles in the grits. Fry that and you won't have leftovers.

Another that I did for a beachside app meal was to take the grilled grits in flat squares, top that with a slice of sausage and top that with a shrimp standing upright. Place a toothpick through each item and they stand up, look good and leave only a platter to clean.

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Breakfast Platter Muffins - Brown a pound of breakfast sausage with chopped onion & garlic, mix with 2 dozen eggs and 8 oz. or so of cheddar cheese, season, and ladle into greased muffin cups.  These turn out surprisingly well; just be sure to use high end breakfast sausage... the cheaper stuff is way too greasy.  I keep them rather plain because we always have some picky & not-overly-sophisticated eaters; if you don't have that issue, you could add some ingredients to up the interest, make them with a mixture of cheddar and blue cheeses, stir in some chopped red peppers or mushrooms, etc.

"Hash Brown" Casserole - you could use shredded potatoes, but I like mine diced, with skins left intact.  I toss them with olive oil & kosher salt & pre-bake them in the oven until they're crispy and tender first, then mix with white pepper gravy, lots of cheese, a few beaten eggs, and browned sausage or chopped ham.  Top with more cheese & refrigerate until you're ready to bake it off.  Massive favorite if you don't let on how many grams of fat and calories there are thanks to the eggs & my evil gravy recipe... :)

Ok, Sunny - no fair! You get me all hungry and drooly and give me enough details to excite me, but I need more info :biggrin: !! How long do you cook the Breakfast Platter Muffins? And how many of them does it make? And at what temperature?

And regarding the Hash Brown Casserole - well, I'd just like an actual recipe for that one please - I am always looking for breakfast recipes!!

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Ok, Sunny - no fair!  You get me all hungry and drooly and give me enough details to excite me, but I need more info :biggrin: !!  How long do you cook the Breakfast Platter Muffins?  And how many of them does it make? And at what temperature?

And regarding the Hash Brown Casserole - well, I'd just like an actual recipe for that one please - I am always looking for breakfast recipes!!

Oh dear, I always pale when asked for specific recipes, but I think in this case I can help... and I know you're a good enough cook to fill in for any ambiguities. :)

Breakfast platter muffins (I really need a better name for those; they just always remind me of any diner's version of a "breakfast platter") go in for 20-25 minutes at 350°F. If I remember correctly, the proportions I mentioned makes 24 muffins (or lots more minis, but I quit making those because I think people will eat MORE if you give them little ones, and I HATE running out of food!)

Regarding the hash brown casserole, the biggest problem I have is knowing how many potatoes it takes... I bake these in foil pans that fit my pseudo-chafing dish racks, approximately the same size as a normal (say, Pyrex) 9x13" baking dish but much deeper. Ok, maybe they're more like 12x 15? Anyway, I cut enough potatoes (diced, with skins) to fill one about halfway... big russets, I'd estimate maybe five or six? I drizzle the cubes with olive oil & kosher salt and roast them at 400°F until they're done through and nicely browned... I'm sorry I can't tell you how long exactly, but you can probably figure it out.

My version of white pepper gravy is, as I said, evil. It's just a standard white sauce, really. Melt a stick of butter (I always use salted, for reference) and whisk in 1/2 cup of flour then cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes. The "evil" part comes in with the liquid... 3 cups half & half plus 1 cup homemade chicken stock. I've made it with only half & half in a pinch. Then you just simmer it until thickened, like any sauce, and add salt to taste and LOTS of very coarsely ground black pepper. Say, close to 2 tbsp? (I'm a southern girl, what can I say?)

When the potatoes are done, I put them in my big wide mixing bowl, toss with the gravy, and mix in about 2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (I like Vermont white extra sharp,) 1 lb. of cooked & well-drained breakfast sausage (or ham, if you prefer,) and 4-6 eggs, depending on if my egg-sharing neighbor graces me with her gigantic XXX size darlings, or I have to resort to store-bought "large" ones. I also forgot to mention that I really like to add (depending on the crowd I'm feeding) about 1/4 cup of chopped fresh sage leaves (or an equivalent amount of dried,) and perhaps some sauteed onions and/or peppers (we really like red bell peppers in this when it's just my family.) Mushrooms are another lovely addition... I kinda dig the baby portobellos. I then get a little nuts with the topping cheese, probably another 2 cups in those big pans.

I bake this casserole at 350°F until set and nicely browned... here, I'm sorry to say, I can't even begin to estimate, but I'm sure you'd know how to tell when it's done. I can also say that this darling thing can be frozen (unbaked) with very little damage, and while my personal persnicketiness deems the potatoes to suffer mildly in the texture department with this treatment, I've never had a complaint from guests. :)

Hope this helps... if you have any specific questions that I may have missed, feel free to ask and I'll see if I can help. I'll also be making this for my daughter's 17th birthday party brunch on Saturday, so I'll try to write things down as I go this time! I'll also take some pictures, but honestly, it's not a particularly attractive thing to see... just yummy to eat.

I bake the casserole at 350°F until nicely set and browned on the top.

Oh, and once I got an additional wild hair and stirred in about 1/4 cup of tomato paste into the white sauce... that wasn't half bad, either, and made it a little different.

Have fun! And if you are a collector of breakfast/brunch recipes, feel free to share some with me... I'm always looking to expand beyond what I now have in my repertoire, and sometimes I'm just too lazy and overworked to venture outward!

PS: Worst case, I'll make YOU one and drop it off sometime... we're not very far away from one another; I'm actually in Richmond right now spending the week with my Mom, but my home is just a little past Powhatan!

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Sunny, thank you so much. I am going to make both of these really soon! You are in Powhatan and I am sitting in my office on Monument. Nice to think of an egullet buddy being so nearby :smile: !

You can go here to the Breakfast section of my webpage to find some good recipes. They are all tried and true.

Kim

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I hosted a brunch on Saturday & served the make ahead French Toast (yum!) and this - sausage and egg casserole with sun-dried tomatoes and mozzarella - from epicurious. Delicious & easy & adaptable to whatever you like. It's also good at room temp.

Good luck!

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ok, the brunch was yesterday--and I served a baked spiral ham, and I did the old faithful Baked French Toast, after all--my hub requested it, and everyone was happy to have it again, so whatever...

This is pretty much the recipe--my recipe adds chopped nuts to the topping--and you don't melt it, just mix it with the butter very soft and glop on the topping.

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Baked-French-...t-2/Detail.aspx

I used supermarket whole grain french bread which was tasty--you don't want to use good crispy bread--you want the softer kind.

And ignore the comments for this recipe--sometimes all the liquid doesn't absorb, but just keep baking it, eventually it all absorbs--and the texture is so creamy and lovely, it would be a mistake to reduce the liquid.

This is an open house brunch so i have nibbles and food all set out together, so the menu can seem a little strange..

I made a cranberry apple fruit compote, devilled eggs, a crunchy baked chick pea snacky mix, asparagus and assorted raw veggies with a dipping sauce that i thought was delish, but most of it was left, so maybe not too popular--it was mayo, sour cream, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, sesame oil and a little soy sauce.

And I also made the Brrrownies from Baking MHTY--finally was able to cut them neatly--this, I believe was Dorrie's suggestion--freeze them for a few minutes and then cut--worked like magic.

And a cake that i made a booboo with that turned out delicious--the Lemon Buttermilk Cake from Maida Heatter's Great Desserts--I subbed sour cream for the buttermilk, and you have two separate uses of lemon juice-- three tbls in the cake and 1/2 cup for the glaze--well, i dumped the 1/2 cup in the cake, didn't realize it til later--I was afraid the extra acidity would mess up the rising of the cake, but it came out perfect, a soft, tender, dense cake--and so intensely lemony--I will incorporate the error into the recipe in the future.

And I have saved and opied all of your delicious suggestions for my next brunch--during the holidays I hope to try them out!

Zoe

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