Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Ideas for birthday brunch ?


Duvel
 Share

Recommended Posts

Please allow me to tap into the collective wisdom (or creativity) for a moment.

 

Upcoming Easter Monday it will be my mom’s 70th birthday. Unfortunately, due to the Covid restrictions, all planned activities (such as family fathering at a hotel, fancy dinner etc.) are cancelled. The only thing we will / can do is to drive up and have a nice, yet simple Easter Sunday dinner (for which I will procure a great selection of cheeses, fruits and some good wines) and then a birthday brunch, before we need to head back in the afternoon.

 

Now I will need some ideas for said brunch, and that’s not my forte. So far I know I want to make Eggs Benedict / Norvegienne. I will also get some good Champagne and freshly squeezed juices. For the rest I rely on your suggestions. My general thoughts are: 

- No additional dishes featuring eggs

- Foods that are not too far out of the comfort zone of a 70 yo German grandmother. 

- Something saying “festive” but could be partly prepared ahead (and travels well - optional)

- both sweet and savoury ideas are highly welcome. I am not very into sweet things, so here is my larger “blind spot”.

- There will be significants amounts of French raw milk cheeses and their cousins left over from the night before. Using these partly would be a plus. I have not compiled my list, but assume any cheese would be part of that portfolio.

 

That would be my train of thought at the moment. I am aiming for 3-4 additional dishes. Your help (as always) is very much appreciated 🤗


 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm wondering about some sort of savory crepes; classic buckwheat with some melty cheese, or something along those lines?  

 

Fancy hasselback potatoes incorporating cheese and bacon?

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

70th Birthday is certainly one to be celebrated!

 

Though I am clearly unaware of her tastes, I would say gravlax would be something that can be made ahead, travels very well and certainly has a 'wow' factor for a special occasion.  Happy to share some recipes I use if that is of interest.

 

Crusty breads to go with cheese and the gravlax are also a good idea.

 

Perhaps a chicken liver mousse / pate?

 

Some pickley things (and perhaps a chutney of some sort) would also go well and help cut through the richness of both cheeses and mousse.  If you go with the gravlax I like to use a balsamic/mustard/dill/caper sauce.

 

As far as sweet things go, my grandmother used to make a vanilla 'crema' and she would put fruit preserves on the bottom and sometimes top it with crumbled biscotti.  Travels well, easily made ahead.  You can also freeze it and bring it out 30-45 minutes prior to serving and it becomes a semi-fredo.

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I concur with @weinooon adding a potato dish.  If you didn't want the hassle of hasselback (lol) you could simply do them in a skillet--diced up with bacon etc.  Flipping occasionally so that the taters get crispy edges.

 

I always think asparagus goes well with eggs Benedict.

 

Cinnamon rolls are always a treat for us and can be made ahead and travel well.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Shelby said:

I always think asparagus goes well with eggs Benedict.

 

Cinnamon rolls are always a treat for us and can be made ahead and travel well.

Like both o those. I leapt to a simple but pretty phruit salat --6th letter o alphabet disabled due to hot beverage spill.  A mix o colors and sorts simply"dressed" with squeeze o mandarin

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What about something like a homemade muffins or a sweet bread of some sort (zucchini?). A French toast-style casserole (aka bread pudding) perhaps? 

 

  • Thanks 1

Joanna G. Hurley

"Civilization means food and literature all round." -Aldous Huxley

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fruit salad, homemade bagels with various toppings like flavored cream cheese or smoked salmon.  For dessert, maybe mini cheesecakes or individual panna cottas topped with berries?

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother is about the same age and she absolutely loves to have options. She can't handle big portions anymore, especially not of sugary, fatty or very spicy things. Big portions are less appealing when she does her own shopping, as she doesn't like to be stuck with produce for days. Cooking has become painful and ready made stuff can be fatty, sugary and not very tasty.

So I either buy it from a place she can't or won't reach. Or I make it and take down the heat of some of her favorites and watch out with fat. The sugary things (like when we try out some nice patisserie), we just share. If I don't make or buy any small portioned stuff like madeleines, I just cut op stuff like a piece of cake or pie, so everyone get's to try a small piece. This looks a bit less nice, but it does spark a lot of joy. And analyses of said products, because now everyone has an opinion😄

 

Does your mom still make stuff herself? If not, how about a nice kartoffelsalat? Home made stuff can be much lighter and nicer than what she has access to. Dressed up nicely on a fancy plate or use an ice scoop to make individual portions. This might look a bit less intimidating. You could make a decorating border out of a variety of pickles. Or choose a different acid to balance the spread, like a krautsalat. Could be regular white/green one with carrot or go for a red cabbage and do a little sweet and sour with raisins. Or a beet salad. It's not the right season yet, but some cherry tomatoes can be a nice addition. Bonuspoints if you can get your hands on a nice mix of colors and shapes.

Get or make the best bread available and also some nice crackers. Some chutney perhaps?

 

For sweets, is bienenstich an option? Maybe it's a personal thing, but bees signal spring (and summer) to me. Might be a bit much, next to all those cheeses. But you could opt getting one piece from a good bakery and cut it up for nibbles. Eggnog is a bit of an easter thing over here (Hallo Nachbar, süße Grüße aus den Niederlanden👋) and can be put in small glasses. Layer it with contrasting colours and savour with tiny spoons. Or go for something zingier and pick lemon curd.

 

Oh, I'm digging the asparagus suggestion! I saw some green ones available and now want to grill them.

 

Anyway, have a great easter and birthday celebration!

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My suggestions would be, given the Eggs Benedict:

  • A fruit salad with a nice, tangy dressing
  • Asparagus, either grilled or roasted; I like roasting it with some spears wrapped in proscuitto, others not
  • A potato dish -- for a while, everyone on here was making Hot Crash Potatoes, where you boil or bake small potatoes, smash them flat with the bottom of a glass or with a potato masher, drizzle with butter, salt and pepper, top with some of that leftover cheese from the night before, and run under the broiler to heat and melt the cheese. You could bring the potatoes, pre-baked/boiled, and simply smash, top and broil when you're there.
  • Muffins -- either bran or with a fruit inclusion. I've got go-to recipes for both, should you want a tried-and-true. Easily enough baked in advance, sealed in an airtight container when cool, and brought along.

I also recall having, and later making, a salad that combined some of the above that was awfully good. Roasted asparagus, arranged on a plate, with cubed up cantaloupe (may be too early for decent cantaloupe) and diced fresh mozzarella scattered over the top, strewn with chopped herbs and topped with a really tart lemon viniagrette.

  • Like 2

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An aside - when I have done birthday meals or the ninety-eight year old dad I included a menu as a take home souvenir  with a note like "in honor o your..." Older people like that tangible item to hold and look at later I think. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your suggestions - that helped me really a lot. My first draft looks now like this:

 

Foie Gras Cappuccino 

 

Eggs Benedict

 

Graved Salmon w/ red beets

 

Belgian crab & potato croquettes

 

Asparagus quiche

 

Fresh rye bread

(Müslistangen, Croissants)

 

Various cheeses, marmalades & honey

 

Individual strawberry cheesecakes w/ fresh strawberries 

 

Champagne, fresh juices, coffee

 

I will sleep over it and start working on recipes & logistics tomorrow. Thanks again 🤗

  • Like 7
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, heidih said:

So on the salmon something like this? https://forums.egullet.org/topic/139829-eg-foodblog-rarerollingobject-2011-mealtimes-at-the-university-of/?do=findComment&comment=1829356  and on the cheeseckes - berries withn or a sauce and topping? 

 


Yes on the salmon ...

 

As for the cheesecakes - notnquite sure yet. Strawberries are in season in Spain right now, so good quality is available (and my mom loves them) - will work on how to do the cakes tomorrow 😉

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend/co-worker used to make mini (petite) cheesecakes and bring them to the office.  We LOVED them and she shared the recipe with me.   When I've made them (it's been a while) I used mini muffin tins and mini cupcake baking cups.  I'm sure you can make them any size, just up the baking time a bit. 

 

Recipe:

 

3 8oz pkg cream cheese

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

 

Mix well.  Pour in baking cups in muffin pans.  Bake 40 mins at 300F

 

Remove from oven and let cool

 

Mix well:

 

16 oz sour cream

1/3 c sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Top the cheesecakes with this and return to oven for 5 mins.

 

Then top with whatever fruit etc.

 

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again for all your input - we had a great birthday brunch and my mom enjoyed a lot ... for documentation purpose this is how it went:

 

The full table - everyone ignoring the cook asking for a clean shot 🤭

 

A3ADF5CA-2A9B-45C1-8D10-BD60BD9806F3.thumb.jpeg.7279e5c91d147e88a529b51f5121d034.jpeg

 

Foie Gras Cappuccino - no picture, as I was a bit in a hurry. Stock based on dried ceps and death trumpets, cream, foie gras; all pureed and topped with milk foam. Liquid umami ...

 

Eggs Benedict

 

7C1AA94F-D782-4391-B17D-15A6790A911C.thumb.jpeg.4651bbf9464bb76fb35793c58d04d549.jpeg

 

Graved Salmon w/ red beets & freshly made bagels

 

E47A2DA9-71D8-4477-8513-7ECD1AA560BC.thumb.jpeg.947dccef5064e5b18e5884c8e1aa7a8c.jpeg

 

111B6B4F-9960-4371-B65C-63A89222CEDE.thumb.jpeg.0aad03870eb6c5fea025c7b1d3c8e7db.jpeg

 

Belgian crab croquettes - kitchen shot, as they didn’t last long enough on the table (took a bite for quality control after frying) ...

 

2471A5D3-92D6-438F-86CC-EAC69E378CF6.thumb.jpeg.70a7324226c2dad058cb9af1bbb5c0c7.jpeg

 

Asparagus quiche

 

CE4C7400-9F6A-42DD-B41A-9F0B1F0C2988.thumb.jpeg.7d7c6492a15d1a0f642511d149c03df3.jpeg

 

Fresh walnut bread, raisin bread. Various cheeses and cold cuts.

 

Individual strawberry cheesecakes w/ fresh strawberries: thanks to @Shelby for the recipe  - it worked great. I cooked them in waterbath in the oven to 75 oC, then added a strawberry coulis and a strawberry when cool. Very light texture and good taste ...

 

314BB855-D5F7-440F-B7EB-F13C37D047A0.thumb.jpeg.a9c9e902fb2c3a943b68d4c868b9c25a.jpeg

 

Champagne, fresh juices, coffee

 

5835953A-508F-49B8-A633-CB3300D498E4.thumb.jpeg.991eb2d027b8467cda934218071fa6fa.jpeg

 

Mom was happy (but I can tell my father enjoyed the brunch even more) ... and so I am happy as well 🤗

 

  • Like 5
  • Delicious 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So so lovely. I got weepy at the Moet - my champagne intro. The asparagus quiche as presented and the strawberry dessert scream SPRING

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...