Brunch Basics

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The Holidays are here and brunch is a simple and special way to celebrate with family and friends.  They are many times a less stressful, enjoyable and budget-friendly way to entertain.  Follow our Brunch Basics Guide below and host one this holiday in your home!

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3 Practical & Easy Tips For A Stress-Free and Successful Brunch

1.    Serve the right balance of breakfast and lunch foods.

Why?  Your guests will fall into 1 of 3 categories:

  • Breakfast food fan – strictly interested in breakfast and is not putting a lunch item on the plate.
  • Ready for lunch lover – breakfast is so over by 11-12pm, looking for lunch.
  • True brunch afionado – there are 2 types: 1. can deftly craft a plate combining breakfast and lunch items enjoying both in one sitting; 2. Works a brunch unlike anything you’ve ever seen, pacing themselves through courses starting with breakfast and working right through lunch, this is your brunch marathoner, usually a seasoned pro.

2.   Choose foods that are equally delicious and safe to eat after sitting out at room temperature for up to 1- 1 ½ hours or if serving a hot dish(es) can withstand this amount of time on a hot plate or in a chafing dish.

Why? Your guests are guaranteed to arrive sporadically anytime from your invite time until 30 minutes later.  Also, this gives your guests the freedom to enjoy the buffet at their leisure.

3.   Select dishes that can be prepared ahead of time and displayed before your first guest arrives.

Why? So you can be a guest at your own party!

Some Menu Suggestions:

Breakfast Foods: Frittata, French Toast Casserole, Crepes with fresh fruit and crème, Croissants.  Although pancakes, waffles, french toast and eggs are crowd favorites, they don’t hold up well on a buffet and you don’t want to become a short order cook, so put a twist on a favorite by substituting the frittata for the eggs, the crepes for the pancakes and waffles and french toast casserole for the french toast.

Lunch Food: Spiral Ham and Make Your Own Salad Bar

  • Hands down our favorite brunch item for versatility, ease of preparation and serving.
  • Spiral Ham – we love it because it’s so easy to prepare, it feeds a crowd and it’s so versatile:
  • It’s easy to prepare – remove from wrapper, heat, glaze and serve.
  • It’s simple to serve – remove from oven, it’s precut so no carving and it’s perfect warm to room temperature.
  • If you love breakfast, enjoy it as your breakfast meat side conversely if you’re a lunch fan, make a gourmet ham sandwich on a croissant.
  • It’s the perfect leftover when all the guests are gone and you realize you were having so much fun you didn’t eat all that much!

Make Your Own Salad Bar

Alongside a big bowl of spring greens, offer any selection of toppings beautifully presented on platters that guests can enjoy on their salad or as sides.  Our suggestions:

  • Cheese plate (include Parmigiano Reggiano in a wedge that guests can grate on their salad, frittata or sandwich; others may take a nugget to savor on the side of their meal).
  • Fruit platter – turn a basic salad into a citrus or berry salad or mix it up for a breakfast side or healthy dessert
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans) – Display in a pedestal dish as some snacking morsels or as a protein boost with the greens.
  • Roasted vegetables – decadent addition to greens, can also make a meal of itself (perfect for the non-meat eaters) or as a delicious side to any breakfast, lunch or brunch plate.

Bonus Brunch Basics Tips:

  • Set up dishes, napkins, flatware on surface near buffet.  If you have enough room to seat all your guests, preset your table with place cards and allow each guest to find their spot, fill their glass and then take their plate to the buffet (this way there’s no balancing act with beverage and utensils while trying to serve yourself.  If you don’t have enough space to seat your guests at tables, make sure you bring in extra seating and offer flat surfaces for drinks nearby seating.
  • Depending upon the number of guests, collect a variety of dinner dishes from your kitchen and/or a friend’s/relative’s, same for flatware (having a variety is very vintage).  This saves you money on paper products and generates less waste.
  • Set up a help yourself beverage station with a signature cocktail (our favs: French 75, Bloody Mary, Champagne), pitchers of fruit infused water, sparkling water and Ice Tea.  You may choose to offer wine and beer, but don’t get into offering too many selections, next thing you know you’ll be on your way to setting up a full bar – Keep It Simple!
  • Buffet – once your menu is set, identify which serving dishes and utensils you’ll need for each and arrange them on buffet surface.  This can be a time sucker if left until day of brunch.  Use extra place cards to identify each dish, so guests won’t have to bother you asking what is what.  If space allows, place an eye catching floral arrangement in the center of your buffet, if you simply don’t have the space, create small satellite arrangements and place them throughout the area your guests will be dining and mingling.  Resist the temptation to add sparkle to your buffet with candlesticks – they’re never a good idea when guests are reaching and may be distracted by chit chat in the buffet line.
  • Set up a separate Dessert Buffet with endless luscious and decadent desserts (everyone will remember this!)  Include coffee (you’ll have tea, cream, sugar, spoons, dessert plates and napkins.

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