JEFF TIEDEMAN: Let's do brunchHolidays provide perfect opportunity for these get-togethers.
Two things are a certainty during the holidays, and they both go hand in hand:
No. 1, there always is plenty of good food to go around, and No. 2, getting together with friends or family is a lot more fun when you’re sharing those eats with them.
One such type of gathering that I find most appealing is brunch, the late-morning meal between breakfast and lunch that has become quite popular.
While brunch used to be one of the offerings made by restaurants and diners as special-occasion meals on holidays such as Valentine’s, Mother’s Day and New Year’s Day, it’s now become a Sunday standby everywhere — in homes as well as restaurants.
There’s a lot to like about serving a brunch. Food is easy to prepare, can be made in advance, is inexpensive and usually is loved by all.
We recently hosted a brunch the Sunday before Christmas, when a friend of ours, Eileen Searcy, was in town from California with her husband, Tom. She was here to see her son, Shawn, graduate from UND. We love to have people over to eat, so Eileen’s visit provided us the perfect opportunity to throw a brunch.
It had been awhile since we’d hosted such a get-together, but Therese had a few ideas about what to serve. First, she wanted to make some sort of egg bake, a dish that’s usually quite popular at this sort of event. And she recently had tried a tasty apple coffeecake at work and wanted to prepare that as well.
A co-worker told her that the coffeecake recipe was in the Calvary Lutheran Church cookbook that was published about 10 years ago.
As luck would have it, I just happened to have a copy of “Calvary 2000 — Heavenly Recipes,” which was given to me by Herald columnist and former food editor, Marilyn Hagerty, who is a member of Calvary Lutheran and also helped put together the cookbook.
Therese discovered the coffeecake recipe (which I found to be quite scrumptious) as well as one for a breakfast bake that she liked in the cookbook. (We improvised the breakfast bake recipe, using some Mexican cheese and pork chorizo from Cacique USA.)
Along with the coffeecake and bake (served with salsa), we had smoked salmon spread (a combination of fish, cream cheese, a little onion and some herbs and spices) and crackers, grapes and cranberry juice at the brunch.
While we don’t have a brunch in our New Year’s Day plans, here are a few tips to help if you do:
n Plan a menu that you’ll enjoy preparing with dishes that are easy for you to make. Pancakes and fruit bowls with pastries, hash browns and quiches are good choices for larger groups of people. Eggs, bacon, omelets and sausages are easily prepared for smaller numbers.
n Shop the day before and prepare as much as possible ahead of time. Clean your house in advance as well.
n For a lot of people, brunch will be the first meal of the day and includes that all-important first cup of tea or coffee. Find out what people like — especially herbal or decaf — and have a supply on hand.
n When you set food out, you want it to look abundant. No one should think twice about taking seconds. Prepare twice as much food as you think you’ll need; it will still require less work and expense than a fancy sit-down dinner.
Finally, remember you can start that New Year’s diet Jan. 2.
Tiedeman is food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.