JEFF TIEDEMAN: No place like brunch for the holidaysBreakfast-lunch combo can help make holidays less hectic.
The holidays in our home are generally pretty quiet, with most family living out-of-state and venturing here at Christmastime only every four to five years.
That’s in sharp contrast to some households, where holiday (and weekend ) guests are commonplace because many relatives reside within driving distance, further complicating busy lives.
Despite the added joy of having loved ones around, hosts will often find themselves with the dilemma of what to feed guests, regardless if they are staying in their home or in a motel.
And when fixing three meals a day for the visiting hordes can be just might be too much work, brunch is the perfect solution. (For some brunch recipe ideas, go to /www.grandforksherald.com/event/tag/group/Life/tag/food/.)
Brunch, the portmanteau (blending) of two words (breakfast and lunch), is generally eaten from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., often consisting of some foods that normally would be eaten at each of the meals (i.e. eggs, bacon, sausage, seafood, casseroles, waffles, salads, cheese, pastries, fruit, juice, smoothies, coffee and tea).
By combining the two, you eliminate the need to cook three times a day.
One nice thing about brunches is that you can make them as big or elaborate or as small and simple as you want.
And while some people love juggling omelet pans, refilling coffee cups and playing frantic short-order cook one minute and waiter the next, most do not.
So, with that in mind, here are some time-saving brunch tips that might be helpful this holiday season:
n Pick an easy-to-prepare central dish that can be assembled the night before and cooked just before guests arrive. Build around this for the rest of your menu.
n Keep your guest list small. Intimacy is the goal for brunches.
n Many bakeries and supermarkets make fresh pastries and breads daily. Pick these up the day before your brunch and fill a basket to overflowing for your guests.
n Have ample portions. You want guests to linger and enjoy the unusual opportunity to eat a good breakfast or early lunch. No one should think twice about taking seconds.
n For a more enjoyable experience, serve food buffet-style menu, since it allows you to make most of the dishes well in advance. You also don’t have to bother with place settings.
n Skip the individual drinks. In addition to a pot of fresh coffee, serve chilled drinks in pitchers rather than mixing up individual cocktails. Also, try using a thermos, urn or pitcher to serve hot spiced cider or tea.
n Choose in-season foods (frozen is OK, too). You can add tasty twists and robust flavor to common brunch food and drinks by using in-season fruits and veggies.
The holidays don’t need to be as hectic as our normal weekday schedules. And brunch is one way to guarantee that.
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.