My absolute favourite meal to prepare is brunch. I find myself coming up with brunch menus on a weekly basis. There are so many fun options! I love having brunch guests and starting the day late with a fresh cocktail and some yummy dishes. I prefer to prepare my menu in a tapas-style format, where my guests can take a sample size portion of each dish instead of indulging in just one of the dishes. For this particular ladies brunch that I hosted, I lined up four portions of each of my items on a simple white tray and had my guests take each of their portions using a serving spatula. I consider this a fun spin on serving family style – where each item is pre-portioned.
I start off by serving the cocktail. I try to do something that is fresh and will cut through the soon to be consumed indulgent brunch fare. While my guests are enjoying the cocktail, I add the finishing touches on my dishes. Sometimes planning doesn’t always go perfectly, conversations go long and your guests may have to wait longer than expected to eat. This delicious cocktail will allow your guests to relax and unwind and will get them hungry for some great brunch fare!
Here is my latest menu for brunch:
- Eggs Benedict on a Waffled Herb Potato Hash Brown
- Bourbon Banana & Coconut French Toast
- Mixed Greens and Golden Beet Salad /w Green Goddess Dressing
- Grapefruit & Campari Spritzer
Eggs Benedict on a Waffled Herb Potato Hash Brown
(Yields 4 servings)
Waffled Herb Potato Hash Brown
(Yields 4 large waffles)
5 medium sized yellow flesh potatoes, grated
1 Tbsp each of chopped fresh Rosemary, thyme and oregano
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
salt & Pepper
Preheat waffle iron to medium-high heat setting.
On the large holes of a box grater, grate potatoes into a large bowl. Stir in salt and let sit for 2 minutes. Using cheesecloth, squeeze out excess liquid (excess liquid will cause your potatoes to steam and not become crunchy). Combine herbs with your potato mixture until incorporated.
With a silicone brush, spread butter on both sides of the waffle iron.
Pile the shredded potatoes onto the waffle iron in 4 large mounds (or 2 if you are using a two-waffle press). Overstuff the waffle iron a bit and close the lid. The pressure of the lid will compress the shredded potato into a cohesive waffled unit. Add extra pressure if you think you need it.
After 2 minutes, press down on the lid to compress the potatoes further. Check the potatoes after about 10 minutes – they should be just starting to turn golden brown. When the potato waffles are golden brown throughout, remove them from the waffle iron. I cut my potato waffles diagonally to create triangular segments. This recipe gave me 8 triangle segments for serving with my eggs Benedict.
Eggs Benedict /w Canadian Bacon & Hollandaise sauce
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
8 slices Canadian bacon
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped parsley, for garnish
Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.
Brown the bacon in a medium skillet.
Fill a 10-inch nonstick skillet half full of water. Bring to a slow boil. Gently break 1 of the eggs into the water taking care not to break it. Repeat with remaining eggs. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook 3 1/2 minutes until the egg white is set and yolk remains soft. Remove with a slotted spoon, allowing the egg to drain.
To assemble: Lay a slice of Canadian bacon on top of each waffled hash brown, followed by a poached egg. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon hollandaise sauce over the eggs. Garnish with chopped parsley.
Bourbon Banana & Coconut French Toast
Recipe By: Canadian Living
(Yields 4 servings)
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
1/4 tsp (1 mL) cinnamon
Pinch grated nutmeg
3/4 cup (175 mL) unsweetened desiccated coconut
4 slices (1-inch/2.5 cm thick) challah, or egg bread
2 tsp (10 mL) vegetable oil
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
2 tsp (10 mL) packed brown sugar
3 firm, ripe bananas, sliced
2 tbsp (30 mL) bourbon, or other whisky
3/4 cup (175 mL) granulated sugar
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, cubed
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream 35%
Pinch fleur de sel
Caramel Sauce: In small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 1/3 cup water to boil; boil, without stirring but occasionally brushing down side of pan with pastry brush dipped in cold water, until amber in colour, about 10 minutes.
Standing back and averting face, stir in butter until melted. Stir in cream and fleur de sel; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Let cool.
Meanwhile, in shallow dish, whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg. Place coconut in separate shallow dish. Dip each bread slice into egg mixture until well soaked; press into coconut, turning to coat.
In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook bread, in batches and turning once, until crisp and golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer to platter; keep warm.
Wipe out pan; melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and bananas; cook, turning once, until bananas are light golden but still hold their shape, about 2 minutes. Stir in bourbon; cook until almost no liquid remains, about 2 minutes. Serve over French toast; drizzle with caramel sauce.
Tip from The Canadian Living Test Kitchen: If the caramel sauce thickens by the time you’re ready to serve the French toast, reheat the sauce in the microwave until it reaches a pourable consistency, about 10 seconds. Reserve any leftovers for stirring into coffee or topping ice cream.
Mixed Greens and Golden Beet Salad /w Green Goddess Dressing
(Yields 4-6 servings)
Green Goddess Dressing
1 ripe avocado
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
Place first 8 ingredients into a blender. Process until smooth. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Transfer dressing to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
3 golden beets
2 romaine hearts
16 oz mixed greens & herbs mixture
Peel beets and cut in half. Place beets on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap beets into a foil packet Roast for about 40 minutes or until the centres are soft enough to put a fork through. Let cool. Chop beets in about 1 inch pieces. Set aside.
Wash and chop your romaine hearts into bite sized pieces. Do the same with your mixed greens.
Incorporate beets and salad greens into a large salad bowl. Pour on about half of the green goddess dressing and toss until components are nicely covered with dressing. Serve cold.
Grapefruit & Campari Spritzer
(Yields 1 pitcher)
3 cups of Grapefruit juice, fresh
3/4 cup campari
1/2 zinfandel wine
1/2 cup vanilla vodka
1 can of Tonic Water
Mix all ingredients in a medium pitcher. Stir and serve. Garnish with little wedges of grapefruit on each glass.