Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weekend Brunch

One of the best meals you can make for family and guests on a weekend is brunch. The combination of breakfast dishes and lunch dishes is a foodies dream. Some items can be purchased to save you time and some can be made. Here are a few of my favorites for brunch.

The bought items can be found in your local Fresh Market. I love their croissants. I just put my oven on 350 degrees and moisten my clean hands with water and gently rub each on and put them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and heat them for 5 minutes. They taste as if they came straight from the bakery. Serve them with a variety of jams, jellies and soft cheeses. The fruit and cheese selection is great along with prepared foods and salads. The selection is endless...

Lorrie's Delish French Toast

2 large eggs
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup half-and-half
1 teaspoon * good vanilla
1/8 teaspoon of McCormick Saigon Cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt
9-12 slices of Pepperidge Farm Hot&Crusty Twin French bread (unbaked)
Butter to fry
Beat eggs well, add sugar and whisk well. Then add water and half-and-half, mix well. Add cinnamon, vanilla, and salt, whisk will. Add bread and allow the bread to absorb mixture. Add butter to the skillet on medium high heat until butter melts. Cook toast on each side until golden brown. Place a thin pat of butter on each piece of toast and serve with warm syrup. This makes a wonderful brunch item.
Note:  Good vanilla is what makes this so good. I used Sonoma Syrup Co. Pure Vanilla Extract and Pure Almond Extract. http://www.sonomasyrup.com/  Note: serve this with  scrambled eggs, crispy bacon or sausage along with my special coffee recipe.

Lorrie's Chilled Strawberry Soup

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound of strawberries (washed, leaves removed, and cut into fours)                        
1 1/2 cups of vanilla yogurt                                      
2 cups of chilled apple juice                             
6 packets of Equal (3 packets to sprinkle on strawberries, 3 packets for the sweet broth mixture)    
2 teaspoons of pure orange extract
4 chocolate mint leaves, slightly bruised with a spoon* (I bought this herb plant at a local nursery)     

In a bowl, wash and remove leaves, and cut strawberries into four pieces. Sprinkle 3 packets of Equal on the strawberries. In a large bowl, add the yogurt, and slowly whisk in the apple juice. Add the remaining 3 packets of Equal, orange extract, and chocolate mint leaves, then add strawberries. Cover and chill for a few hours until very cold! Enjoy! Note: This makes a wonderful starter or dessert for a brunch.

Lorries Special Coffee

9 coffee scoops of coffee
8 cups of water
1 tablespoon of good vanilla extract
1 tablespoon good almond extract

Put coffee in in the coffee basket/filter. Add extracts over ground coffee.  Brew according to coffee pots instructions This makes the best specialty coffee for a fraction of the price. Serve black, sugar, sugar substitute and half and half. You may also top this coffee with whipped cream to make it even more decadent!

Lorrie's Provencal Baked Tomatoes Serves 2
1 ripe red tomato
sea salt (to taste)
Herbes de Provence (to taste)
black pepper (to taste)
good olive oil
Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tomato in half horizontally. Place tomatoes in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle sea salt, (I used Celtic Sea Salt http://www.vgourmet.com/) black pepper and Herbes de Provence http://www.vgourmet.com/ on the cut side of the sliced tomatoes. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Sprinkle the tops with panko crumbs and drizzle a little more olive oil on top so they can brown. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Note:  This would be great side with salmon, roast chicken or baked chicken parts, both sprinkled with a little Herbes de Provence prior to cooking.

This was the most flavorful baked tomato that I've ever had. I've had them on brunch buffets and they were okay, but this is one preparation you need to try! Note: The Sea Salt and Herbes de Provence were samples provided by Victoria Taylor's Seasonings.  

I must admit, that I have not tried this tart, but it seems like it is so easy to prepare and the reviews are great. This would be the centerpiece of any brunch buffet. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/breakfast-tart.html

As for wines, I always prefer sparkling. If making a mimosa, don't spend a lot of money on the sparkling wine. Try a Spanish cava like Aria or a California sparkling Brut.
Aria Cava

Another one of my favorite sparkling wines is a French sparkling wine,  Marquis de la Tour Brut Rose`. This sparkling wine goes really well with brunch, especially the roast chicken and Provencal tomato suggestion.

This sparkling wine is a beautiful salmon pink color. The nose has the aroma of strawberries and other dark red fruit along with that bread aroma associated with champagne. The palate is of strawberries and dark fruit, and the sparkler has a nice finish. I love that the bubbles are tight and go on and on, even the next day. This sparkling wine would pair well with brunch foods like ham, bacon, chicken, and other appetizers and light fare. This is truly a treat you can afford. Note: This wine was a sample provided by Palm Bay International.

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