The Last Minute Sunday Brunch
Have you ever found yourself organizing an impromptu brunch on a Sunday morning? As someone who loves spontaneity and hosting, I find myself throwing together last minute meals quite often. Through these experiences I have come to realize that a last minute meal can still be both elegant, tasty, and affordable, and last but not least, prepared in a small kitchen.
The secret to cooking in a small kitchen is understanding the resources that you have. For instance I have a small oven and a stove top with two burners. Therefore I always have to come up with menus that don't require more cooking resources than those that I have.
My perfect last minute Sunday brunch is:
- Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
- Arugula, Tomato, and Parmesan Salad
- Fruit Salad
With this menu, I can present my guests with a menu that is healthy, substantial, and offers a variety of options to my guests, as everyone knows that the best part about brunch is indulging in a gluttonous amount of foods. Now given that space is an issue, I have to carefully plan my cooking strategy. I start with the fruit salad, as it is best served chilled, so it will benefit from being made in advanced and stored in the fridge until it is time to eat. The salad too can be prepared in advanced and kept in the fridge. I then prepare the quiche, as this requires both a stove top and an oven step. This will be the one item I use my oven for. Since the quiche must remain in the oven for about a half hour, that window is all I will need to both whip up the pancakes, and to set the table. As pancakes are only best served hot, it is important to time the cooking so that you're taking the last batch off of the pan as your guests are ringing your doorbell. I love to transfer my pancakes directly into a ceramic pot with a tight lid, and lined with tinfoil, to ensure that they remain nice and hot for when it is time to eat.
As a good guest will not want to show up empty handed, it is also considerate to keep in mind which items you can offer for them to bring. You want to ensure that these items are easy to find at the local supermarket. Dessert and drinks are always great to leave up to your guests to pick up. I also suggest putting a guest in charge of picking up a large box of coffee, for example the one that they sell at Dunkin Donuts. I will be the first to admit that it is not the most elegant presentation of coffee, but it is the easiest way to prepare coffee for a crowd. Also, if the box goes against your decorating scheme, you can easily pour the contents into a more tasteful container.
Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh broccoli
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 eggs, well beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Over medium-low heat melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onions, garlic and broccoli. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft. Spoon vegetables into crust and sprinkle with cheese.
3. Combine eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in melted butter. Pour egg mixture over vegetables and cheese.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 50 minutes, or until center has set.
For this one I just turn to the timeless Aunt Jemima box recipe to save time and to cut down on clean up.
1 Cup Mix
3/4 Cup Milk or water
1 Tablespoon Oil
1. Heat skillet over medium-low heat or electric griddle to 375° F.
2. Combine all ingredients and stir until large lumps disappear (do not beat or over mix). Let stand 3-4 minutes to thicken.
3. Pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter for each pancake onto lightly greased skillet.
4. Turn when pancakes bubble and bottoms are golden brown.
Arugula and Tomato Salad
2 bunches arugula, washed, dried, and torn
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, juiced
One apple sliced
Handful of cherry tomatoes sliced in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
A chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano
In a serving bowl, drizzle the arugula apple slices and tomatoes with the oil, squeeze in the lemon juice, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until well mixed and taste for seasoning. Use a vegetable peeler to shave thin pieces of Parmesan over the top.