Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Let's Have Brunch: The Meal Plan

As I mentioned last week, I'm planning a Brunch and it's time to come up with the meal plan. I'm expecting 12 adults and up to 5 kids of various ages. Some of the people attending are vegetarians/non-meat eaters to some degree. I'd like to put together a menu that can be mostly prepared in advance and that is easy to eat, using a fork at the most so that people don't have to be sitting at a table to eat, instead mingling. Everything will be cut into small portions so that people can nibble.
Main Dishes:
  • Potato Kale Quiche (from The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook) The only thing I don't have on hand for this recipe is the kale. This is easily made in advance and then reheated.
  • Summer Squash Frittata: I'll follow this recipe (using less butter) but use whatever veggies I have on hand, maybe slice a tomato and lay it on top to make it pretty. My friend gave me a wonderful new frittata pan that I need to break in! This will be made the day of the brunch.
  • Bouchons au Thon (aka tuna corks) I will make these well in advance and freeze; I'll triple the recipe, replace the tuna with salmon, and put them in a mini muffin pan to make them bite sized. (I'm pretty sure the non-meat eaters attending eat salmon) If I'm really organized I'll make a little dill sauce to dot on top with some chopped parsley or something. I will have to buy the salmon (in can or pouch)
  • Make Ahead Strawberry French Toast I already have the strawberry preserves and all the other ingredients, so this will make a big fancy dish for only the cost of the challah bread, fresh strawberries, and cream cheese!
Side Dishes:
  • Cut up fresh fruit: Probably cantalope and strawberries accented with whatever else looks fresh and is on sale that week.
  • Banana Bread- I use the recipe from The Joy of Cooking, but use whole wheat flour and double the amount of mashed bananas. I have everything I need to make this already. I plan to make a double batch in advance and freeze half in a secret location so that it doesn't get inhaled before the party.
  • Mini whole wheat bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon and capers. Just need to buy the smoked salmon; bagels are presliced and frozen in the freezer.
  • Sweet potato biscuits: I'll take the leftover sweet potato from roasting them for a previous meal and make these up as mini-biscuits, maybe put a little ham on some of them.
  • 'Oatmeal' cookies-I'm trying to use up the 5-grain cereal as mentioned here and the cookie recipe on the package isn't the best, so I'm going to combine the package recipe with my favorie oatmeal cookie recipe. I'll let you know how it turns out!
So looking at the meal plan so far (I'll keep it flexible) and based on what ingredients I have in the house at this point, my grocery list is as follows: lots of eggs, kale, spinach, canned/packaged salmon (three 6 oz packages), table cream, parsley, challah bread, cream cheese blocks, cantalope, strawberries, squash, tomato, lunchmeat ham, and smoked salmon.

To be made in advance and frozen: the salmon corks, possibly the potato-kale quiche, and the banana bread.

To be prepared the day before (Saturday): make-ahead French Toast (the night before), cut up fruit for french toast sauce and fruit salad, cut veggies for frittata, cut up and arrange smoked salmon on plate, bake the sweet potato biscuits and cookies (the only two things that need to be cooked, the rest is chopping and mixing this day). Defrost the quiche (if frozen) and banana bread overnight.

The morning of the brunch: Combine and bake the frittata, bake the french toast, reheat the quiche and salmon corks, make the strawberry sauce, toast the frozen bagels, put everything on plates and set up the beverages.

I'll talk about beverages next!

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