Any Excuse to BRUNCH
SPRING FLAVORS CALL FOR CELEBRATION
Brunch is a lifestyle. It’s not only a promise of good food, but to great company and time to unwind. I love how it’s more relaxed than a dinner party but has a vibe of celebration. Here are my top three reasons to “brunch” whenever you get the chance.
- Brunch is the best of both worlds: You can have your favorite breakfast, lunch or dinner options. It’s a no-rules menu.
- People are happier at brunch. They got to sleep in (maybe, unless you are a parent to 6- and 8-year-olds, like myself), and they are more relaxed.
- There is usually champagne. Need I say more?
Here are some easy, fun recipes to make brunch happen!
Cornmeal Cakes with Strawberry Basil Compote
Hands down my favorite brunch dish! It is beautiful with its lacy appearance and tastes divine. I especially love it with the addition of rum for those adult-only brunch times!
- 1 pound strawberries, cleaned, trimmed and hulled
- Handful of fresh basil, minced
- 2 tablespoons rum (optional) or ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 ½ cups half & half
- 4 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 ½ cups fine cornmeal
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
Cook strawberries, basil, rum and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until strawberries are softened and syrupy, 15 minutes. Let compote cool.
Whisk half & half and vinegar in a small bowl and let it curdle slightly. Combine cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs into half & half mixture and slowly add to dry ingredients. Whisk to fully combine. Melt 2 teaspoons of butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Ladle ⅓ cup batter into skillet. Cook pancake until lacy and golden underneath. Flip and cook about 1 minute more. Repeat about eight times. To serve, spoon compote on top!
Spicy Strawberry Sparkle
This cocktail has a funny story: It started out being called “The Feisty Homeschooler” when my mom friends and I went to quarantine/homeschooling mode in 2020. Now that life is much changed, I have retitled it to a more fun name that captures its sparkly vibe!
- 5-7 oz Champagne1 tablespoon strawberry syrup (see note)Dash of cayenneMint sprigs for garnish
- Add 1 tablespoon of the syrup to a glass of champagne, no stirring, and garnish with a dash of cayenne and mint!
- 6 strawberries
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar¼ teaspoon vanilla extract2 sprigs of mint
Wash and core strawberries. Combine berries, water and sugar
in saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir in vanilla, and add 2 sprigs of mint. Reduce heat to a simmer, about 15 to 20 minutes until strawberries are very soft. Strain the mixture well. Allow to cool.
Spring Forward Salmon Orzo Salad
I love adding smoked salmon as a protein at brunch. It isn’t your traditional bagel and lox, which I adore, but this is amazing, too. It hits all the notes of spicy, salty, sweet and hearty yet light.
- 1 ½ cups orzo, cooked
- ½ cucumber, chopped
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon capers, drained
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- Handful of fresh arugula
- 8 ounces of smoked salmon, chopped
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne
- 1 tablespoon chives, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
In a large bowl, prep your salad ingredients. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk vigorously. Toss everything together. Salad is best cold! ✦