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Spring Brunch Summary

03-Apr-2005

It was pouring at 10:00 am this morning – not raining, pouring! As each of my guests arrived we hung their wet coats and immediately got them a beverage.  Most chose coffee to start – although the temperature was fairly warm the rain had a chilling effect – even for those of us who are used to it. :-)  People gathered in the living room around the fire.  I was actually glad to be able to make a fire this morning.  Fires are so cozy and welcoming, especially when you can smell them as you approach the house. 

I had done a pretty  good job with my prep work and in selecting my menu for the day so I was able to join everyone as we got caught up with the latest news.  This is something I have been actively working on for quite some time.  I sometimes just have so much going at the last minute that it’s hard to actually greet everyone as they come in or I do and then rush off.  I keep joking that this is not my fault, it’s my non-existent significant other’s fault!  He should be greeting people, taking coats, getting them a drink as I put the finishing flourishes on the meal!  :-)  But since he is non-existent, I’ve just had to become better at my planning. I’m still hoping though…

Once most of my guests had arrived (R was still missing in action but I figured she’d be showing up soon or had completely missed the alarm and either way I didn’t want to hold the group up) I left them to do a bit of final assembly.  

The fruit, salad and scones (removed from the oven just as guests were arriving) were all on the table and ready to go. 

I got the asparagus into the pan to steam and had heated some water to simmer so that I could warm the eggs.  I had actually poached the eggs about an hour before and they were resting on a towel. Now, the trick was just to return them to the pan for a few minutes to warm.  I learned this from my friend, Martha, you may know her, too.   

As the asparagus finished steaming I put the waffles (also made a bit earlier) into the oven to reheat them, something you’d need to do even if you were making them all at one time, unless you have multiple wafflemakers.  Both dishes take less then five minutes to assemble so the warning was sent out to "refill drinks and get to the table!". 

I was really happy with how everything looked and tasted.  There are a few things I’d tweak a little but overall this was a very Spring-like brunch. 

I’d made this waffle recipe before and it was a crowd favorite both then and today.  Tom Douglas actually makes his own gravlax but I purchase mine and find that it works very well.  The wild rice in the waffle batter makes them more substantial than a "normal" waffle, adds a bit of chewiness and great flavor.  It’s the perfect vessel for the salmon, creme fraiche and chives.  I had also planned to add a little chopped red onion but forgot so I’ll have to try that with my leftovers. 

This was my first attempt with the Asparagus and Poached Egg recipe.  Of course I’ve steamed asparagus a zillion times but I don’t poach eggs often and I’ve never done them for "company" before.  Overall I was happy with this recipe.  I jazzed it up with the bacon and I always add a splash of lemon juice to asparagus.  It really brightens the flavor – you shouldn’t put so much that they taste lemony but just so that there’s a hint of something really fresh about them.  The only thing I might do differently next time is try to make the eggs a bit softer.  I like runny poached eggs, however some of my friends don’t subscribe to that school of thought so I tried to have them a little more set.  I’m not sure if I cooked them a bit more than I would have liked or if it was a result of the pre-cooking/re-heating process.  They were actually okay but my preference would have been for a bit more fluid yolk. 

The scones were really great!  I’ve made a similar recipe of Ina’s in the past but it was for a savory scone.  However, they both use the same basic recipe so I knew what I was getting into.  I find that Ina likes to make huge amounts of huge items! :-)  So I made 1/2 of the recipe and made the scones about 2/3 size of what the instructions indicated.  They turned out to be a really nice size scone and there were still enough that those who wanted two could have them with some left over.  The homemade jams were a great complement to the scones.  I’ve written about the Apricot Jam in the past, so you know how much I love it.  Strawberry is one I just take for granted but I really love it.  I’ve been making strawberry jam on my own or with my mother since I was just a wee one – it isn’t summer until that year’s strawberry jam has been made!

I wanted to keep the salad very simple but the dressing I used was not quite assertive enough.  I had used a sherry vinegar in the vinaigrette but the bitter greens in the mix over powered it.  And it could have used some seasoning, too.  It was okay but nothing to write home about.  The fruit was lovely.  The pineapple was as good as the one I had at Easter dinner.  The watermelon was a little watery but still it was sweet and a taste of things to come! 

And what can you say about champagne and orange juice?  Well, except that it isn’t a proper brunch until you are sipping a mimosa! (Okay, or maybe a Bloody Mary…)

After we finished the main part of the meal (we picked at the fruit and scones for a while) we spent more time catching up, exchanging recommendations on new places/things to do and talking about upcoming adventures.  After everyone left, I loaded the dishwasher, put another log on the fire, poured a glass of champagne and settled in with the Sunday paper.  Oh, there might have been a little, teeny nap in there somewhere, too.

Spring Brunch Menu & Recipes

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