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Spring Brunch 2006


Last Saturday I had a few women friends over for brunch.  I had hoped that the weather might hold so that we could at least start with a cup of coffee or glass of champagne out on the deck but it was a bit too cold outside. But that was okay because it was warm with the conversation and laughter of friends inside!  
I had one planning faux pas in that the space I had planned to set up the beverages, was also the place where I was doing the last minute grilling of one of the dishes.  So as guests arrived I had to make them wait to get started.  Poor planning on my part but, of course, no one really cared. 

I had decided that we’d start with a Bellini Bar.  Now, technically a Bellini is white peach puree and Prosecco but the term is starting to be used with many fruit and sparkling wine combinations, although orange juice and Champagne will always be a Mimosa!  You can see more about how to set this up in my Bellini Bar post on The Spirit World
Next we moved to the table for our meal.  I like giving people options for brunch so there were a couple of main dishes and some supporting side dishes. 
I always like to have a fruit plate as a lighter option for people.  What’s on it varies by what looks good when I’m shopping.  This year I had slices of pineapple, cantaloupe and kiwi – those three provided a nice range of colors, too. 
We had a basket of blueberry scones made with dried blueberries.  This was a slight variation on the original Ina Garten strawberry scone recipe from her Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  The same basic recipe can be found here
As, I’ve mentioned before I tend to always experiment on my guests and made two new recipes this time.  The first was Garlic and Rosemary Goat Cheese Tart that I’d seen Emeril make the week prior to the brunch.  (Ironic note:  I was at the gym on the treadmill watching Emeril making this beautiful but not so calorie or fat-conscious dish…) This is a great quiche – the texture is really smooth and creamy, the tart goat cheese adds a nice little kick and the garlic and rosemary are the perfect flavor enhancers. 
The next new dish was a Savory French Toast from a recipe by Michael Chiarello.  This recipe reminds me of an Italian version of a Monte Cristo sandwich.  Fresh mozzarella, basil and prosciutto are sandwiched between slices of country bread.  The whole stack is covered in an egg batter and then grilled.  They were really good and would make an excellent lunch dish along with a nice green salad. 
The final main dish has become a brunch favorite.  It was Tom Douglas’ Wild Rice Waffles with Gravlax and Chive Creme Fraiche.  There is something about those waffles that just hits the spot. And of course you can never go wrong with smoked salmon of any sort! 
To round out the meal there was Aidell’s Chicken Apple sausage and sautéed Haricots Verte
It was a great way to spend a little time eating, catching up and easing into our weekend.  I highly recommend you try having a weekend brunch! 

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