Over the holiday weekend, we hosted a little brunch for our neighbors - a couple and their baby we love spending time with. They love to cook and entertain too, so we usually swap every other gathering at each of our houses. They kicked off the summer with a brunch over Memorial Day weekend, so this time we were happy to host.
There are a lot of make-ahead tips for entertaining out there, which are great, but the only trouble is that you have to have the time/energy/planning skills to actually make them ahead of time : ) Our weekend was jam packed, but I still wanted to have them over for brunch, so instead of make-ahead options (breakfast strata, overnight french toast, etc.) I opted for make-in-no-time options.
I did the shopping that morning at 8:30, started cooking at 9 and have everything ready by 9:45. Why do we always make entertaining so hard on ourselves?! It was so nice to be relaxed and leisurely while getting everything ready. Mike and Emma even had time to cut some flowers (weeds?) for the table. I can't remember the name of this stuff (Sweet August something...?) but it smells fabulous.
Here was our menu (recipes follow) :
For a little (big) bite when they arrived, I served these Apple Cinnamon Scones with a Maple & Vanilla Bean glaze warm out of the oven with coffee. I topped them with a sprinkle of cinnamon and orange zest to make them smell (and look) amazing.
When we go out to brunch, this is always my go to - especially in the summer. It was the perfect option for this party because all I had to do was assemble it.
Instead of the soak over night and bake in the morning Breakfast Strata, I made a really quick and easy Bacon and Potato frittata that I baked in the oven and topped with white cheddar and chives.
Apple Cinnamon Scones
with a Maple & Vanilla Bean Glaze
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2 cups plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of orange zest
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup cold heavy cream
1 cup diced apples
2 teaspoons of melted butter
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
In a mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, orange zest and salt using the paddle attachment. Cut the cold butter into 1/2 inch pieces. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix on low until the butter is mixed in and is the size of peas. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs and whipping cream with a fork. Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the cream and egg mixture. Turn off the mixer once added. Fold in apples.
Put some flour on the counter. Turn the dough out onto the floured surface. Add some flour onto the top of the dough, then pat it out into a disk - about 8-9 inches in diameter. Cut the disk into 8 pieces like a pie.
Separate the pieces and put them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Keep them in the fridge until ready to bake. Bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes.
To make the glaze, stir together melted butter, powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla. Add a small splash of milk or powdered sugar to make it the consistency you like.
I cut the apples pretty small so they would get tender while baking.
My helper, the professional egg cracker.
Sweet baby hands adding apples.
Patted into a disk.
While they baked, I stirred together the glaze.
I like to make it a little thick, because it runs all over the warm scones when you pour it on - a good thing.
Topped with a little orange zest and cinnamon to make them smell like apple pie!
Spying on my flower pickers.
Barefoot! She is really starting to take more control over her outfit choices... for instance, this is her Easter dress. I would've rather her wear one of her summer dresses, but she insisted on Easter : ) I'll enjoy her little toddler closet for now filled with sweet dresses that I picked out... I have a feeling it is not going to last much longer! As my mom will remind me, my favorite colors were decidedly "Hot Pink and Neon Green" from the age of 4-7... and I wouldn't leave the house without wearing a skirt or a dress.
Bagel & Lox Platter
2 Sesame or Plain Bagels, sliced
6 oz. Cream Cheese, room temp
6 oz. Smoked Salmon or Lox*
*I know that smoked salmon and lox aren't exactly the same thing, but they are similar enough for this - just use what you can find. Make sure it is sliced very thin.
If you are organized, you can assemble this the night before... or right before, like I did. You can also toast the bagel slices... which I also did.
This was a big hit - something most of us just order in restaurants, but is so easy to serve/assemble at home.
This was a recipe that I posted 2-3 years ago when we lived in Concord. I haven't made it since, but remembered it being delicious - and easy. And it was. They guys loved it because it was full of potatoes and bacon! Here is the original recipe link.
Bacon & Potato Frittata
with White Cheddar & Chives
6 strips of bacon, diced
2 yukon gold or red potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup of milk
sea salt & cracked pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a skillet, cook diced bacon, butter & potatoes for 4-5 minutes until bacon renders the fat and the potatoes begin to soften. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, chives, salt and pepper. Add eggs to the skillet and put in oven to bake for 15 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through. Top with cheddar cheese and chives. Serve in wedges.
Here are some pics of Emma doting over Baby G.
Trying to tickle him.
A wonderful and relaxing end to a long weekend and the official end of summer. Hope you all had a great holiday weekend and are enjoying this short week that is flying by. Can it really already be Thursday?
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