Thursday, June 2, 2011

Birthday Brunch: One Post, Many Recipes

My first post back in Michigan is a goodie: 4 recipes in one!

We decided to celebrate my sister's 18th birthday a bit late (she wanted to wait for me to be back here) and so I suggested a yummy Birthday Brunch. I love brunch - guests feel like they are being spoiled when they hear they are going to "brunch." The idea conjures up images of sausage, eggs, bacon, waffles, also makes me think of being stuffed passed the point of comfort. This is why I enjoy planning the menu: one carb, one protein, one sweet, one healthy - but each has a twist to make them unique. Planning a brunch party does NOT mean bogging yourself down with a ton of complicated recipes. It's sometimes better to have a few amazing options for your guests, so they don't end up picking a little off of everything and feeling stuffed but unsatisfied.

Here was our menu:

1) Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake : this recipe is great, no kidding. Very light and fluffy. I made the following alterations - I nixed the streusal topping; in my opinion it just adds fat without a good flavor trade off. So instead, I added blueberries. My trick so they don't fall to the bottom is to put a little batter on the bottom of the bundt and then press about 3/4 cup blueberries into it, then add the rest of the batter on top.

I also made a killer sauce to up the berry flavor: I just simmered down a small bag of frozen blueberries with a small bag of frozen raspberries and about 3 Tbs sugar. I let that cook over medium high heat until it thickened, adding about 1 tsp cornstarch towards the end. I serve the sauce over the cake, but let people do it themselves so the cake didn't get soggy.

2) Fruit Salad: My mom made the dressing for this - it's a little different every time but the general gist is that you mix about 3/4 cup sour cream with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp of almond extract. Mix this into a blend of bananas, apples, oranges, strawberries, and peaches. Then mix in 1 cup of mini marshmallows and top with toasted coconut and almonds.

3) Crust-less Quiche: This recipe was altered to make a 9x13 Pyrex. Mix 8-9 eggs with some salt and pepper. Add 1 1/2 cups of Bisquick and set aside. Layer 1 chopped, fried onion, 1 head of cauliflower chopped finely, and about 3 cups of some kind of meat into the Pyrex. I used spicy beef snacking sticks from Whole Foods, turkey bacon, and regular breakfast sausage. Over this pour the egg mixture and cover with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (a spicy cheese would be good, too). Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes, then let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

4) Pasta Salad: Chop one head of broccoli, 4 carrots, 1/2 a block of feta cheese, and 1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes. Add 1 pound of cooked and drained fusilli pasta. Next, spoon in 1/3 cup olive tapenade, 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Combine thoroughly to be sure every bit is coated. Serve cold or at room temperature.

And there you have it: a simple menu with outstanding flavor. Happy Birthday to my sissy! You are going to make a great Wolverine!!!!