Holiday brunch at home

December 22nd, 2009 by Dawn

It’s the time of year when many of us are hosting out of town visitors and family.  With the holidays, you may be planning a brunch, perhaps for Christmas morning, or maybe for New Year’s Day.  I’m curious: what are your favorite things to make for brunch?

I like to look for make-ahead recipes, so that I don’t have to wake at the crack of dawn, and can relax with my guests over a cup of coffee.  I’m a big fan of these cheese-filled blintzes from Chef Robin Leventhal.  Make them the night before, and all you have to do is fry them up, pop them in the oven, and set the table.

Granola parfait

Or how about a granola parfait?  I’m so addicted to Molly’s homemade granola recipe that it’s an every-morning kind of thing for me to layer granola and yogurt together for breakfast.  But add some layers of fruit and serve in a trifle bowl, and it would make a lovely addition to a brunch buffet.

For something savory, an egg soufflé is a great dish to make the night before.  I’ve enjoyed this Greg Atkinson recipe, published in the Seattle Times a few years ago.  Made like a bread pudding, it was the centerpiece of our Christmas breakfast last year.

Citrus fruits are like jewels on the holiday table.  My favorite make-ahead side dish is a bowl of vanilla citrus fruits.  The fruit infuses overnight with vanilla bean and a touch of honey which mellows the tang, and it is beautiful served in glass goblets or a pretty holiday bowl.

I’m always looking for new brunch ideas.  Feel free to add your suggestions and links to the comments below.

Vanilla Bean Infused Citrus Fruit

Vanilla Bean Infused Citrus Fruit
Serves 8

5 oranges
4 ruby grapefruit
1 vanilla bean

Segment the fruit:  Slice off the top and bottom of the fruit, exposing the flesh inside.  Set the fruit on a cutting board, and slice off the skin and white pith in strips, by following the curve of the fruit with your knife.  When all the skin is gone, hold the fruit in your hand over a bowl and gently slide your knife between the membrane walls to release the segments.

Before discarding, squeeze any remaining juice out of the membrane and into the bowl of fruit.

Cut open a vanilla bean and extract the seeds with a knife.  Stir the seeds into the juice to evenly distribute them.  Place the vanilla pod into the bowl, too.

Stir in a few spoonfuls of honey, to taste.  Refrigerate overnight.  Serve chilled.

8 Responses to “Holiday brunch at home”

  1. Kirstin says:

    Wow, that citrus picture is amazing. It sounds like a great recipe, I bet the vanilla complements the citrus so well!

  2. Michael Murray says:

    Great ideas — thanks!

    I have nothing that you wouldn’t already know to contribute. When we have guests in town I often just pop over to Bagel Oasis near your place for a dozen plus lox & cream cheese. People are surprised to find we have decent NY-style bagels here :).

  3. Kye says:

    Our favorite brunch recipe is Huevos al Horno con Piperrada (baked eggs on red pepper ragout) from the The New Spanish Table. Pairing this with toasted Bakery Nouveau baguette and A & J Meats breakfast sausage….it’s a great brunch! We also just made Country Hash with braised shredded brisket, potato, rutabaga, apple and roasted poblanos, which was delicious and hearty. I can’t wait to try your brunch suggestions. I LOVE brunch!

  4. Michael says:

    My favorite brunch item tends to be a “coddled eggs” using the “egg coddler”. We usually fill them with the egg, herbs, cheese, and sausage or ham. Then when all cooked you unscrew the coddler at the top and inside is a fantastic mix of oozy goodness, salty meat, and herbs. Dipping bread into the lightly cooked egg and cheesy mix, is always the best. We have 2 coddlers from the UK that I’ve had since I was a child, which we loan out assuming they are cared for properly.


  5. Elise says:

    That citrus fruit salad look delicious. I love the colors of winter fruits. My favorite thing to make for brunches is bacon cups with an egg cracked in, topped with either diced tomato or spinach. You can bake the cups in muffin molds in advance and just crack and egg in the morning and stuff them in the oven for a few minutes!

  6. Dawn says:

    Michael, Bagel Oasis is definitely a great thing to have in the neighborhood. Love it.

    Kye, you are just making me hungry – stop it! I need to cook from that book more often, and love that you provide the suggested recipes.

    Michael, we would love to take you up on that loan offer.

    Elise, do you lay raw bacon into the muffin cups and then bake until crisp? And then add the eggs and toppings?

  7. Elise says:

    Dawn, I make the cups just like Megan does here : Then, I put the inside muffin tins, crack an egg (or pour a scrambled egg depending on your taste) into them and sprinkle some of the veggies on top. Once the cups are made, it’s totally easy, and a nice savory addition to a brunch.

  8. anticiplate says:

    I adore vanilla and citrus. just add a seared scallop to that, and it would be perfection. Happy new year to you both! thanks so much for the portland recommendations, and congrats again on your beautiful son!

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